Passing clearance - motion at AGM

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Re: Passing clearance - motion at AGM

Postby Bmblbzzz » 11 Apr 2016, 11:38am

Of course it won't be followed to the centimetre and as to enforcement, that'll be patchy. But a definite clearance in writing would set up something to follow rather than just "I think that's enough" or "I really need to get past here." It's not going to make any difference to people deliberately setting out to "punishment pass" but most close passes are ignorant or careless rather than malicious. Saying it's no good cos it won't be enforced is like saying laws against theft or murder should be scrapped cos they don't stop people stealing and killing.

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Re: Passing clearance - motion at AGM

Postby mjr » 11 Apr 2016, 11:39am

Bmblbzzz wrote:Saying it's no good cos it won't be enforced is like saying laws against theft or murder should be scrapped cos they don't stop people stealing and killing.

Or that sometimes such offences are not prosecuted.
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Re: Passing clearance - motion at AGM

Postby Psamathe » 11 Apr 2016, 12:43pm

At the start of this thread I was pretty lukewarm about the proposal and the CUK adopting it at the AGM.

Now, having read an considered other posts and the thoughts of others I think it should be adopted.

My earlier reservations were mainly over enforceability - which I now agree with others is not really the issue. I would prefer a single 1.5m rule (i.e. not a more complex different clearance for different speeds) but that is a minor detail.

So, changed my mind (or rather, been persuaded by the input from others). AGM should adopt the proposal.

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Re: Passing clearance - motion at AGM

Postby Bez » 11 Apr 2016, 12:47pm

sjs wrote:Supposing it were true that 83% of drivers sometimes break the speed limit: would you prefer that speed limits were abolished?


Hang on, I wasn't the one using the speeding law to analogically justify a distance passing law. To my mind they're quite different.

mjr wrote:I don't think anyone gets prosecuted for 41 in a 40 at the minute, do they? So, the criminal minority are those who have points or been ticketed, or if we want to be broader: those who exceed the speed limits frequently by a goodly portion because they think they're irrelevant, unreasonable, unnecessary and/or other reasons. I'd say the criminal speeders are a minority.


Well, supposedly around a quarter of drivers admit to breaking laws "deliberately because they thought they could get away with it or did not agree with the laws"; a minority, certainly, but a fairly sizeable one.

Bmblbzzz wrote:Saying it's no good cos it won't be enforced is like saying laws against theft or murder should be scrapped cos they don't stop people stealing and killing.


It's really not, and that's not just due to enforceability issues but to many other things. For a start, the numerous arguments based on the notion of scrapping existing laws assumes that scrapping a law and introducing a law (or, more pertinently, campaigning for either) are equivalent, and they are very different.

Anyway:

http://singletrackworld.com/columns/201 ... sing-laws/

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Re: Passing clearance - motion at AGM

Postby al_yrpal » 11 Apr 2016, 2:10pm

http://singletrackworld.com/columns/201 ... sing-laws/

What a load of blather! Some people cant see the wood for the trees!

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Re: Passing clearance - motion at AGM

Postby Bez » 11 Apr 2016, 2:20pm

al_yrpal wrote:Its already the law in France, Germany and Spain and being imlimented in parts of Australia!!!


I've been trying to dig around this a little, because I wasn't aware of any such law in France, although I'm certainly aware that it is advised in France.

As far as I can tell, it's not law.

The Code de la Route does indeed say, "Rappelons que la distance latérale en ville est au minimum 1 m, et 1 m 50 hors agglomération." However, Legifrance (which is a law site, not a highways site) says of the overtaking chapter of the Code: "Le présent chapitre ne comprend pas de dispositions législatives."

In other words, it seems that the situation in France is exactly as per council's opposition stance: distances are stated in the equivalent of the Highway Code, but there is no legislation.

(So if you want to cite France as your example, you should perhaps side with council; it's perhaps also worth noting that France's participation and casualty rates are not dissimilar to those in the UK, and that there are good reasons why people's anecdotal evidence of France being lovely is deeply flawed.)

I'm happy to be corrected on the above if anyone knows of evidence to the contrary.

My belief was that the case was much the same in Spain and Germany; I don't speak Spanish or German but I shall endeavour to find out.

As far I'm aware, distance laws have only been implemented in certain North American and Australian states where the cycling environment and general attitudes towards cycling are notably poor.
Last edited by Bez on 11 Apr 2016, 2:39pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Passing clearance - motion at AGM

Postby Bez » 11 Apr 2016, 2:34pm

al_yrpal wrote:What a load of blather! Some people cant see the wood for the trees!


Do you have a constructive rebuttal to any of the points made?

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Re: Passing clearance - motion at AGM

Postby lingy » 11 Apr 2016, 3:44pm

The point about law vs Highway Code I think is about must vs should? But it's a small difference...we should be supporting this generally. I'd rather see it backed by law albeit one unlikely to be proactively enforced ... But a court of law may use it in an incident if there was, say, video evidence. But Highway Code advice would surely be better than nothing...


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Re: Passing clearance - motion at AGM

Postby Bmblbzzz » 11 Apr 2016, 3:47pm


It's a shame National Council (or whatever they're called) couldn't have expressed that.

Bez wrote:
Bmblbzzz wrote:Saying it's no good cos it won't be enforced is like saying laws against theft or murder should be scrapped cos they don't stop people stealing and killing.


It's really not, and that's not just due to enforceability issues but to many other things. For a start, the numerous arguments based on the notion of scrapping existing laws assumes that scrapping a law and introducing a law (or, more pertinently, campaigning for either) are equivalent, and they are very different.

Certainly introducing and removing a thing are not the same. It annoys me when people equate the two! Just as it does when they equate introducing x with introducing y. So I shouldn't have said scrapped ( :oops: ) but just made the comparison: that things still happen doesn't mean we shouldn't have a law against it.

Anyway, after posting the bit quoted above but before reading your Singletrack piece, I remembered this:
Several years ago there was a serious campaign to abolish specific speed limits and replace them with an offence of "inappropriate speed," which would apply to driving too slowly as well as too fast. The argument in favour of this, mostly by the ABD or some group of that type, had two main prongs.
1. Freed from the restriction of speed limits, drivers would be able to judge for themselves the most appropriate speed for any situation. Sometimes (in a crowded town centre on a rainy Friday afternoon, say) this might be lower than the speed limit and sometimes (on an uncrowded motorway, say) it might be higher.
2. Speed limits are very rarely enforced, so their existence brings all traffic laws into disrepute.

Along with the usual guff about the distraction of speedometers, the pollution caused by driving slowly and how modern cars aren't happy at certain speeds in certain gears.

One of the rebuttals of point 2 was that burglaries are very rarely solved in large cities, so by extension of the same logic housebreaking should be legalised. But point 1 is where we are with passing distances at the moment; it's merely a matter of the driver's judgement. Some are excellent (most of the Welsh, in my experience, though I don't know why, although I have theories) and some think "didn't hit you" is genuinely the only requirement.

But now I've read the Singletrack piece I'm mulling it over.

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Re: Passing clearance - motion at AGM

Postby MikeF » 11 Apr 2016, 4:12pm

PRL wrote:14) Legal minimum passing clearance The AGM requests a legal requirement for minimum passing clearance when overtaking or near to cyclists, to try and reduce the frequency of motor vehicles passing too close. On roads with speed limits up to and including 30mph or when passing at a speed up to and including
30mph, a 1m minimum is suggested. On roads with higher speed limits, a 1.5m minimum passing distance is suggested. In addition, on narrow roads frequent passing places should be provided.
The problem I have with this proposal is that it's impossible to draw up a law to take into account of the variables. Speed limits are easy - that's just a question deciding the maximum speed that is permitted; below it speeding law not broken, above it law broken. And with solid white lines - cross line=law broken, don't cross line=law not broken. And with traffic lights - cross on red=law broken, cross on green=OK if it's safe to do so. All basically simple - "go/no go" type. They are all easy to measure, but how do you measure or define clearance between two moving vehicles?

Most traffic laws are well defined. Unfortunately careless and dangerous driving aren't, but close passing (in either direction), 1.5metres say, could be added as one of the criteria and I think this would be much better proposal.

Many roads are not wide enough to allow this proposed law to be implemented. It could incorporate a statement that if there isn't enough room for 1.5m clearance then an approaching vehicle should stop and let the cyclist pass and vehicle travelling in the same direction should not overtake if there is less than 1.5m clearance, but that leaves the problem of how a vehicle could overtake a cyclist on a long stretch of such a road.

I think this proposal hasn't been thought through or discussed properly. It's a desire, but I cannot see how it could become law as proposed.
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Re: Passing clearance - motion at AGM

Postby keithb » 11 Apr 2016, 4:28pm

I'd rather a "change lanes to overtake" description in the Highway Code (rather than the current "give as much space as you would a car) as it's less open to mis-interpretation than the current wording, while not actually changing any requirements of the Highway Code, enabling the change to be justified more easily and more likely to happen...

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Re: Passing clearance - motion at AGM

Postby 1gunsalute » 11 Apr 2016, 4:42pm

Bez wrote:
http://singletrackworld.com/columns/201 ... sing-laws/

"Worse still: because policies such as distance passing laws and presumed liability focus so much on the status quo, they reinforce it. The more effort politicians put into policies that are perceived (or can be sold as) improving life for people on the carriageway, the less keen they will be to invest effort in then enabling them not to be on the carriageway in the first place"

I disagree with this analysis. One of the arguments against building cycling infrastructure is that it only benefits the cycling 1%. If drivers had to drive more safely around cyclists, they might be keener to support cycling infrastructure.

Moreover, while building off-carriageway cycling infrastructure is a good thing, the reality is that it will take many years and £s to develop a Dutch-style network that might cover say 10% of the roads. Even then cyclists need to be able to travel safely on-carriageway on the rest of the network.

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Re: Passing clearance - motion at AGM

Postby al_yrpal » 11 Apr 2016, 4:54pm

keithb wrote:I'd rather a "change lanes to overtake" description in the Highway Code (rather than the current "give as much space as you would a car) as it's less open to mis-interpretation than the current wording, while not actually changing any requirements of the Highway Code, enabling the change to be justified more easily and more likely to happen...


But that isnt a law, or anything, no one has to take any notice of it whatsoever as far as I know. In Germany the law says should give adequate clearance and in practice through prosecutions 1 to 1.5m has been established and more clearance should be given the faster the passing speed. Here we have nothing. Over the years I have seen dozens and dozens of posts on this forum about dangerous close passes sometimes with contact, sometimes with people falling off and suffering injuries with no subsequent police action taken. It seems crazy that people including the CTC Council are happy for this situation to continue by doing nothing. A campaign will start a debate and from that debate the law will be strengthened to give cyclists a law with teeth that will protect us all better. I agree with the point about very narrow roads, that needs to be accomodated with something like the cyclist charged with pulling over and calling the vehicle on safely. What I am sure about is that drivers need to be aware that they legally need to give adequate clearance at all speeds and in all road conditions. We cannot continue with the present toothless Highway Code recommendation, it is patently an inadequate safeguard as the barrage of complaints here clearly demonstrates.

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Re: Passing clearance - motion at AGM

Postby MikeF » 11 Apr 2016, 5:03pm

Bmblbzzz wrote:

Anyway, after posting the bit quoted above but before reading your Singletrack piece, I remembered this:
Several years ago there was a serious campaign to abolish specific speed limits and replace them with an offence of "inappropriate speed," which would apply to driving too slowly as well as too fast. The argument in favour of this, mostly by the ABD or some group of that type, had two main prongs.
1. Freed from the restriction of speed limits, drivers would be able to judge for themselves the most appropriate speed for any situation. Sometimes (in a crowded town centre on a rainy Friday afternoon, say) this might be lower than the speed limit and sometimes (on an uncrowded motorway, say) it might be higher.
ie if there's a speed limit then they switch their brains off and drive like morons at that speed limit. What they really campaigning for is to drive faster the current speed limit! :evil:
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Re: Passing clearance - motion at AGM

Postby Bez » 11 Apr 2016, 5:27pm

al_yrpal wrote:In Germany the law says should give adequate clearance and in practice through prosecutions 1 to 1.5m has been established and more clearance should be given the faster the passing speed. Here we have nothing. Over the years I have seen dozens and dozens of posts on this forum about dangerous close passes sometimes with contact, sometimes with people falling off and suffering injuries with no subsequent police action taken.


And how many German/Spanish/French cycling forums have you been reading over the years in order to see how many posts there are about similar incidents?

You seem to be assuming two things: 1. that the situation is better in all of these countries, and 2. that if it is better, then this is to a significant extent due to a passing law. (And, as per my earlier post, are you sure that they all have such laws?)

It's often said that cycling in France is a blissful experience, but those anecdotes come largely from those of us who holiday there, riding on rural roads where the traffic density is far lower than in most of the UK. It's my experience that even in the UK people will leave plenty of room as long as they don't have to slow down significantly in order to do so, and I would argue that this is a majority part of why riding on the open road in France is more pleasant: there's simply less oncoming traffic (and in many cases the roads are often straighter, too). Anecdotes from people who commute in cities don't differ wildly from elsewhere; nor, as far as I can tell, do they in most of Germany. Spain is, broadly speaking, somewhat notorious for being a faintly terrifying place to cycle.

al_yrpal wrote:It seems crazy that people including the CTC Council are happy for this situation to continue by doing nothing.


I can't speak for council, but I would suggest that is a total straw man. The argument against seeking legislation does not equate to being "happy for this situation to continue", and although it is inevitable that people will attempt to equate the two it is ludicrous to do so. (Hopefully I shouldn't need to explain why?)

al_yrpal wrote:A campaign will start a debate and from that debate the law will be strengthened to give cyclists a law with teeth that will protect us all better.


How with the law "protect us all better"? What are these teeth? They are presented only as metaphors. All the arguments go along the lines of "there's a law, so people won't do it", which is nonsense. People smoke dope, drive at 80mph, cycle without pedal reflectors, ride on the pavement… laws haven't magically stopped those, nor have they necessarily even reduced them.

al_yrpal wrote:What I am sure about is that drivers need to be aware that they legally need to give adequate clearance at all speeds and in all road conditions. We cannot continue with the present toothless Highway Code recommendation, it is patently an inadequate safeguard as the barrage of complaints here clearly demonstrates.


But if your goal is awareness then legislation is not necessarily the best way to achieve it. As for the HC, most of us—myself included—would agree that the wording is currently seriously flawed. Council's position is the same, and that is a position of opposition to legislation.