Sheffield cycling: Police warn drivers after two ‘close passes’ spark row

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Motorists must give cyclists at least 5ft of space when overtaking

Police have reminded drivers to give cyclists a wide berth - or face prosecution - amid widespread shock at two ‘close pass’ incidents in Sheffield.

An update to the Highway Code last year states drivers must leave at least 5ft when overtaking, or even more at over 30mph. It also introduced a ‘hierarchy of users’ placing those most a risk at the top.

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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

South Yorkshire Police put out a statement after Tracy Haigh called for an investigation into a cyclist she and her daughter ‘close passed’ in separate incidents on Ecclesall Road South, Whirlow. 

Tracy, of Dore, said his response was aggressive and intimidating, sparking a discussion online. Her daughter went on a training course to avoid penalty points.

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A force spokesperson said: “The cyclist reported the incident to us, and a review of their footage highlighted the offence: ‘drive a vehicle without reasonable consideration to others’. The driver subsequently completed an educational course. 

“Drivers are reminded that the Highway Code was updated in January 2022 and within this update a hierarchy of road users was introduced. These changes are designed to remind everyone who uses our roads the importance of taking responsibility for their own safety as well as the safety of others.”

Tracy Haigh wants police to investigate an "aggressive" male cyclist following alleged 'close passes'.Tracy Haigh wants police to investigate an "aggressive" male cyclist following alleged 'close passes'.
Tracy Haigh wants police to investigate an "aggressive" male cyclist following alleged 'close passes'. | other

As well as leaving at least 5ft when overtaking, the Highway Code states drivers must ‘wait behind and do not overtake if it’s unsafe or not possible to meet these clearances’.

On The Star’s Facebook page, readers had their say.

Rebecca Hammond said: “As ‘a cyclist myself’ Tracy should know better than to overtake a cyclist at a pinch point (a traffic island). She'll understand how doing so puts the cyclist in danger, and she'll understand that his anger and shouting was a reflex response to the danger she put him in.”

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John Sylvester said: “If she had to avoid hitting an island obviously it wasn’t safe to pass him, no wonder he’s a little annoyed.”

Patrick Cartledge: “She's driven too close to him which can cause serious accidents or death and he's fuming, which anyone probably would be.”

Jack Hemingway: “This is utterly insane! The woman admits to endangering the driver by cutting him up to avoid a traffic island, her daughter does the same thing, caught on camera and they want the cyclist investigated? I had to read the article several times and check the date to make sure it wasn't an April Fools’ joke. If you endanger somebody's life, you shouldn't be surprised if they kick off at you.

“There is NO excuse for that kind of driving. I hope the incidents are investigated and these two prosecuted for dangerous driving.”

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On X, formerly Twitter, Richard Parke said: “Being shouted at for driving dangerously near someone isn’t in the same category of ‘intimidation’ as close passing someone. One risks ending another persons life, the other might make you feel bad.”

But Trudy Gervis was cross at cyclists filtering through queues of cars.

“Most cyclists are the same. They think it's okay to weave in and out of queuing cars then get annoyed with the drivers if there isn't enough space. They should adhere to the Highway Code and be made to have insurance. The worst ones are those that fit crates onto their bikes to transport the kids to school. Horrendous!”

More information about safety can be found at South Yorkshire Safer Roads Partnership