Motorist handed five points for driving too close to cyclists, sparking row with campaigners

·4-min read

Watch: Motorist handed five points and £417 fine for driving ‘far too closely’ to cyclist

A motorist has been handed five points on his licence by the police for driving “far too closely” to cyclists, sparking a row with campaigners.

The Sheffield North West neighbourhood policing team posted a video of the incident online, which shows the driver of a Peugeot appearing to cross white dividing road marks as the cyclists - who were riding in single file - overtake a parked car.

Commenting on the video, the policing team said: “The driver of this vehicle decided to pass a group of cyclists at excessive speed and far too closely.

“If anyone thinks this is an acceptable manner of driving, let this be your warning.”

As well as being given five points on his licence, the driver was fined £417, sparking uproar from motoring campaign groups, which claimed that the driver had done nothing wrong.

A motorist has been handed five points on their licence by the police for driving “far too closely” to cyclists
A motorist has been handed five points on their licence by the police for driving “far too closely” to cyclists

'Idiotic' decision

The Alliance of British Drivers said the decision was an “idiotic” one “that undermines the credibility of the courts and the police”.

“We all know there are fanatics who want drivers to stop and bow down before every cyclist. If the police foolishly choose to side with them it will damage the relationship with the public,” the group added.

However, the Sheffield policing team did not bow down to online criticism and responded in defence of their decision: "The driver didn't just endanger one cyclist, he was also too close to those following.

"He would have seen a group of bikes in a line, and chose to accelerate to a speed increasing the danger to all of them and swerve over the white lines towards them.

"If he had simply driven to the conditions at a less dangerous speed and stayed on his own side of the road he wouldn't have been prosecuted.

Dangerous driving

"If people do choose to endanger vulnerable road users by poor driving, they need to remember that any pedestrian, horse rider, cyclist or vehicle may be recording. We will be happy to make sure that there are consequences to endangering others.”

In a post on Twitter, the policing team added that they had expected some “whataboutery” in terms of online responses to the clip, but that it was important for people “to know what the police and courts think about this type of driving which the result shows”.

The incident happened in August 2021, before an update to the Highway Code was introduced in January that now advises drivers to “leave at least 1.5 metres when overtaking cyclists at speeds of up to 30mph, and give them more space when overtaking at higher speeds.”

Watch: New Highway Code rule will fine drivers £1,000 for opening door with wrong hand

Drivers are also urged to “wait behind them (cyclists) and do not overtake if it’s unsafe or not possible to meet these clearances".

Previous guidance simply told drivers to “give motorcyclists, cyclists and horse riders at least as much room as you would when overtaking a car”.

A risk-based "hierarchy of road users" was also introduced into the updated version of the Highway Code.

Vulnerable road users

The pyramid is based on the idea that those who can do the greatest harm have the greatest responsibility to avoid hurting other, more vulnerable road users.

Many cyclists expressed support for the action taken by the police. Ian Carey said: "An appropriate conviction. If the driver had slowed down and let the cyclists pass there would have been no issue.

"The delay to the driver would have been a few seconds."

The driver of the vehicle was issued with a warning notice after the police were notified of the offence.

"If he is seen to drive in a careless and antisocial manner in the year since it was issued his vehicle will be seized,” the policing team added.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting