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.