On 24 July the Portuguese government passed a new highway code with overwhelming support. Portugal now exemplifies what can happen when governments and cycling advocacy groups work cooperatively to improve cycling in their countries. The Portuguese government understood that it is more crucial for governments to make the roads safer for cyclists rather than implementing restrictions because safer roads mean more cyclists and there is safety in numbers.
Some notable sections of the recent legislation are:
- The driver of a motor vehicle must maintain a lateral distance of at least 1.5 metres to prevent crashes between their vehicle and cycles in the same lane.
- Drivers must give way to bicycles crossing the carriageway in marked passages.
- Emphasises that it is the duty of the driver of each vehicle to ensure that their behaviour does not endanger the safety of pedestrians and cyclists, as well as other vulnerable road users.
The Bicycle Transport Alliance for years has been calling for a safe, minimum overtaking distance to be made law and is supporting the efforts of the Amy Gillett Foundation in this regard.