Passing distance – for bikes and Ministers


Sir, – The narrow width and congested nature of many main roads in Irish towns and cities means that any law regulating a minimum passing distance for cars and bicycles is doomed to failure.

The RTA recommends the minimum width of a bicycle lane to be one metre. Department of Housing design guidelines recommend the width of a carriageway to be between 2.75m and 3.5m, depending on the type of road. Many existing roads are already too narrow to meet the guidelines for vehicle traffic, let alone accommodate a dedicated cycle lane.

If an additional 1.5m “buffer zone” were required between cyclists and cars, then either such roads would need to be widened by up to 20-30 per cent or cars would only be able to pass cyclists by crossing over the white line into opposing traffic. Rush-hour traffic on many roads is relatively constant in both directions, minimising the opportunities to overtake safely, leading inevitably to increased congestion and risk of accident.

Perhaps instead of establishing a pointless minimum passing distance, the Dáil could pass a law requiring Ministers for Transport, and their shadow counterparts, to think their ideas through properly before publishing them? – Yours, etc,


Phibsboro, Dublin 7.