Is cycling through stationary traffic illegal?

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tb
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Postby tb » 24 Jul 2008, 4:28pm

About ten years ago I had a bad fall after a child opened a rear door as I was undertaking at speed and I hit the deck hard and snapped the seatpost with my leg !
Another time a cabbie turned left on me without indicating and again I was off my bike. ( & he/she did'nt stop! )

Nowadays I am very cautious when undertaking but if the traffic is stationary or slow moving then I will always overtake, it may appear more dangerous but I'm convinced it's much safer.

kwackers
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Postby kwackers » 24 Jul 2008, 4:29pm

Mick F wrote:Going back to my point about passengers opening doors .....

The driver is in charge of his vehicle. He must obey the law.
A passenger can open a door, and may not have read the HC, let alone know, or pay any attention to any vehicle laws. The law can only apply the the driver.

If it applied to the passenger, what law could the passenger have broken? You can't endorse a licence of a passenger if he hasn't got one. If he wasn't driving, he can't be guilty of a traffic offence.


I think you'll find the driver is responsible for his passengers.

If you were coming up to some traffic lights in the left hand lane, and the passenger of a car in the right hand lane opened their door. I don't think you'd have any problems claiming from the guys insurance.
However that's a civil liability. In the case of a criminal case, i.e. you were killed, then the passenger would be responsible.

Obviously it's all a lot greyer when filtering is involved. I do know the 'free' legal people aren't usually interested in representing people injured whilst filtering. Say's a lot I think...

stoobs
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Postby stoobs » 24 Jul 2008, 4:44pm

Is it just the driver?

FWIW, I seem to remember (which makes it HIGHLY qualified) that NO door should be opened in a dangerous manner - for example even when parked, there is some kind of duty of care not to throw your door open into passing pedestrians (although God knows no-one seems to care).

Also, rule 151 of the Highway code, while it may be outweighed by other rules, does have some bearing, no?

In this case, it seems that they were aware, and then threw the door open - dodgy legal ground, no?

Actually, I'm not sure whether 151 is just for satnav, or more generally on second edit reflection :wink:

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Mick F
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Postby Mick F » 24 Jul 2008, 8:13pm

My point is that a passenger cannot be prosecuted under traffic law for opening a door.

I suppose the driver could be prosecuted if he allowed the passenger to open the door. But how could a driver be really in charge of the actions of another adult?

The seatbelt law states that a person under 14 is required to wear a seatbelt and that the driver is responsible for the child wearing it. Over 14, it's the responsibility of the passenger and not the responsibility of the driver.

Ditto doors?
Mick F. Cornwall

Biscuit
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Postby Biscuit » 24 Jul 2008, 10:06pm

FWIW avoid 'undertaking' legal or otherwise, move htro' traffic so that you can avoid 'idots' doing things to prove point (be aware at all times - a sort of hypervigilance). The down side to hypervigilance is that you will die from a 'stroke' or heart attack rather than a door injury but hey ho!

Seriously, avoid undertaking if at all poss' as its more likely that a passenger will be exiting the vehicle in unpredictable or point proving fashion.

Pass on the right if safe and enough room, filter in at the appropriate time if two lanes then down the middle but with both hands covering the brakes..........

Just my 3 Euros worth.

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patricktaylor
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Postby patricktaylor » 24 Jul 2008, 11:07pm

Cycling on the outside of a long line of stationary traffic waiting at the lights is living dangerously. If the lights turn green before you get there and you're going straight on, then what? Motorists don't know this is technically correct. You risk being stranded in the middle of the road.

I cautiously try to make my way through between the queue and the kerb, otherwise just stop and wait. In my experience, this is normal behaviour.

JohnL
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Postby JohnL » 25 Jul 2008, 10:47am

OK, here we go.

Taken directly from PNLD (Police national legal database)

Offence Wording:
On **(..SPECIFY DATE..) at **(..SPECIFY TOWNSHIP..) opened a door of a vehicle, namely **(..SPECIFY VEHICLE MAKE AND INDEX NUMBER..), on a road, namely **(..SPECIFY ROAD AND LOCATION..), so as to injure or endanger a person.

Legislation
Contrary to regulation 105 of the Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986, section 42 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 and Schedule 2 to the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988.
Notes
(i) Statement of Facts procedure applies - see end of document for wording.
(ii) See also offence wordings: H2533 and H2534.
(iii) In the Statement of Facts detail may be given as to the circumstances in which the danger arose or the injury was caused, e.g. "Mrs Ann Smith, who was riding a bicycle alongside the defendant's car."
(iv) Fixed penalty scheme may be applied

Powers Of Arrest
Arrest without warrant
Mode Of Trial
SUMMARY MINOR TRAFFIC
Time Limit For Prosecutions 6 months
Penalty Field
A fine not exceeding level four on the standard scale if in respect of goods vehicle or vehicle adapted to carry more than eight passengers.

A fine not exceeding level three on the standard scale in any other case.

Fixed penalty ticket - thirty pounds.

Time limit for prosecutions:
6 months


So it's not just the driver. Although there may be other offences the driver commits if they allow it to happen. You don't get points on your licence, but there is a fine. Level four could be quite steep. I'm not sure what it is though! Level 5 is £5000 to give an idea, although the reality is it'll probably be a £30 ticket.

Interesting that the example given is for a cyclist...

John

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Re: Is cycling through stationary traffic illegal?

Postby rower40 » 25 Jul 2008, 8:51pm

[Tongue-Firmly-In-Cheek nitpicking mode...]
max2008 wrote:I asked the passenger if they looked and they said they had, and that I was miles away.

Were they judging your mental state rather than your physical presence?
I've had days like that - e.g. when riding back after the Friday Night Ride to the Coast.
[/Tongue-Firmly-In-Cheek nitpicking mode...]

Glad to know you're all right.
"Little Green Men Are Everywhere... ...But Mostly On Traffic Lights."

Pete Owens
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Postby Pete Owens » 25 Jul 2008, 9:44pm

Whetever the legalities are, it is almost always safer to overtake on the right. You need to ride according to how other road users actually behave, rather than how they should behave.

1. that is how the normal rules of the road work and where drivers expect overtaking traffic to come from. It is common for drivers to turn left or move over to the kerb without looking or signalling.

2. There is usually more space to the right or between queues than there is in the gutter.

3. You avoid the risk of getting left hooked if the lights change to green just as you approach the junction (one of the most significant causes of cycle casualties). If you are to the right, there will normally be a filter lane for right hand turners to wait - thus you will be between diverging streams of traffic, rather than heading across the path of other vehicles.

4. When the traffic starts to move it is much more straightforward to merge into the traffic flow. Drivers are reluctant to overtake on the left and will expect you to move to the left. If you have been undertaking, you will need to merge to the right, which drivers are less likely to expect.

5. Blind spots are worst to the left of vehicles.

6. There is much less likelihood of getting doored. It is common for drivers to let a passenger out while stopped in a queue. The passenger does not have mirrors and is under pressure of time to avoid holding up the traffic.

7. It is much easier to notice and thus avoid pedestrians crossing the road.

There are some circumstances where undertaking can be done reasonably safely, so long as you take care and are aware of the risks. If for example there is no left turn at the junction, or you can be certain that the lights will not change before you get to the front of the queue. And whatever the circumstances, you should never attempt to undertake a bus or truck.

leslie

Postby leslie » 25 Jul 2008, 11:12pm

hi new to this board but would like to say when cycling from wickfod to canvy island maly on 70 mph roads coming upto theroundabouts have found it best to be posative in whear you ride i know it can be scarry in traffic try not to show it and most drivers will give you room to ride past at least with me

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Domestique
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Postby Domestique » 26 Jul 2008, 8:30am

I was hospitalised about 15 years ago doing the same thing when a car turned right accross the stationary traffic taking me out in the process. The police visited me, told me I was in the wrong for undertaking and not to waste my time trying to claim, they full supported the car driver. The BCF solicitor saw it differently and some 3 years later I was compensated.
You have nothing to lose and all to gain contacting the ctc legal people.
As a car driver, I have to say nothing makes my micturate boil more than undertaking, but on a bike I am not sure what the legal answer is.

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patricktaylor
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Postby patricktaylor » 26 Jul 2008, 8:42am

Pete Owens wrote:... it is almost always safer to overtake on the right. You need to ride according to how other road users actually behave, rather than how they should behave.


And the way they behave is that if you're stopped on the offside of a queue at the lights (and there is a right turn), they will assume you're turning right. When the lights turn green and everyone accelerates away, how can a slower cyclist 'filter' back over to the left? The only way I can think of is to grab the primary position before the first car to your left has a chance to get past on your inside - not easy - and then slide over left so they can overtake you. This seems pretty risky, and almost impossible if there are several cyclists.

Whilst it may be true that it is almost always safer to overtake on the right, you can only overtake by going faster. Once the traffic has got moving, a cyclist will usually be slower.

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Mick F
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Postby Mick F » 26 Jul 2008, 8:48am

JohnL wrote:So it's not just the driver.


Where does it say that it applies to passengers opening doors?
It doesn't. It can only be applied to the driver of the vehicle.


Another scenario:
Car parked (legally) with driver away in a shop nearby. Rear passenger opens door and clouts a passing cyclist, damaging bike and also car.

Who's fault?
What charges?

I reckon it was the cyclist's fault, and he could be charged. Not the passenger.
Mick F. Cornwall

kwackers
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Postby kwackers » 26 Jul 2008, 9:12am

Mick F wrote:Where does it say that it applies to passengers opening doors?
It doesn't. It can only be applied to the driver of the vehicle.


Another scenario:
Car parked (legally) with driver away in a shop nearby. Rear passenger opens door and clouts a passing cyclist, damaging bike and also car.

Who's fault?
What charges?

I reckon it was the cyclist's fault, and he could be charged. Not the passenger.


Undertaking a parked car is not usually the easiest of tasks - unless they seriously don't know where the kerb is.

Suppose the passenger opens the door onto the pavement hitting a small child? Who pays then? I say duty of care is with the person opening the door.

Filtering up the left in traffic is a different scenario, I suspect it would be difficult to prove fault (and as I said previously, claims people generally shy away from filtering cases).

With regards to overtaking on the right - I have far more problems with this than filtering up the left due to people 'bolting' for lights or a right turn further up the road. They'll violently swing out into an oncoming lane without looking so they can boot it and turn right.
Easier to prove fault in these instances, but being right isn't of much comfort when you're lying in the road.

Sometimes even when fault is with the other driver there are steps you could have taken to reduce the chance or severity of an accident (actually I'd stick my neck out here and say 'most times').

byegad
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Postby byegad » 26 Jul 2008, 10:13am

I've been watching this thread with great interest as I thought I knew the answer.
IIRC
Back in 1962 when I took my cycling proficiency training we were told we could filter on either side BUT to do so at walking pace in case someone opened a door on you.

In 1969 when taking the RAC/ACU motorcycle traning scheme we were advised that we should ONLY filter LIKE A PEDAL CYCLE with great care and ONLY IF we were turning Left/Right as applicable at the junction we were filtering up to. Our instructor went on to say it was best to never filter a la Pedal Cycle because of the risk of door openers.

Again in 1969 when taking car instruction for my test, filtering cyclists were mentioned and the need to be aware of them and check for them.

Now a lot of water has pased under the bridge and I have bought and studied each new Highway Code as it was released.

My latest states HC in Rule 57 mentions not riding up the inside of vehicles signalling left for a junction so by implication it is OK if they are not signalling left. (Given the number of people who never signal these days this should really mean never go up the inside because all vehicles could well be turning left without a signal)

As I now only ride a recumbent trike filtering is a thing of the past for me but when I was commuting on two wheels I took care not to place myself in danger by filtering at no more than walking pace.