Give cyclists 3 feet

Serious discussion of cycling issues
mikebcycling
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Give cyclists 3 feet

Postby mikebcycling » Wed Nov 14, 2012 13:38 pm

I'll be happy to be told that there has been a previous thread on this issue. Before visiting France and Germany in September, I was reading up on French traffic laws and noted that "When overtaking a bicycle, drivers must leave a distance of at least 1 metre in built-up areas and 1.5 metres outside built-up areas between their vehicle and the bicycle". We had a number of bike runs in the Somme and Champagne areas and felt considerably safer than we do in the UK, with motorists waiting until it was safe to overtake and giving a wide berth when they did. I discussed the issue with my local CTC councillor and was told that it had been discussed on Council but that they would not pursue similar legislation here as they felt it was unenforceable. It's also worth noting that, as at end-September, 21 States in the USA had legislation requiring a minimum of 3 feet between bicycles and passing vehicles, with more States in the pipeline. The reality is that enforcement might only be possible post-accident but it removes any dubiety about a safe margin. If you're 3 feet/1 metre away, you can't clip a cyclist with a wing mirror! Few motorists seem aware of the provisions of rules 163 and 212 of the Highway Code and, in any event, these do not have the same force as RTA legislation. In my view, we need a combination of this legislation plus education on the subject.
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Trev The Rev
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Re: Give cyclists 3 feet

Postby Trev The Rev » Mon Dec 17, 2012 15:28 pm

Seeing as a large proportion of drivers have no idea how wide their vehicle is and no idea whatever how much distance there is between their vehicle and the kerb I doubt changing the law will make any difference. Ask a young person to show you a yard or meter and they will be 'miles' out. Some young people drive like they are playing a computer game and assume collisions don't hurt or kill and all that happens is the game starts again. Year in year out I get overtaken by cars closer and closer and yes I do find the younger the driver the closer they pass.

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JGSI
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Re: Give cyclists 3 feet

Postby JGSI » Mon Dec 17, 2012 18:32 pm

I don't have a 'political' bone in my body to be truthful but I wish you well if you do campaign as 'close passes' do rank up there as one of the less attractive features of road riding.

fish156
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Re: Give cyclists 3 feet

Postby fish156 » Mon Dec 17, 2012 19:40 pm

mikebcycling wrote:... I was reading up on French traffic laws and noted that "When overtaking a bicycle, drivers must leave a distance of at least 1 metre in built-up areas and 1.5 metres outside built-up areas between their vehicle and the bicycle". ...


Image
Typical French roadsign, this one on the Cormet de Roselend, in the Beaufortain region.

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sfichele
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Re: Give cyclists 3 feet

Postby sfichele » Wed Dec 19, 2012 14:27 pm

If anyone is interested I decided to measure how much room is being given in the HW code photo that's bounced around all over the place. Its around 4.3 ft

Image

http://geckocycling.blogspot.co.uk/2012/12/highway-code-overtake-photo.html

ChrisAOnABike
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Re: Give cyclists 3 feet

Postby ChrisAOnABike » Wed Dec 19, 2012 14:38 pm

sfichele wrote:If anyone is interested I decided to measure how much room is being given in the HW code photo that's bounced around all over the place. Its around 4.3 ft
Image

Have to say, although it's nice to be given that much room, and many drivers in my neck of the woods do*, I'm not overly bothered if I only get about half that or a bit more.

And in that picture the bike could be a foot closer into the kerb without being in the gutter or the drain covers.

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* in fact, they often hold back quite a bit longer than I feel they need to - makes me feel bad for holding them up!
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Phil Fouracre
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Re: Give cyclists 3 feet

Postby Phil Fouracre » Thu Dec 20, 2012 10:51 am

Sensible comments, bit of 'give and take'! I must admit to same, probably more often than not am given such a wide berth that I look over my shoulder to see if I've missed something. Get lots of drivers going right over the line to avoid me. Consideration? or, perhaps they really can't judge the size of their cars!

ChrisAOnABike
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Re: Give cyclists 3 feet

Postby ChrisAOnABike » Thu Dec 20, 2012 11:09 am

Phil Fouracre wrote:Get lots of drivers going right over the line to avoid me. Consideration? or, perhaps they really can't judge the size of their cars!

Or maybe you're a bit wobbly :D :wink:
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Phil Fouracre
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Re: Give cyclists 3 feet

Postby Phil Fouracre » Thu Dec 20, 2012 14:10 pm

You might have a point there - seriously though, at the moment it might have something to do with the pair of crutches I have sticking up on the carrier - recovering from bad paragliding accident
Even during uninjured riding over the years, never really had a problem, as you say, the occasional car closer than I would like, but, nothing that seemed anything other than slight misjudgement. Live and let live!

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Pross
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Re: Give cyclists 3 feet

Postby Pross » Thu Dec 20, 2012 15:15 pm

Do they have to have some sort of triple crank if you do this? Must be tricky to get the pedalling rythyme right :lol:

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Pross
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Re: Give cyclists 3 feet

Postby Pross » Thu Dec 20, 2012 15:17 pm

sfichele wrote:If anyone is interested I decided to measure how much room is being given in the HW code photo that's bounced around all over the place. Its around 4.3 ft

Image

http://geckocycling.blogspot.co.uk/2012/12/highway-code-overtake-photo.html


That photo looks odd, the road must be incredibly narrow - a standard lane width is 3.65m and that car appears to be giving more than half a lane width clearance.

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sfichele
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Re: Give cyclists 3 feet

Postby sfichele » Thu Dec 20, 2012 15:42 pm

Yeah the road in that photo looks to be very narrow, and most roads are definitely a lot wider. That's one reason I decided to measure it because you here a lot of cyclists saying a car should be completely across the other lane when overtaking - there's no real need for that but the photo above perpetuates that (possible myth).

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Pross
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Re: Give cyclists 3 feet

Postby Pross » Thu Dec 20, 2012 17:01 pm

The thing is, as soon as they have to cross the line at all they may as well go all the way over. That's why I tend to disagree when people say cyclists should ride single file to 'make it easier to over-take' when what they mean is 'to make it easier for motorists to force their way past when it isn't appropriate'.

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sfichele
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Re: Give cyclists 3 feet

Postby sfichele » Thu Dec 20, 2012 19:36 pm

Pross wrote:The thing is, as soon as they have to cross the line at all they may as well go all the way over. That's why I tend to disagree when people say cyclists should ride single file to 'make it easier to over-take' when what they mean is 'to make it easier for motorists to force their way past when it isn't appropriate'.


Semi agree - no one should force their way through when inappropriate, but you dont always have to go all the way across. If I'm passing riders two-abreast then I do go all the way across, and that's no bother.

But for me as a driver and a cyclist, imo the most important thing is cars slow down, the amount of room is (almost) secondary to that. 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. If cars pass slowly and give 3-4 feet room then that's more than good enough for me.

markyone
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Re: Give cyclists 3 feet

Postby markyone » Mon Dec 24, 2012 06:01 am

I have ridden in france and car drivers treat you with respect,i think if they bring a law in for 3ft
it wont make a bit of difference over here as our car drivers dont give a sh*t :( not all car drivers but most.
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Geordiemc
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Re: Give cyclists 3 feet

Postby Geordiemc » Sat Feb 09, 2013 21:01 pm

I ride regularly in France and always feel much safer. Drivers give much more room when overtaking, often going way more than 3 feet away. Think it's just a culture thing. People love cycling and are happy to close roads, support local races etc.
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Danlikesbikes
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Re: Give cyclists 3 feet

Postby Danlikesbikes » Sun Feb 10, 2013 22:57 pm

To be honest the law itself would be a good thing, however we can't seem to enforce the use of mobile use when driving.

OK I live & ride in and around Milton Keynes where we tend to have more than a higher percentage of roundabouts. I am a pretty safe rider & get myself into a good positive position when approaching junctions, but seem to see far to many people talking on their mobiles & almost hitting other cars (unable to keep a lane and cutting others up) on roundabouts let alone me on my bike.

Last week I was sat waiting and mentioned to a marked police car about a user 3 cars ahead in the right lane (they were just before the road split into left & right) as they had moved along side me and had the window down. 60 seconds later and they moved into the left had junction and were not bothered.

I'm not having a go at police personal directly, but think it is a cultural thing.
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davidof
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Re: Give cyclists 3 feet

Postby davidof » Thu May 30, 2013 20:38 pm

Geordiemc wrote:I ride regularly in France and always feel much safer. Drivers give much more room when overtaking, often going way more than 3 feet away. Think it's just a culture thing. People love cycling and are happy to close roads, support local races etc.


I ride every day in France and it is a mixed bag like I imagine the UK is. If I ride through the "housing projects" I risked getting knocked over by joy-riders, probably in a stolen car, probably aged 14.

Lorries are a nightmare, they pass far too close, bus drivers can be right tossers as well. A commuter was killed by a right turn truck just the other day near where I live. Road maintenance in towns is very limited although country roads generally are well surfaced. Junction layout is very poor, like the town planner must be a drunk. There are a lot of drains with the grids in the direction of wheels on the roads, like doh! a bit of common sense guys.

There is no control on old people continuing driving passed the point of brain death either and they can be a menace. Remember the accident rate in France is still more that double that of the UK for a similar population.

However on the big cycling cols and popular cycling routes people do seem to have a bit more respect.


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