Too Close for Comfort

PH
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Re: Too Close for Comfort

Postby PH » 28 Sep 2018, 9:06pm

thirdcrank wrote:I'll make a plea to keep this thread about this latest Kickstarter appeal and info about the gizmo it's hoped to give to each police force.

It's too late, it left that after the OP.

thirdcrank
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Re: Too Close for Comfort

Postby thirdcrank » 28 Sep 2018, 9:11pm

I'm trying to row back.

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al_yrpal
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Re: Too Close for Comfort

Postby al_yrpal » 28 Sep 2018, 10:04pm

The way to tackle close passing IS with the law, simply by making the law clearer. It will cause widespread debate and publicity amongst motorists and their organisations and change behavior. Messing about with gimmicks comes a poor fourth as its plain to see. Very little adoption nationwide.

Al
Touring on a bicycle is a great way to explore and appreciate the countryside and towns you pass through. CTC gone but not forgotten!

Steady rider
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Re: Too Close for Comfort

Postby Steady rider » 29 Sep 2018, 5:55pm

It is a very serious problem that requires the law plus changes to the HC and education and enforcement.
CTC/Cycling UK could enquire about buying cameras wholesale or direct from the manufacture.
Do cameras mounted on the handlebars provide better pictures - steady images - than helmet mounted?
https://www.cyclingweekly.com/group-tes ... ras-327336

thirdcrank
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Re: Too Close for Comfort

Postby thirdcrank » 29 Sep 2018, 7:24pm

In one way this is a bit like the breathalyser. Before Barbara Castle's Road Safety Act 1967, drunk driving was all a matter of opinion. A specified limit for the proportion of blood:alcohol and an almost unchallengeable way of measuring it meant the end of waggle room. That's been tightened up to get rid of most of the need for blood or urine specimens and blowing positive on a definitive machine is it today.

A specified passing distance might exclude opinion: pass within the specified distance and bingo. This is, unfortunately, where the comparison ends because there's no unchallengeable way of measuring the passing distance. The waggle room is still there. Obviously, there would be cases where the overtaking was so close that it would be almost self-evident, but at that point a better charge would be inconsiderate or even dangerous driving.

It's worth noting the point that some seem to have missed that laws like this are not self-enforcing. Many people act properly without a law, but others don't and those tend to be people who ignore the law and for whom enforcement is the only realistic option. Public spending has been cut and fair enough, but traffic enforcement by human beings rather than speed cameras has been disproportionately effected. WMP may be a partial exception.

For whatever reason, there has also been a move towards education eg speed awareness courses. AIUI, the mats were intended as a contribution to that education and it sounds as though these gadgets are another.

Richard D
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Re: Too Close for Comfort

Postby Richard D » 29 Sep 2018, 8:50pm

thirdcrank wrote:In one way this is a bit like the breathalyser. Before Barbara Castle's Road Safety Act 1967, drunk driving was all a matter of opinion. A specified limit for the proportion of blood:alcohol and an almost unchallengeable way of measuring it meant the end of waggle room. That's been tightened up to get rid of most of the need for blood or urine specimens and blowing positive on a definitive machine is it today.


Nail hit on head. At present, the law calls only for the driver to leave sufficient room. The driver will ALWAYS say that in their view, they give the cyclist sufficient room (the roadside conversation might also be accompanied with the words "you're only a bike {FFE - family-friendly edit }", but in court the driver never says this). If it gets to court, because the Police (mostly drivers) and the CPS (almost entirely drivers) tend not to want to prosecute. Then, in court, the driver's opinion, that they gave the cyclist sufficient room, is tested by magistrates (and the chances of seeing one of them on a bike is vanishingly slim); they'll side with the driver, and clearly any pass that didn’t actually hurl the cyclist to the ground had left them with sufficient room.

A legal limit, whatever the practical difficulties of measuring it (actually not that difficult, you could knock something up that included an ultrasonic sensor relatively easily if you wanted), would be a much, much clearer message to motorists than the current weasel words.

On the other hand, the mobile phone usage law is very clear, and the gits refuse to obey that one either.

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Re: Too Close for Comfort

Postby PH » 29 Sep 2018, 9:30pm

Here's some research
http://www.rsa.ie/Documents/Consultatio ... clists.pdf

I know some are sure their opinion outweighs the evidence, even more so if presented in upper case, but the information available doesn't make the case that the law needs changing.
This is more inline with my opinion
Cycling UK head of campaigns Duncan Dollimore said: “Often drivers pass too close to cyclists out of ignorance rather than though malicious intent. If we can get them to change their perspective and see what it’s like from the cyclist’s point of view, we believe this could have a profound effect on driver behaviour.

But even if you belive the law should be changed, it needn't be either/or. Can't you still support the idea that giving drivers the experience of their actions is a good thing?
thirdcrank wrote:In one way this is a bit like the breathalyser. Before Barbara Castle's Road Safety Act 1967, drunk driving was all a matter of opinion.

While I'm sure that the use of the breathalyser made detection and prosecution easier. I understand that the largest decrease in drink driving was in the ten years between 2005 and 2015 where both convictions and deaths halved. I don't think there was any significant legal changes, there were concerted efforts at enforcement and education. Whatever it was it changed attitudes and this is what's required in driver/cyclist situations.

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Cugel
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Re: Too Close for Comfort

Postby Cugel » 30 Sep 2018, 8:59am

Here's an alternative viewpoint, from a fellow (me) who detests cars and loves to ride hundreds of miles a month on his bike. It's a little bit "devil's advocate" but not entirely...

Proposition: there is no fixed safe passing distance that suits all circumstances. The safe passing distance varies with circumstances and with those involved. Therefore, the rules and law regarding passes cannot specify measurable parameters to be obeyed but must rather consider the behaviours and intents of those involved.

Example:

As an experienced cyclist with good bike control, positioning on the road and so forth, I'm happy to provide those hesitating behind me an indication to overtake at relatively close distances, in various circumstances. E.g. like most of you, I ride a lot of narrow lanes where, to pass, a vehicle must close to within a foot or two. I'm happy to invite cars going just a little above my speed to do so when the road ahead can be seen to be clear and isn't so rough it will knock me off my line. If they themselves take the initiative and pass with care, I'm not unduly bothered.

If it's a large tractor or a milk tanker I'm very bothered and wouldn't invite them past but, rather, pull over in a gateway or similar since it would be all too easy to be sucked under, even if they pass two or more metres away ... dangling their sharps or at 45mph, on a rough road.

Is any of that unreasonable or unsafe?

Well, it might be for Auntie Doris wobbling along on the bike she only rides four times a year. So, in the final analysis, it's up to the passer rather than the passed to make the appropriate judgements of the circumstances and to pass only if it seems safe, not just because they're in a hurry to get home to wash their hair. Sometimes it'll be safe to pass at much less than 1.5 metres. Sometimes it'll need 3 metres (Mr swaying-caravan).

Another example: I often go down narrow lanes with high banks and no where to go should a threat appear in front. Often such a potential threat appears in the form of a car coming the other way. To pass each other, we must be just a foot or two - perhaps just inches - apart. Many cars that see me coming stop yet I can continue at 20mph through the small gap, quite safely. If they can steer their cars, that can be done safely when they too are still moving.

Again .... Auntie Doris. And tractors have sharp things draped on them, so one is much more wary of the close head-on pass then.

****

In short, there is no single rule involving a tape measure that can always work or be the right thing for any passing-circumstance.

Cugel

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Re: Too Close for Comfort

Postby fastpedaller » 30 Sep 2018, 11:19am

I had similar to above last year - going 15mph down a single track road the moton was clearly intent on passing, and tooted her horn as I passed a very stoney, holed, and sloping rough bit at edge. I gradually decreased my speed and stopped in the middle of the road - time to educate (hopefully). FP "afternoon madam, I thought I'd let you know how intimidating it is to get a car a few feet away when I'm riding a bike". M "you should have pulled over for me, why didn't you?" FP "I guess you mean at that last bit of rough at the side - It was too dangerous for me to do that, with all the holes, believe me I didn't want to hold you up, but I also didn't want to skid off and fall under your car" She was a bit non-plussed with this as she could probably see my logic. FP "I'm more than happy to pull in to let you pass when it is safe for me to do it, as I'd prefer you to be in front - if you left a bit more space in front of your car that will also make it easier for me to pull off the road into the side when it's safe. Thanks madam, have a nice day". She took off (not in a mad flurry either, so maybe the message got there?
If in any 'discussion' with a moton, it seems beneficial to call them SIr or Madam, as it makes them wonder who you are :D . This was explained to me by an old clubmate many years ago - he would even go so far as saying "hello Sir" whilst taking a notebook out of his pocket - that really put the wind up them! :wink: Quite a good stance methinks, and the notebook is there if you need it for their number plate details!

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Re: Too Close for Comfort

Postby thirdcrank » 30 Sep 2018, 11:47am

A lot of this is academic because no matter what's introduced, traffic policing has collapsed. A I've often posted before, even in the days when traffic enforcement was a priority, anything based on judgment was difficult to enforce because a defendant's judgment can be portrayed as better than that of some thick PC, especially on a lower burden of proof. Unless there's a crash, the closest of passes can be characterised as fine judgment. This is why we have speed limits, double white lines and all the rest of it. Unless it's black/white, there's too much waggle room. Also, since the CPS decided that crashes would not almost inevitably mean somebody was prosecuted, it's perverse not to prosecute after a crash but to do so after a near miss.

Education is surely a good thing but often the worst offenders are those who know what they should do but decide not to do so.

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Re: Too Close for Comfort

Postby PH » 30 Sep 2018, 12:10pm

thirdcrank wrote:Education is surely a good thing but often the worst offenders are those who know what they should do but decide not to do so.

This is where we differ. While there are obviously those who are never going to change their behaviour, I don't believe there is any malice in the majority of the close passes I've suffered. I base this on the decades of driving I did before taking up cycling, I had a different idea of what would be considered a safe passing distance, it didn't take much cycling experience to revise it. The closest pass I've ever had was from a driver who'd just kindly waved me out from a T junction! Either they let me out to deliberately terrify me, or they're kindness wasn't matched by their understanding, I prefer to believe the latter.

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Cugel
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Re: Too Close for Comfort

Postby Cugel » 30 Sep 2018, 12:19pm

thirdcrank wrote:A lot of this is academic because no matter what's introduced, traffic policing has collapsed. .......

Education is surely a good thing but often the worst offenders are those who know what they should do but decide not to do so.


That is true.

Also, even if there are draconian laws and good enforcement, many (and usually the most aggressive of the lot) will still offend because in committing their crime they also believe they can get away with it because they're "clever" or think they know better.

But ..... making detailed law (especially if it isn't enforced) just brings the whole idea in to disrepute, as well as confusing the dim to the extent that they follow some rule they think is right when it's an incorrect and often dangerous simplification. Many can't (or won't) do even the basics of the highway code.

Perhaps the better solution is to introduce much more (and regular) testing along with the education - testing that really is .... testing. If you fail (as many would) no license to drive until you get good enough to pass. You have to pass again every year. Driving with no license? Two years in the casualty ward as a porter, 20 hours a week and your car scrapped for bicycle metal. After all, that's what we do with aircraft pilots. (Well, not the plane-scrapping). :-)

But I'm thunking most wishfully there! No, there is no easy or effective solution. Our society has moved beyond the possibility.

Cugel

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Re: Too Close for Comfort

Postby Steady rider » 30 Sep 2018, 5:55pm

Reading some of these comments it seems little can be done. But in practice some things can be done, several countries have already passed laws, half the states in the USA have passing laws. All police vehicles could be fitted with cameras running when on petrol. Covert cameras could be used. Scaling of distance could be used to provide a measurement and perhaps passing speed. The police and CPS service could have guidelines to follow. TV adverts could show examples that would result in prosecutions or fines, after a short period of educational advice if this seemed appropriate.

In some cases, narrow country lanes for example, the combination of passing speed and clearance could be considered in the guidelines. Just because the cyclist seems experienced and a steady rider does not mean a motorist should squeeze past, rather than wait for a 'passing place'. Once they are used to squeezing past they will in many cases apply this to children or anyone on a bike. Cyclists thinking this is OK are in error.

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Re: Too Close for Comfort

Postby fastpedaller » 30 Sep 2018, 6:15pm

Steady rider wrote:Reading some of these comments it seems little can be done. But in practice some things can be done, several countries have already passed laws, half the states in the USA have passing laws. All police vehicles could be fitted with cameras running when on petrol. Covert cameras could be used. Scaling of distance could be used to provide a measurement and perhaps passing speed. The police and CPS service could have guidelines to follow. TV adverts could show examples that would result in prosecutions or fines, after a short period of educational advice if this seemed appropriate.

In some cases, narrow country lanes for example, the combination of passing speed and clearance could be considered in the guidelines. Just because the cyclist seems experienced and a steady rider does not mean a motorist should squeeze past, rather than wait for a 'passing place'. Once they are used to squeezing past they will in many cases apply this to children or anyone on a bike. Cyclists thinking this is OK are in error.


Good point (I note you are SR).... I have been known to wobble a little (knowing the moton was some way back!) in order to give the impression I might damage the moton's car - I wonder if it works?

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Re: Too Close for Comfort

Postby thirdcrank » 30 Sep 2018, 6:30pm

Steady rider wrote:Reading some of these comments it seems little can be done. But in practice some things can be done, several countries have already passed laws, half the states in the USA have passing laws. All police vehicles could be fitted with cameras running when on petrol. Covert cameras could be used. Scaling of distance could be used to provide a measurement and perhaps passing speed. The police and CPS service could have guidelines to follow. TV adverts could show examples that would result in prosecutions or fines, after a short period of educational advice if this seemed appropriate.

In some cases, narrow country lanes for example, the combination of passing speed and clearance could be considered in the guidelines. Just because the cyclist seems experienced and a steady rider does not mean a motorist should squeeze past, rather than wait for a 'passing place'. Once they are used to squeezing past they will in many cases apply this to children or anyone on a bike. Cyclists thinking this is OK are in error.



I think the bit you are missing is that this - and a whole lot more related to traffic enforcement - is not a priority. The numbers of police engaged on traffic enforcement are now only a fraction of what they used to be. The published reductions in the numbers of specialist traffic officers are bad enough but once upon a time, non-specialist uniform patrol officers spent a lot of their time dealing with road traffic. (That's the only reason I know anything about it.) All sorts is theoretically possible but unlikely in present circumstances. The mats were bought through crowd-funding and this VR stuff seems to be the same. As I've already posted, ever since it was established, the CPS has retreated from prosecuting all but the most serious crashes so why would they prosecute bad driving without a crash?