Motorist ordered to pay four-figure sum for close pass of cyclist

A sign instructing drivers to leave a 1.5m distance when overtaking cyclists
(Image credit: GoSafe Wales)

Following changes to the Highway Code that give better protections to non-motorized traffic, a driver from South Wales, UK has been ordered to pay over £1800 following a close pass of a cyclist caught on camera, reports the BBC.

The driver, Wayne Humphreys, 77, was given a fixed penalty notice and four penalty points for failing to leave enough space when overtaking a cyclist in his Audi Q8 on the B4280, near Bridgend on the 15th September 2021. Footage of the incident recorded by the cyclist was sent to GoSafe, Wales' road safety partnership.

After it received the footage, GoSafe said Humphreys had been offered the option of a taking a driver awareness course as an alternative to prosecution, but he declined to take up the option or pay the fixed penalty fine. A a result he was then prosecuted at Cardiff Magistrates' Court on the 8th June, resulting in a £1,152 fine, plus an order to pay £620 costs and a £115 victim surcharge.

A cyclist with a red jacket out of focus, cycling next to a parked car and a telephone box

(Image credit: Unsplash)

Changes to the Highway Code

In addition to the welcome stipulation to give cyclists at least 1.5m when passing them in a motor vehicle, other new amendments to to the Highway Code include:

Hierarchy of road users

The hierarchy places those road users most at risk in the event of a collision at the top of the hierarchy – e.g. drivers of motor vehicles have a responsibility to reduce danger to horse riders, cyclists and pedestrians, horse riders and cyclists have a have a duty to reduce danger to pedestrians.

Taking the lane

Cyclists will now be actively encouraged to ride defensively, taking the middle of the lane when in slow-moving traffic, on quiet streets, when approaching junctions, and where the road narrows “where it would be unsafe for drivers to overtake them”. It also advises that cyclists move over to the left “if a faster vehicle comes up behind them, but only if they can do so safely”.

Priority at junctions

Motorists will now have to give way to pedestrians crossing at junctions before turning in. In addition to this they are clearly told not to cut across cyclists and horse riders to turn into or out of a junction. They must also give cyclists priority when using roundabouts.

Riding two abreast

While cycling abreast has always been legal, previously the Highway Code only stipulated that “you should never ride more than two abreast”. With the upcoming revisions, it will now be made clearer that cycling two abreast “can be safer”.

Rich Owen
Editor, BikePerfect

Rich Owen is the editor of the team. He's worked as a journalist and editor for over 24 years, with 12 years specializing in cycling media. Rich bought his first mountain bike (a rigid Scott Tampico) in 1995 and has been riding MTB for almost 30 years.

Current rides: Merida One-Forty 6000, Banshee Paradox, YT Jeffsy Core 3, Saracen Ariel 30 Pro

Height: 175cm

Weight: 69kg