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Friday, 5 December 2014

Being overtaken by cars

You all know the experience. You are riding along a main road, not too far out into the carriageway, and there is a double white line down the center of the road (continuous on your side, and either continuous or broken on the other side - it makes no difference). A car comes up behind you and the driver wants to overtake. The driver figures there is just enough room to do this without crossing the white lines, so s/he does - passing within millimetres of yourself. Feel the breeze! There is no prize for this 'skillful' piece of driving, and what is certain is that there is no prize for the cyclist who ends up under the wheels of the car because the car driver cut things a bit fine. But squeezing past us like this may not even be necessary. Read this, which is from the Highway Code online:
[Rule] 129
Double white lines where the line nearest you is solid. This means you MUST NOT cross or straddle it unless it is safe and you need to enter adjoining premises or a side road. You may cross the line if necessary, provided the road is clear, to pass a stationary vehicle, or overtake a pedal cycle, horse or road maintenance vehicle, if they are travelling at 10 mph (16 km/h) or less.
Laws RTA 1988 sect 36 & TSRGD regs 10 & 26
Admittedly, the motorist can only overtake by crossing the white lines if the cyclist is travelling at 10 mph (so it says) but who is that good about judging the speed of a cyclist, or the speed of anything for that matter? I couldn't ride continuously ride at much over 10 mph myself, and I imagine that goes for a number of riders who are not actually taking part in the Tour of Britain. The interesting thing is that, in discussions with cyclists/motorists, I find that most people don't even know this rule. I'm guessing it's a relatively new one in the Code - I certainly don't recall being aware of the last sentence when I took my test eons ago, when the first part of the rule used to be much beloved of examiners in the days before the theory test. I only learned it myself a few years back while on a Speed Awareness course (don't ask!) 


iain1775 said...

Pretty sure it was in the code when I took my test in 1992

Clyde said...

Thanks for that info, Iain. That's the sort of thing I wanted to know. So far you are the first person who has said to me that they already knew this rule. If it is in fact common knowledge, maybe folk are just being polite when I bring the subject up! But then, why - given how slow I ride - do drivers feel it necessary to squeeze between me and the double white lines, even when there is nothing coming the other way?

swaddywaddy said...

Ride defensively C and position yourself in the middle of the lane so they cannot pass without crossing the double white line. Might be useful if you could maintain 12mph though!