Friday, 19 September 2014

Obstruction ?

In the early days of motoring, there was a law that every vehicle had to be preceded by a man walking with a red flag, and the vehicle had to stop when he waved it, to let horse-drawn traffic past safely.

One father has tried using his car to make it safe for his son to walk to school, as part of a campaign for a footway.
Could be a useful tactic for a Critical Mass ride ?

'Police advised him against this course of action for safety reasons.
'Officers have advised him that he is at risk of causing an unlawful or wilful obstruction should he continue to do this.'

Note that the police are fearful that other motorists might overtake unsafely. Pandering to the lowest level of incompetence can only encourage bad drivers.

Even an olympic cyclist training on the A82 protected by a team car comes in for criticism
Gemma Doyle MP doesn't believe in #Space4Cycling - [ JoeSoap76 ].

There is another case here
Speeding driver narrowly avoids crash while overtaking a horse in Herefordshire - [ Metro News ]
Shocking footage shows how close car came to head-on-collision while overtaking horse - [ Hereford Times ]
Idiot UK Drivers Exposed - [ Facebook ]

The comments from the driver and his 'cruising-buddies' in the following cars expose the totally irresponsible mindset
"surly having the 4 x 4 following the horse is making it more dangerous than it needs to be? blocking the view of the horse from the car, maybe the civic didnt know the horse was there till a woman decided to jump out and wave franticly at them? also surly overtaking a 4 x 4 and a horse is alot harder to find a space for than just going round a horse slowly. Personal i think by having her husband following her shes asked for this...."
 "I'll drive like a rally driver if I want to"
"Overtaking for a blind bend cus there's a car there parked car in the middle of the road"
"You do know you can go the speed limit past a horse and not break the law. it may be cuntish but its not illegal."
"This is what gets me now, horses on roads maybe...20, 30 years ago? Yes. But now where everybody and their dog own a car, it makes it a lot more risky, irritating, and unnecessary to do so. There's tracks at the sides of fields which can facilitate this, away from crops etc. But roads really aren't a feasible location for horse riders to wander these days, especially along main roads of villages where it's a through road, causes all kinds of obstructions."
"Are horses subject to road tax, an MOT to say they are safe on the road and won't spook, and are insured?"
"If they need to travel between areas they should be forced to buy horse boxes. Horses are a danger on any road"
"Actually if you look it up. You are not allowed to lead a horse on main roads they have to be ridden or transported in the trailer" Actual Highway Code 53 "keep a horse you are leading to your left"
"Always lead a horse on your right not infront of it to the left" - making up rules
"The Highway Code does not mention guiding horses down the road, it's all about riding, I will make an assumption (not that I like to) that when it was written the authors thought "why on earth would one lead a horse down the road?"" There is an ambiguity - it looks like you should lead one horse while riding another !
"you horse riders should train your horses so they dont get skittish when you pass them doing the speed limit. if you cant do that then dont have them on the roads" - actually that is precisely what they were doing !
"So... you think everyone has to slow down so you can enjoy your hobby? Depends... someone might me running late to get to work, school, interview."
"We pay road tax!! Horses don't !!!"
 "I cant drive my car in a field so why can you ride your horse in our road???"
 "horses should not be on some roads that are extremely hazardous (that includes cyclists and pedestrians)"
"could horse box drivers please pull over when you see in your mirrors you are holding up 3000 cars"
"Humans don't walk in the road...That's why pavements are there. Out of the way and in a safe area. " 
" I'm sorry but you can stick as many flashing amber lights on your car as you want it doesn't make you any more important than anyone else on the road, the only lights that are gunna stop me doing the speed limit on a country lane are blue flashing ones, if you don't want your horse to meet faster traffic then walk it through a 20 zone where the traffic is slower, it's like wandering down the hard shoulder and complaining that cars are flying past"
"There's no law to say we have to slow slow for amber lights, so if someone chooses to ignore they have every right to..."
" It's always safe to do 60 on a country road until someone brings a potential glue bag [horse?] into the equation" 
"he is not a police officer and his flashing lights cannot demand members of public slow or stop. Put the horse in a trailer or ride it so its visible." 
 "why is the car recording not taking the MANY safe opportunity's to pass?" - he is in convoy
 "no i don't think hearses should pull over but they aren't people out for a 'merry day out' at the expense of all other roads users are they. Roads are dangerous places, if every horse brought support vehicles it would be impossible for half the timid drivers on the road to ever get past."
 "these stupid people walking horses along the road are worse than the stupid people riding horses along the road. It's dangerous and cruel!"
"How did the guy not see the horse through a fking 4x4 flashing lights in his face. What a fking stupid idea"
" Just shoot the f*****g horse and be done with it then in about 6 months u can buy a car with the money u save on not having a horse
 "Very dangerous driving...but should the horse really be on the road?"
"does anyone go on about the way cyclists are just sheer ignorant when you have to follow them and they don't even stop in a gateway for you to you don't and they even ride two a please don't just take it out on people with horses....
"Horses shouldn't be on the road in this day and age with the amount of traffic on today's roads. They shud be confined to fields only !!
"This isn't the 17 hundreds there is no place for horses on the road in todays world horses are not a means of transport they are a hobby just like a mx bike you cant ride that on the road and you have more control of one of them than a silly horse
"how much road tax does an horse pay? & horse boxes, carriages etc. never pull over to let traffic past & then people make risky over takes.
" in this day and age it's about time ridiculously outdated laws were changed and horses (unless crossing the public highway) and were banned from using the roads, it is ridiculous to see young children quite legally riding horses they have little control of riding on dangerous country roads !
"get off the main road! these horses becoming like holy cows in india. Everyone like: oh my god its a holy horse, do not overtake it, lets just follow it for 20 miles.
"They aren't supposed to block the road they should move in to let people passed
"horse hasn't been transport for many years and shouldn't be allowed on the roads.. Why should the horse be treated different to any other animal.. Stick to the fields and private property"
 "Get off the road then stupid horses"
"I'm going to start walking my dog down the road." - as if that is ridiculous !
"Dont take a horse on a road.. What about insurance in case the horse decides to kick out at a car and damaged it ...Fair doos the bloke is a complete knob.. But a horse on a public highway naaahhh....
"Fookin horse riders/owners think they own the road ....the laws apply to you as well
"Why is the woman leading the horse not wearing a hat or fluorescents?" - she wears hi-viz
  1. " is that road not national speed limit? ..... what you gona do next start riding your horse down motorways complaining about people driving being too fast..... hes not speeding your going down the road at walking pace .... if i was just walking down the road like that with a bicycle or pushing a wheelbarrow full of bricks takeing up that much space police would stop me and say "wtf are you doing get off the road"
  2. "im not saying they dont have the right im saying they shouldn't because of the risk involved with the hazzard of vehicles on the road though police and travellers sould be allowed to use them
  3. "i dont think you understand what im saying they shouldn`t be on the road because of the danger off cars to them"
  4. " it would be alright if we all used a horse to commute but (please read the next part out loud and slowly)... horses are at more risk than anyone else useing the roads, predestians crossing it too drivers. a car is a greater hazard which has greater potential risks to a horse and rider than any other road user"
  5. " if accidents were to increase on the roads involveing horses and their riders or maybe evan just continue at whatever the rate my be now .... who do you think will end up at the top of this triangle some ammount of horse riders or 35 million vehicle drivers... i`d ride my horse on a feild or fell road at the most"
  6. "just looking at another facebook page based on horse safety on roads... every single accident that there showing has happend is someone driving to close and causeing injury by side of vehicle or trailer nobody driving "too fast" or "stupidly""
"I cant c the problem,,,he probably had tax,mot and insurance so allowed on the rd ,,,fancy riding a horse on a road wiv a national speed limit lol"
"So the driver of the discovery was causing an obstruction off vision and held up the Honda for so long that he saw half a gap and went for it, I see both sides living in the countryside, but sometimes people really don't help others." - half a gap
 " Horses and cyclist are a fucking nightmare"
"She shouldn't be trying to control the traffic anyway.
" I do myself always slow down for horses, but do we know the full story of this, the Honda driver could of been doing the speed limit and maybe did not see this till the last second so was avoiding a collision rather then slamming into the back of it maybe?" "Never read the highway code, have you? Rule 126: Drive at a speed that will allow you to stop well within the distance you can see to be clear." "So you slow down to 15 mph on a corner do you?"
"He shouldn't have been going that fast...... However the horse would have been obscured by the vehicle following it, which itself is causing an obstruction by kerb crawling."
"the convoy would still cause a problem to someone doing 10mph under the speed limit, the speed differential is huge and the 4x4 obscures the view of what is in front of it."
"Never said otherwise but the speed limit would be 60 so not so sure he was speeding, what proof do you have that he was doing over 60? No problem with horses on the road (and never said I did) it is this stupid convoy set up I think is wrong, it creates a potential problem as this video proves beyond all doubt.
 "Horses should be banned from the roads. The can and do hurt the rider, cause collisions and road chaos. The French have it right!
This guy does not slow for horses. - [ Metro ]
"So what you are saying is the vehicle was illegally displaying a non-prescribed light on his vehicle as well as a non-prescribed sign. There's nothing in the Highway Code or law that allows private motorists to display traffic signs such as this nor anything that says drivers must make sure they read all signs on other private cars. There is nothing to say that the overtaking driver had seen any sign nor that he knew the horse was there. The driver of the vehicle behind the horse is therefore reckless and endangering other road users and the horse by blocking the view of the horse and driving extremely slowly which is dangerous and illegal. What an idiot!
The best indication for the presence of a horse is the horse itself and that IS in the Highway Code, Rule 215
 Section 137 Highways Act 1980
137 Penalty for wilful obstruction.
(1)If a person, without lawful authority or excuse, in any way wilfully obstructs the free passage along a highway he is guilty of an offence and liable to a fine ...
There is guidance to the effect that 'being a slow vehicle does not necessarily constitute an obstruction in and of itself '. [citation needed]
In this instance, there is little traffic, so nothing prevents overtaking. People might have to slow down to a reasonable speed, but that does not constitute obstruction. The legislation on double white lines suggests 10 mph is a 'reasonable speed'. [HC 129]

Stop to let drivers pass ?

Highway Code 169
"Do not hold up a long queue of traffic, especially if you are driving a large or slow-moving vehicle. Check your mirrors frequently, and if necessary, pull in where it is safe and let traffic pass."
Note this is advisory, and the reference to 'mirrors' suggests it did not have cyclists in mind.
Does it apply if the driver behind is simply incompetent to overtake ?


Highway Code 168
"Being overtaken.
If a driver is trying to overtake you, maintain a steady course and speed, slowing down if necessary to let the vehicle pass. Never obstruct drivers who wish to pass. Speeding up or driving unpredictably while someone is overtaking you is dangerous. Drop back to maintain a two-second gap if someone overtakes and pulls into the gap in front of you."
This could be seen as conflicting with Bikeability.
Adopt Primary Position early so you "maintain a steady course".
Never obstruct drivers who wish to pass, if it is safe for them to do so.

"It's number 2 that starts the queue - Yah! Boo! to number 2."

As cyclists, we may sometimes find a vehicle behind that refuses to overtake.
Could they be charged with obstruction ?

The High Court has stressed that minor inconveniences are not actionable. The judge, Hart J, reminded both parties that:
No member of the public has an exclusive right to use the highway. He has merely a right to use it subject to the reasonable user of others...The law...recognises that there are...competing public interests. The law relating to the user of highways is in truth the law of give and take. Those who use them must in doing so have reasonable regard to the convenience and comfort of others and must not themselves expect a degree of convenience only obtainable by disregarding that of other people (per Romer J in Harper v GM Haden & Sons Ltd [1933]).
There's a couple of comments on Keith Peat's blog (he probably deserves a post of his own)
He also has trouble identifying sincere comments from satire.
Why are you angry with cyclists ? - [ Drive East Midlands ]
Dave Smith - 27 February 2014 05:48
I'm angry with cyclists because a growing number think the can dictate what speed I drive at regardless of the speed limit, they call the shots on when I can overtake by riding in a central position, often when there's a perfectly good cycle lane to the left. Last week I was sat behind a cyclist for about 10 minutes doing about 15 mph on a 60 mph road, and printed on his hi-viz was the phrase "Cyclists may use the whole lane. Get over it". It's militant point makers like this that really grind my gears..
Keith Peat - 27 February 2014 07:20
Yes a good example of using their own bodies as a challenge in its own right. The chap you describe thinks that your good, albeit very common, example of driver patience was a right to be exploited. So what would be wrong with his stopping to allow you to pass safely? He would rather take the risk with his own life to prove a point. That really does show a serious lack of logic and intelligence that politicians should note; especially when these people want to encourage children to do it too just to swell their numbers.
When I query 2 abreast for a social chat, they are actually doing it, again by using their own skins,, to deter passing. Then demand jail for anyone who unsuccessfully attempts it too. Amazing.
I suspect '10 minutes' was probably well under '1 minute'. Note the agenda to stop a cyclist, if not all cycling. We slow you, or you stop us ? Compare 'logic and intelligence' to cowardice.

If a motorised vehicle, ie car or motorcycle or tractor or even a pedestrian on a motorised bicycle, being subject to the laws of the land, was to drive at 10 mph anywhere on the Queens highway and by doing so has the intention of obstructing vehicles and preventing them from overtaking, it may be considered committing an offence by obstructing the free passage of others. It then becomes an offence under law and could be dealt with by the police and magistrates and the offender, if pleading or found guilty, could be penalised and fined and have a licence, should he hold one, endorsed. The offence would be driving without reasonable consideration for other road users. A law enacted by Parliament and known as the Road Traffic Act 1960 sect.3 as amended. Unfortunately a pedal cyclists cannot be dealt with for this offence and therefore is immune to prosecution. - Bob Craven Lancs...Space is Safe Campaigner

Activists Show What it Would Look Like if Bikes Took Up as Much Room as Cars - [ Inhabitat ]

20mph zones

20mph limits have made roads "more dangerous", says Bristol driving instructor - [ Bristol Post ]
"I obviously insist that my pupils stick to the advertised 20mph limits, but we are regularly overtaken on residential roads in very dangerous situations."
Isn't it the overtaking driver that is dangerous ? Don't blame the limit !

Community Pace Car Schemes

In 2006, a few places, including Doncaster and Cheshire set up 'Community Pace Car Schemes', where motorists would pledge not to exceed the speed limits, and displayed stickers.
The scheme was not popular, and just legitimised what a few people do anyway.

"... the duty of care incumbent on the cyclist to keep out of the way wherever possible"

from a Driving Instructor !!!
So Who Is The "Good Guy" Really? - [ Diary Of An ADI ]

What the Highway Code 168 (Being overtaken) actually says is
"If a driver is trying to overtake you, maintain a steady course and speed, slowing down if necessary to let the vehicle pass. Never obstruct drivers who wish to pass. Speeding up or driving unpredictably while someone is overtaking you is dangerous. Drop back to maintain a two-second gap if someone overtakes and pulls into the gap in front of you."
Cyclist punches driver - [ Daily Echo ]
 A car passenger has been punched in the face in Fareham after he confronted a cyclist. The 18-year-old victim was travelling in his friend's Peugeot 106, when they came across someone cycling in the middle of the road near the St Margaret roundabout. They shouted at the cyclist to move out the way, and as they pulled up at the roundabout the cyclist caught up with them and banged on the passenger window of the vehicle.
The police appeal suggests "shouted at the cyclist to move out the way" is the correct course of action !

Overtaking Car & Digger, but surprised by a Zebra !

There's an instructive case here of an impatient driver overtaking two slow vehicles, only to find a Zebra Crossing and waiting police. Surprisingly, no-one comes to his aid, even on a 'scofflaw' forum !

Overtaking on zebra crossing but had no other option - [ Pepipoo - FightBack Forums ]
It seems the drivers in front didn't want him to overtake, and those behind didn't leave his gap empty to drop back into, 'forcing' him into breaking the law - he even says
"I am aware of how too overtake cars as i have been driving for 21 years!"
"And the only other option was to stop on the wrong side of the road and that would of been in the zigzags which is also an offence!"
No, stopping in the zig-zags is not an offence - parking would be. Stopping at a Zebra is to be applauded, in many cases - it's why they exist. Stopping on the wrong side is so unusual, I doubt if the law covers the case either way.

Starting to overtake two vehicles was very wrong - if the car in front had also tried to overtake they would likely collide.

Morally, the car first behind the digger should arguably have overtaken earlier, but may have been in convoy. More likely one of the 'never overtaken in my life' number two drivers !

Sometimes patience is required, even on motorways:

In fact, if 'Obstruction' was strictly illegal, most parked cars would be breaking the law !

See also

Primary Position - and beyond

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