Set up by Tony Martin on the Government’s website, the petition calls for a legal minimum distance between drivers and cyclists when overtaking.
The petition has attracted more than 16,000 signatures of the 100,000 it will need to trigger a debate in Parliament. It will run until 24 October
The call is for drivers to leave one metre between car and cyclists on roads with speed limits up to 30mph. On roads with higher speed limits the petition says the minimum passing distance should be 1.5 metres.
Currently the wording of the Highway Code’s advice is to give “plenty of room”.
However, the UK’s death rate for cyclists is far higher than other countries - measured as deaths rate per billion kilometres cycled, the UK has a rating of 22.4, around double that of Norway (11), Denmark (12.1) and the Netherlands (12.4).
The Government has issued the following response to the petition: “This Government currently does not have plans to legislate on a set minimum space (e.g. 1 metre) on roads with a speed limit of up to 30mph when overtaking a cyclist.
“This type of legislation would be extremely difficult to enforce and the Government does not believe it would add to the existing rules and guidance, including those set out in the Highway Code, which advises drivers to give cyclists ‘at least as much room as you would when overtaking a car’.
“We are keeping this position under review, and are interested in learning from the experience of places where legislation of this type has been introduced.”