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Minimum Passing Distance Legislation - What does it all mean?

Minimum Passing Distance Legislation - What does it all mean?
You may have heard a lot about the MPDL (Minimum Passing Distance Legislation) and are not quite sure what it relates to. This is a bill that we want to see passed that makes a minimum passing distance enforceable by law, for when motorists are overtaking cyclists. 


More details can be found at THIS LINK also

What is MPDL - and why is it relevant to you? 

What is Stayin’ Alive at 1.5?

Stayin’ Alive at 1.5 is a campaign to pursue the adoption of a law that requires motorists to give cyclists 1.5 metres clearance when passing from the rear.

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.

Using the brilliant Stayin' Alive at 1.5 Campaign Phil Skelton, from Wexford, has done an enormous amount of work in getting this to the brink of being a reality. 

Read this concise article from Phil to see HOW WE CAN SOLVE A PROBLEM LIKE CLOSE PASSING where he explains what the MPDL is, and why it is needed. 

When MPDL is implemented correctly, riders report safer interactions and a growing sense of legitimacy; others report decreases in injuries and fatalities…but you only get this when implemented correctly..
Popping this into legislation and thinking, job done, butters few parsnips..

You may have heard a lot of noise about MPDL lately - and that's because the Minister of the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport, Minister Shane Ross, was vocal in stating that he does not feel that this is enforceable.


Five years of lobbying and hard work on raising awareness and understanding about the importance of introducing a minimum passing distance legislation is coming to a critical point this week. 

Over the past year a bill was developed regarding the MPDL and this  is up for discussion on the first week of February. Members of the Dáil and Seanad will be voting on whether or not they believe that this bill should be passed, and whether or not they believe that MPDL can be enforced, and whether or not it will make a difference. 

It is important that the vote goes in favour of passing the MPDL, as it will do a few things: 

1. It will give cyclists rights in the eyes of the law in the instance of dangerous passes

2. It will bring the awareness of cyclists, and the safe distance required for passing them, to the fore of all road users. 

What can you do about it? 

While social media can be powerful in raising awareness about issues - it has limitations. On social media you are really talking to those who are engaging with you - good or bad! To decision makers this conversation can go either unheard, or can become white noise. 

Cyclist.ie,  Stayin' Alive at 1.5 and others have put a lot of work into making it easy for you to have a powerful influence over this decision - and we recommend that you take two minutes to do this. Many people have tested this - and it is that simple. 

You can DOWNLOAD THIS LETTER to copy and paste into an email to your local politician WHICH YOU CAN FIND HERE.

Can you imagine the impact of hundreds and thousands of these emails popping up at the most timely moment for this campaign? Do it... 

Worried you may not be able to argue about enforcement? 


Phil examined a few overseas examples:


In the UK, police officers Hudson & Hodson instigated operation close pass where they began policing the close passing of bicycle riders in the West Midlands in September 2016. A year later they discovered that the number of cyclists killed or seriously injured on the region's roads had dropped 20%. 


In the USA in 2015 police officer Rob Simmons in Tennessee began using a newly developed ultrasonic device as a means of policing their minimum passing distance law and found a 26% decrease in cyclist injuries as a result. 

Minimum Passing Distance road sign from the USA

How do they measure it? 


In Australia Queensland was the first state to introduce a minimum passing distance law in April 2014 following a gradual increase in cyclist fatalities there. When comparing their three years before its introduction and the now three years post introduction, a 34% drop in cyclist fatalities is evidenced.

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