Monday, 25 August 2014

Overtaking - Roles and Responsibilities

Distance beside

Needs specific minimum space law ?

The Highway Code is not all enforced.
Lifting a finger - [ Pedaller ] asked police to discourage unsafe overtaking on bends.
"Rule 166 of the Highway Code states – DO NOT overtake if there is any doubt, or where you cannot see far enough ahead to be sure it is safe ... 
Accordingly the drivers overtaking you in contravention of this rule do not commit an offence per se and so it would not be a matter in which the police would intervene."
Perhaps that should be
"You MUST NOT overtake if there is any doubt ..."
 There was an ePetition
Clearly distinguish safe and unsafe overtaking of cyclists in law by establishing a 1.5m rule.
It only gained 231 signatures, I don't know how widely it was publicised.

Reactions were lukewarm at best, even though it was already law in several EU countries, when it was raised in 2009 -
US 3ft passing guru backs 1.5m rule for UK and challenges CTC to do likewise |
3ft is not enough says CTC as debate about safe passing distances catches fire |
CTC rejects calls to back minimum passing distance - but what do you think? |

and in 2010 -

and in 2012 - Give cyclists 3 feet - Forum

Mr Happy Cyclist had this response from Norman Baker, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Transport, to the effect that nothing need be done, all was fine as it is.

Another petition drew this response
DSA’s learning to drive syllabus, which is drawn from the National Standards includes the learning outcome “know how to adjust your separation distance from other road users and create a safe driving space when on the move and when stationary.”
So there we go. Now we know. It's in the paperwork. Box ticked !

I wonder if this YouTube motorcyclist commenter knows anything of Bikeability or the Highway Code on riding two abreast?
"If a cyclist is an idiot. I will ignore them. If I happen to pass by them very close - so be it. They want to use the road dangerously? I'll make it more dangerous. If they cycle properly, I'll give them room. It's one for one. "
Self-appointed judge and executioner ! Reminds me of 'Ducati Dragons'.
No aggro but ... respect the road the way I do - [ Motorism - a failure of democracy ! ]

Police harness new technology to catch drivers who pass too close to cyclists - [ Cycling Weekly ]

Distance behind

Rule 163 Overtake only when it is safe and legal to do so.
You should not get too close to the vehicle you intend to overtake
Rule 164 Large vehicles. Overtaking these is more difficult. You should drop back. This will increase your ability to see ahead and should allow the driver of the large vehicle to see you in their mirrors. Getting too close to large vehicles, including agricultural vehicles such as a tractor with a trailer or other fixed equipment, will obscure your view of the road ahead and there may be another slow-moving vehicle in front 
Tailgating - [ ] - beware this is a questionable resource !
The deliberate tailgater may be an advanced driver occupying the so-called "overtaking position". Most advanced driving tuition, including the Police driver's manual "Roadcraft" recommends a transient close following position in preparation for overtaking. Roadcraft neglects to define the "overtaking position" (I suspect because the instructors frequently recommend a position closer than can properly be justified in print). Police drivers with a life and death need to overtake might properly on occasion accept slightly elevated risks on the road in order to reduce the risk to the victim of a crime they are attending. It is possible for some advanced drivers under some circumstances to close follow with proper awareness of the road ahead of both vehicles. I think this tends to be the exception, and I recommend conservative "overtaking positions" generally around one second behind the vehicle to be overtaken. Any closer and you should already have moved out to the right.


As well as distance, speed (or relative speed) is another factor
"I actually think the passes that give you loads of room, but hammer past at 60 mph without slowing down are just as bad as close ones, because they leave no room for error. If you slow down you have time to abort any overtake safely, whereas the fast overtakes have made the decision to overtake too far back."
This discussion mostly agrees : close is worse than fast.

I would tend to go the other way - if they're in another lane, I don't mind their speed so much.
An oncoming car in the other lane has a much higher relative speed, and is generally no problem !

I wouldn't go as far as Keith Peat, who has a 'miss is as good as a mile' philosophy, despite being a self-proclaimed Road Safety Expert.
"We must first accept that the clearance given by drivers will be entirely their judgement call and if effected without collision or causing a cyclist to fall off, it will corroborate that the driver's judgement was correct; no matter how perceived from the cyclist's perspective. Cyclists may claim what they like but the outcome justifies the means."


Basford and Reid (2002), showed that motorists perceive that there is a ‘social norm’ for motorists to pass cyclists even if they do not think it is safe to do so, presumably related to a pressure from motorists behind to ‘make progress’.
... drivers can regard themselves as trying to adhere to cautious behaviour around cyclists as an accepted response to the situation and yet still feel themselves to be pressurised by other drivers into behaving incautiously. This suggests that the perceived ‘social norm’ legitimises incautious behaviour, but leaves individual drivers free to attribute the cause of that behaviour to external influences rather than to their own attitudes
Interesting !

There's an interesting thread about cars overtaking cars overtaking a cyclist on a dual carriageway:
Hazards when overtaking on a dual carriageway - [ The Advanced Driving UK Forum ]
Car Theory Test – Mock Test 5 - [ FREE Mock Theory Tests - Practice Theory Test ]
You are travelling along this narrow country road.
When passing the cyclist you should go 
  1. quickly, leaving plenty of room
  2. slowly, sounding the horn as you pass
  3. quickly, sounding the horn as you pass
  4. slowly, leaving plenty of room

SPACE from carltonreid on Vimeo.

In defence of motorists - [ CycleChat Cycling Forum ]
"Every road user has a duty to be aware of what is going on around them. In the case in question the cyclist should have realised the danger and slowed down to allow the overtaking car to complete its manovre. Cyclists being the more vulnerable must be prepared to give way if neccesary even when its other who should be doing so. Its better to survive to argue because you can't argue if you dont."
I disagree - the overtaking person is responsible for completing the manoeuvre safely. The overtaken will, as an ultimate last-ditch option, swerve into parked cars, pavement, hedge or ditch; or try emergency braking, purely to survive, but motorists should not be relying on this when planning an overtake ! I don't think it's reasonable for motorists to expect me to arrive at the shops or work, soaked in ditch-water or picking thorns out of my flesh !
See also MacKillop below.

mod 2 test fail - [ Advanced Driving ]
"got a serious because it looked like the cyclist slowed down and could have possibly become unsteady and therefore was a fail"
Dangerous overtake at 2-abreast cyclists while on the phone !

comments by Sean 'so what?'

See Also

  • "All those push-bikes and not one mirror between them! If the threats are coming from behind why do cyclists want to turn their back on them? It makes little or no sense as a safety strategy as it puts the entire responsibility for one person's safety on the shoulders of another. Like the spokesman says it's a shared responsibility so why isn't that responsibility actually being shared? 
    Duncan MacKillop. No surprise - No accident. ... and many responses