Bicycle spacers have been widely used in Scandinavia for a number of years and are now being promoted in the UK. They are primarily designed to discourage overtaking drivers from passing dangerously close. The device consists of a rod at the end of which is a flexible flag or rigid disc or rectangle. The overall length is about 0.4m. The device is normally mounted horizontally on the rear off-side of the bicycle so it projects into the road. A total of 460 spacer flags were given out to children in eight schools in the Greater Manchester area to gather information about their performance under normal riding conditions. After a 2-3 week period they were asked to complete questionnaires. Observers positioned near one school recorded riding and driving errors. There was considerable support for the effectiveness of the flag. Most riders indicated that they wanted to retain and continue to use the spacers they were given. However there were problems in using the spacer when cyclists were riding abreast. Also many spacers broke after a few weeks of use and it was considered that there was scope for some improvement in their design.

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