Life just gets in the way.
The genesis of my poll came from a good hearted but lively discussion after sufficient lubrication up at the local village pub. Afterwards I got to thinking what is the simplest message to send to both cyclists and motorists.
The simplest I could come up with, which seemed to have the best cognitive dissonance to ensure further discussion/thinking, was that both entities should behave as though a bike on a typical public road is at least 3 meters wide.
This 3 m fits with riding in secondary position to avoid being car doored, the 'minimum' width of a bike (my handlebars are 740 mm wide!!), and the minimum (1.5m) recommended overtaking distance.
I think this is a simpler message for motorists to get rather than just a passing distance.
I also think it will be a very difficult message for many cyclists to get because from a cyclists perspective the size of a bike is a variable. From 3+m or as narrow as the cyclist deems safe when overtaking/undertaking/filtering.
So how best to put this idea into a road safety message?
Yes, bikes need space from moving vehicles. I don’t think that you’ll find any disagreement here on that but how much space a bike needs and when is somewhat variable. IMHO asking motorists to consider a bike to be 3m wide isn’t going to get the hoped for results - via disengagement it might even make matters worse than they are
As a motorist I try to leave a safe distance (which is variable depending on the situation) between me and any cyclist. I find those that unnecessarily (dependant upon the situation) cycle in the middle of the road to be nuisance who unreasonable impede my progress but of course I accept such limitations from other road users when what they are doing is reasonable (for the situation). Life isn’t black and white and IMHO suggesting that drivers consider bikes to be 3 metres wide is a non-starter ... the road’s a shared space, I aim to give bikes a metre and expect cyclists not to act like inconsiderate or ‘entitled’ plonkers. My license has never had any points on it so perhaps I’m doing something right.
As a cyclist I hope for a metre plus between me and a moving vehicle, mostly I get it and when not I look hard to avoid any impact - I really don’t want to give the hospital or the undertaker any business. So far I’ve not got injured, perhaps I’ve been lucky and perhaps I’m doing something right. To me the biggest issue is to actually get motorists to see cyclists and after that for then to try to leave safe space between their vehicle and the cyclist.