West Midlands police is the first police force to specifically target drivers of motor vehicles who pass too closely to cyclists.
In future motorists could face prosecution for careless driving or dangerous driving if , when passing a cyclist on the road they go too close. The highway code specifies that when a motorist drives past a cyclist they should give at least the same space as when overtaking a car. The safe passing distance for a car overtaking a cyclist is generally regarded to be a minimum of 1.5 m. This allows for the cyclist falling off the bike as the motorist is passing.
I have defended in a number of motoring cases where a cyclist has been seriously injured or has died when they they have been hit by a motorist overtaking them and, at the same time they either wobbled or fell off the bike. In such cases a motorist who has travelled too close to the cyclist resulting in a fatality would almost certainly find themselves prosecuted for causing death by careless driving or causing death by dangerous driving.
Although initially most drivers will be given words of advice by the roadside, any motorist that the police decide has driven dangerously close to a cyclist will most likely face a prosecution for dangerous driving and taken to court.
Motorists should be aware that cyclists may need to avoid potholes, drain covers or other obstacles on the road and so give sufficient room when overtaking.
The statistics of car accidents involving cyclists resulting inserious injury or death are startling. Between 2010 and 2014 , 530 cyclists were either killed or seriously injured in the West Midlands police force area alone. The vast majority of those were accidents involving cars and cyclists.
Over the last few months the West Midlands police has brought prosecutions for careless or dangerous driving against 38 motorists who went too close to cyclists.
Recent research from Loughborough University has confirmed that mildly dehydrated motorists make as many mistakes as those over the drink drive limit for alcohol and more than twice as many mistakes as those who were properly hydrated.
Motorists who drunk as little as 25 ML of water an hour whilst driving , apparently made as many mistakes as those over the drink drive limit
. The conclusion is that whilst drinking when impired through drugs
or over the legal drink drive
alcohol limit increases the risk of accidents there is an unrecognised danger caused by drivers who are not properly hydrated.
There are many cases where people who are not impaired to drive through drink or drugs but are involved in road traffic accidents and face proceedings for dangerous driving or driving without due care
and attention. Very often these driver errors will be as a result of a momentary lapse of concentration or brief error of judgement. The experts suggest that lack of proper hydration could be behind these failures to maintain proper levels of concentration.
The NHS recommends that women should drink about 1.6 L of fluid per day and men 2 L per day as average. This does not take account of particular demands upon the body for extra fluids by, e.g. strenuous physical exercise.
A series of tests carried out did confirm that people who were not properly hydrated were more likely to lose concentration whilst driving, resulting in late breaking, failure to notice hazards ahead and drifting across the centre white line.
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