The Stayin’ Alive at 1.5 campaign has been launched to pursue the adoption of a law that requires motorists to give cyclists 1.5 meters clearance when passing from the rear. Although the purpose of this campaign is not to paint motorists in a bad light. Unfortunately people break laws and disrespect rules. These people also ride bicycles and drive motor vehicles.

It is a 2 pronged campaign concentrating on (a) a safety campaign through the Facebook page and sale of a dedicated safety jersey and (b) lobbying of politicians in an effort to have the current ambiguous overtaking law amended.

Current laws and rules of the road in relation to overtaking?

The current reference to this issue is on page 50 of the Irish Rules of the Road, The advice is that you should give extra space when overtaking a cyclist.

There is also no mention of a minimum clearance distance when passing from the rear. The aim of Stayin’ Alive at 1.5 is to have this distance clearly defined as 1.5 meters and to have the word ‘should’ replaced by the word ‘must’.

The current laws on dangerous overtaking state:

A driver shall not overtake, or attempt to overtake, if to do so would endanger, or cause inconvenience to, any other person.

A driver shall not overtake, or attempt to overtake, unless the roadway ahead of the driver (a) is free from approaching traffic, pedestrians or any obstruction, and (b) is sufficiently long and wide to permit the overtaking to be completed without danger or inconvenience to other traffic or pedestrians.

An infringement of this law involves a fine of 80 euro and 3 penalty points. However, it does not seem to be enforced in its current guise.  In 2011 there were only 411 such offences detected and in 2012 there were 406 offences detected.  Furthermore, this category is not sub-divided further so as to reflect ‘Dangerous Overtaking of Cyclists’

This Law therefore needs to be ‘beefed-up’ and enhanced by a change to the current overtaking statutory offence which is set out in Section No.10 of SI No.182 of 1997 in order to make it more effective in line with other jurisdictions.

You can support this campaign and get a whole load of information, letter templates, sign the online petition and purchase the aforementioned safety jersey on their website Stayin’ Alive at 1.5 & Facebook page, check out the video above featuring our very own Jerry Towey.