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Parliamentary questions
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31 March 2017
Question for written answer E-002358-17
to the Commission
Rule 130
Deirdre Clune (PPE)

 Subject:  Minimum lateral clearance distance when passing cyclists
 Answer in writing 

In 2016, cyclists accounted for 8% of road deaths in the EU. Cyclists and pedestrians are an often neglected category of road user when it comes to road safety measures.

While more car occupant fatalities are prevented due to better in-vehicle protection, the decrease in the number of vulnerable road users’ fatalities has not followed the same pace.

France, Spain, Germany, Belgium and Portugal have all introduced a 1.5 metre minimum distance law in addition to 26 US states and several provinces in Canada. In Ireland, there is a new Road Traffic (Minimum Passing Distance of Cyclists) Bill 2017 currently under consideration whereby motorists would be obliged by law to pass cyclists no closer than 1.5 metres on a road with a speed limit of 50 km/h or higher. On a road with a speed limit under 50 km/h, the safe passing distance would be set at one metre.

What is the Commission’s opinion on introducing a mandatory minimum lateral clearance distance when passing someone riding a bike?

Would the Commission consider issuing or promoting such a guideline in the interest of furthering practical solutions to help reduce fatalities and serious injuries for the most vulnerable road users on European roads?

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