Sheffield cycling: Drivers list pet hates after 'close pass' row in Sheffield

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There was a lively discussion on The Star's Facebook page

Cycling two abreast, undertaking at lights and road tax - Star readers have listed their pet hates after a ‘close pass’ row in Sheffield.

Some drivers are furious that some cyclists go on the pavement or jump red lights and think they are a ‘law unto themselves’.

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But some think comparing the risk from bikes with the risk from cars misses the point.

Sheffield police have warned drivers face prosecution for failing to give cyclists at least 5ft of space. (Picture: Andrew O'Brien/JPI Media)Sheffield police have warned drivers face prosecution for failing to give cyclists at least 5ft of space. (Picture: Andrew O'Brien/JPI Media)
Sheffield police have warned drivers face prosecution for failing to give cyclists at least 5ft of space. (Picture: Andrew O'Brien/JPI Media)

Readers had a big debate on the subject after Tracy Haigh called for an investigation into a cyclist she and her daughter both ‘close passed’ in separate incidents on Ecclesall Road South, Whirlow.

Tracy, of Dore, said his response was aggressive, intimidating and wrong, and was angry when the police refused to take action.

On The Star’s Facebook page Stuart Nye and David Cornthwaite were among several concerned about cyclists close passing cars.

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Stuart said: “I hope the police are even-handed and enforce the same laws when cyclists undertake on the kerb side.”

And David said: “Never stops a cyclist coming up on your nearside giving about six-inch clearance.”

Mick Pears responded: “They are allowed to filter through traffic like motorcycles can, that's why they have bike safe areas at the front of traffic lights.”

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Steve Ferris was of the opinion cyclists had to make way for faster vehicles.

He said: “Well, I always thought that slow moving vehicles had to pull over to let others pass.”

Chris Richards agreed: “So when they are two or three abreast how are you meant to over take?” 

Chris Be said: “The same as if they aren't riding abreast - in the other lane.”

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Tracy Haigh wants police to investigate an "aggressive" male cyclist following alleged 'close passes' at this island on Ecclesall Road South, Whirlow, Sheffield.Tracy Haigh wants police to investigate an "aggressive" male cyclist following alleged 'close passes' at this island on Ecclesall Road South, Whirlow, Sheffield.
Tracy Haigh wants police to investigate an "aggressive" male cyclist following alleged 'close passes' at this island on Ecclesall Road South, Whirlow, Sheffield. | other

Earlier this week the police put out a statement reminding drivers to give cyclists a wide berth - 5ft minimum - or face prosecution. It also referred to the Highway Code, which was updated in 2022 and states: “you can ride two abreast and it can be safer to do so, particularly in larger groups or when accompanying children or less experienced riders.”

Richard Kay was concerned about the cost of motoring compared to the cost of cycling.

He said: “We pay money to put our cars on the road and ridiculous insurance premiums, cyclists pay nothing.”

But Chris Be said roads were paid for by general taxation, not a road tax.

And Olivia Smith focused on the convenience of cars.

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She said: “What you are getting for your money is the privilege of using the roads to travel from door-to-door in the comfort of your own vehicle. The volume of traffic on the roads nowadays, and the weight of modern cars, cause an enormous amount of damage to road surfaces. Bicycles don’t. 

“Nothing you pay gives you the right to plough on ahead regardless of whether anyone else is on the road.”

Lofty Crofts was concerned that cyclists sometimes broke the law.

He said: “Cyclist are a law unto themselves, doesn't stop them running red lights.”

But Rachael Hart said drivers also jumped traffic lights.

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Police photo to publicise safe overtaking clearance for drivers to avoid 'close pass' prosecutionPolice photo to publicise safe overtaking clearance for drivers to avoid 'close pass' prosecution
Police photo to publicise safe overtaking clearance for drivers to avoid 'close pass' prosecution | police

She responded: “A cyclist is unlikely to do much damage, but most car drivers break speed limits and kill five people in the UK per day. The same proportion of motorists as cyclists jump reds and many people use their phone whilst driving. So it's good that the police prioritise the greater risk.

“Motorists have great responsibility driving a deadly machine - they cause billions of pounds of damage and thousands of deaths a year so it's good police are focusing their efforts on enforcing motoring rules, rather than on cyclists which pose minimal danger on the road. It's all based on statistics, and isn't really worth getting angry at. All road users offend at the same rate, some just pose more risk than others.”

Chris Be summed up the risks: “If two tons of metal hit a 15kg bike the rider will be crushed and die, and the other way around the car occupant will be absolutely fine. It's pretty simple stuff.”

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