On April 14, the Chamber of Deputies of the Czech Republic voted in favour of a bigger protection of cyclists on the roads.
67 out of the 102 present deputies (the number was lowered due to the Covid-19 pandemic) approved the proposal laid before the Chamber by Petr Dolínek of the Czech Social Democratic Party. Only two deputies voted against the motion.
Road users will have to give 1.5 meters of space to cyclists while overtaking, 1 meter in areas with a maximum speed of 30 kph.
A somewhat heated debate preceded the acceptance of the proposal. Some of the deputies based their arguments on their own experience of sharing the road.
“It is an easy, predictable method, tried and tested in other countries,” said Ondřej Profant, a deputy for the Czech Pirate Party.
In 2019, cyclists accounted for 8% of road deaths in the EU. Cyclists and pedestrians are an often neglected category of road user when it comes to road safety measures.
While more car occupant fatalities are prevented due to better in-vehicle protection, the decrease in the number of vulnerable road users’ fatalities has not followed the same pace.
France, Spain, Germany, Belgium and Portugal have all introduced a 1.5 metre minimum distance law in addition to 26 US states and several provinces in Canada.
In Ireland, there is a new Road Traffic (Minimum Passing Distance of Cyclists) Bill currently under consideration whereby motorists would be obliged by law to pass cyclists no closer than 1.5 metres on a road with a speed limit of 50 km/h or higher. On a road with a speed limit under 50 km/h, the safe passing distance would be set at one metre.