Car drivers must follow a mandatory distance from cyclists

The Chamber of Deputies has passed a proposal requesting that cars must keep a minimum distance of one and a half meters when overtaking cyclists. Where the speed is limited to 30km/hr, one meter distance is enough. The law change will now be assessed by the Senate.

The rule change, according to Vratislav Filler, the expert for the AutoMat association, who is also a cyclist, actually copies the practice of some other countries that have a defined mandatory distance: "It is defined in a number of countries, the United States, Germany, Spain, the Netherlands, France, Luxembourg and others. Somewhere it is one meter, somewhere it is a meter and a half, somewhere it is a combination, plus there are some other small nuances of the type that if necessary, the cyclist may need to clear the way, and so on."

"About a quarter of accidents are related to overtaking, which means that if the regulation contributes to drivers thinking a little more about how they are currently overtaking a cyclist or not, it will certainly have a positive impact. And the measurability, if you have an accident involving a cyclist and a car, in 98 percent of cases the cyclist goes to the hospital, so the impact should be there," Filler added.

However, the police warn that on roads that are in a bad condition, where a cyclist cannot ride near the edge, a car could drive several kilometers behind them.

The vice-president of the "Brno by car" association, David Pokorný, also agrees

with the change, and according to him it is also a matter of decency. On the other hand, he does not think that the law will be enforceable in any significant way. "I can't imagine how it will be controlled. And even as a driver, I can't imagine how I know if it's a meter forty, a meter sixty. So I'm more afraid that it will be such a law for a law that won't actually change much in the end," he added.