Is cycling through stationary traffic illegal?

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Mick F
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Postby Mick F » 26 Jul 2008, 11:45am

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


Sorry, I wasn't clear.

I meant that as the car was parked legally, I inferred that the cyclist was passing to the right of the car. Also I inferred that the cyclist wasn't giving enough room to parked vehicles. The cyclist would be guilty under the traffic laws.

As for a passenger opening a door towards a pavement and clouting a pedestrian, that happens frequently, and to me last week. If anyone was to be injured, it would be a case of suing the door opener through the civil courts. Certainly not a traffic offence.

Now, if we take that further, if a car was in a queue and a cyclist filtered (on either side) and someone opened a door, at a first go, the police would prosecute the driver, but it might not stick very well if the door opener was an adult passenger acting without the say-so of the driver. How could a driver stop a passenger opening a door? The passenger could only be guilty of a civil offence. (and being stupid!)
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Postby kwackers » 26 Jul 2008, 12:19pm

Mick F wrote:Now, if we take that further, if a car was in a queue and a cyclist filtered (on either side) and someone opened a door, at a first go, the police would prosecute the driver, but it might not stick very well if the door opener was an adult passenger acting without the say-so of the driver. How could a driver stop a passenger opening a door? The passenger could only be guilty of a civil offence. (and being stupid!)


The only example of this I've come across is a friend of mine was filtering along the middle of two lanes of traffic (on a motorcycle) and the passenger of a vehicle in the left lane opened their door on him causing a minor bump. In this case the drivers insurance paid out - however it was a taxi and so it may well be that they are responsible for their passengers...

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Postby Pete Owens » 26 Jul 2008, 1:44pm

patricktaylor wrote:
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


Whether you are filtering to the left or the right it is a very bad idea to stop at the side. You should either filter in to the queue one or two cars back, or stop in front of the queue.


(and there is a right turn), they will assume you're turning right.



Just as when there is a left turn they will assume you are turning left (if they notice you at all). The big difference is that as soon as the lights go green left turning drivers do not expect any conflicting vehicle movements so will move off promptly without checking. If they are turning right they will normally have to wait for a gap in oncoming traffic so this will give you more warning.

In most cases there will be a dedicated RH queue at the lights. At this point it is better to filter between the lanes - that way you come out at the junction between diverging streams of traffic, rather than across the path of left turning vehicles.


When the lights turn green and everyone accelerates away, how can a slower cyclist 'filter' back over to the left?


As the traffic starts to move the gaps between the grow. It is just a matter of slipping into a gap as the traffic reaches your speed. You need filter back into the traffic stream whichever side you have been passing, and it is easier from the right due to drivers reluctance to undertake.

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 -


You do need to plan ahead, see where a gap is likely to develop, adjust your speed and negotiate back into the traffic stream - just as you do if you are filtering on the left.

and then slide over left so they can overtake you.


You should adopt whatever road position is safe for the circumstances. If they want to overtake then it is up to them to move to the right and go round you - just the same as when you overtook them, except they will need more space to do this safely at the higher speeds.

This seems pretty risky, and almost impossible if there are several cyclists.


If you don't think you are capable of filtering back in then do not attempt to filter on either side; join the queue. Filtering is not for novices.

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.


Indeed, I must have been jumping ahead of myself. I should have made it clear that you should only attempt to overtake vehicles moving slower than yourself.

Whichever vehicle is doing the overtaking, should be to the right.

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Postby Phil_Lee » 26 Jul 2008, 5:49pm

Mick F wrote:
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.


The law applies to everyone using the roads, not just drivers - it doesn't need to say it applies to passengers, as it doesn't refer to driving behaviour.

There is no offence of passing within range of extending car parts, so the cyclist is not guilty of anything.

If the C&U regulations can't be applied, common assault (with a car door) or obstructing the highway may be appropriate.

Interestingly, it seems that the C&U offence is arrestable without warrant.
ISTR that means that the offender can be arrested by anyone (which may mean that you have the right to enter the vehicle to remove and detain them, by force if necessary, if they attempt to abscond).

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Postby patricktaylor » 26 Jul 2008, 7:19pm

Pete Owens wrote:... or stop in front of the queue.

That would mean going through the lights on red.

It is just a matter of slipping into a gap as the traffic reaches your speed. You do need to plan ahead, see where a gap is likely to develop, adjust your speed and negotiate back into the traffic stream.

Often tricky, looking backwards, requiring a high degree of skill to survive this 100% of the time, especially as you get older.

Whichever vehicle is doing the overtaking, should be to the right.

I agree, but filtering through stationary traffic is not the same as overtaking moving traffic. Whether you choose to pass the queue on the left (slowly), or right (a bit less slowly), or stay in the queue, depends on the circumstances and where you expect to find yourself (and your options) once the traffic begins to move again. And no-one here has shown that carefully moving forwards if there is a reasonable gap between the queue and the kerb is illegal.

I find when I'm stopped on the inside of a static queue and it begins to move again, drivers allow me space for the reason you gave:

If they want to overtake then it is up to them to move to the right and go round you.


In this situation, when coming up to the lights (if there is a left turn and I'm going straight on), I often give a hand signal similar to a Fascist salute.

I do appreciate your analysis.

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Mick F
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Postby Mick F » 26 Jul 2008, 8:38pm

Phil_Lee wrote: .... common assault (with a car door) or obstructing the highway may be appropriate.


Sounds good to me!
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Re: Is cycling through stationary traffic illegal?

Postby thirdcrank » 26 Jul 2008, 9:50pm

max2008 wrote:Does anyone know the law on this? Is it illegal for a cyclist to continue inbetween stationary traffic so as to arrive at the pole position in the lights?


I haven't followed this thread as closely as I usually do so this may already have been covered:

The basic position is the 'Rule of the Road' which is that the drivers of vehicles (which includes cyclists) pass oncoming traffic on the left (or nearside) and overtake on the right (or offside). This has been modified by various bits and pieces.

The question of whether something is 'illegal' or more important, if anything is likely to follow from doing it, depends on whether the criminal law or civil law is involved.

Criminal law is about being prosecuted and punished by fine etc., on conviction. In the present day, the chances of a cyclist being prosecuted for filtering through traffic are virtually nil. There is no specific offence so it would have to be 'cycling without due care and attention' or something similar.

The civil law is much more likely to be involved, most likely if there were to be a personal injury claim following an accident. Here things are never cut-and-dried. Most cases never get near the courts. They are settled by negotiations which can drag on interminably and payouts can be reduced by 'contributory negligence.'

As clear as mud, which is why our learned friends do so well out of this sort of thing.

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Postby JohnL » 27 Jul 2008, 5:21pm

Mick F wrote:
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.


Eh?

Where does it say it's only the driver? I fail to see your logic I'm afraid!

In you're scenario the passenger would be guilty of the offence I outlined. the cyclist might not have been very wise, but they were not guilty of any offence.

Why wouldn't the passenger be guilty of the offence???? The charge wording says nothing about being the driver of the vehicle.

John

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Mick F
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Postby Mick F » 27 Jul 2008, 5:30pm

Pedestrians cannot be guilty of a traffic offence. A passenger in a motor vehicle is nothing more than a private person/pedestrian. ie he has nothing to do with traffic.

I'm not saying that the passenger isn't guilty of something, just nothing to do with traffic law specifically. A vehicle passenger isn't covered by the HC or the RTA with respect to opening doors. The cyclist, however, could be guilty within the RTA of "cycling without due care and attention". (if such a charge exists)

The passenger would have to be taken to court for another reason other than the RTA.
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Postby JohnL » 27 Jul 2008, 6:01pm

Mick F wrote:Pedestrians cannot be guilty of a traffic offence. A passenger in a motor vehicle is nothing more than a private person/pedestrian. ie he has nothing to do with traffic.

I'm not saying that the passenger isn't guilty of something, just nothing to do with traffic law specifically. A vehicle passenger isn't covered by the HC or the RTA with respect to opening doors.

The passenger would have to be taken to court for another reason.


Why?? They can be covered. There is nothing in the legislation that says they must be the driver (unless you can quote otherwise??)

The 'points to prove are':

Points To Prove
date and location
opened vehicle door on a road
so as to injure/endanger a person


Compare this to a driver one: Vehicle - fail to stop engine when stationary
Offence Wording
On **(..SPECIFY DATE..) at **(..SPECIFY TOWNSHIP..) drove a vehicle, namely **(..SPECIFY VEHICLE MAKE AND INDEX NUMBER..), on a road, namely **(..SPECIFY ROAD AND LOCATION..), and when the vehicle was stationary failed to stop the action of machinery attached to or forming part of the vehicle so far as may have been necessary for the prevention of noise or of exhaust emissions

Points to prove:
date and location
drove a vehicle on a road
when the vehicle was stationary
failed to stop the action of machinery
attached to/forming part of the vehicle
so far as may be necessary for the prevention of noise/exhaust emissions


By way of another example it is also possible to be guilty of traffic offences if you 'cause or permit' another to do something (including opening a door in a dangerous manner). This also includes things like permitting another to drive a vehicle without the driver having full control. The person permitting the other to drive is not going to be the driver by definition.

Edited to add: And what about seat belts? A passenger of a car can be guilty of not wearing a seatbelt. That's the Road Traffic Act...

Tell you what. I have a pet traffic bobby at work (don't ask....) I will probably see him some time next week, and I'll find out for us all!!

John
PS. Incidently this is purely a theoretical legal argument and has nothing to do with how sensible or otherwise passing too close to cars (on either side) is!!!

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Mick F
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Postby Mick F » 27 Jul 2008, 7:50pm

JohnL wrote:[ Incidently this is purely a theoretical legal argument and has nothing to do with how sensible or otherwise passing too close to cars (on either side) is!!!


Agree!


I find it hard to believe that a passenger in a vehicle can be guilty of anything under the RTA.

(You make a good point about the seatbelt law for passengers though.)
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Mick F
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Postby Mick F » 27 Jul 2008, 8:21pm

How about the Highways Act 1980.
"a pedestrian must not wilfully obstruct the free passage along a highway."

or,

Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986
"Drivers of motor vehicles must not open any door of your vehicle so as to cause injury or danger to anyone."
Mick F. Cornwall

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Postby thirdcrank » 27 Jul 2008, 10:23pm

I don't have the immediate access to law books I once had but I always thought that the driver committed an offence if he permitted passengers to open doors carelessly.

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Mick F
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Postby Mick F » 27 Jul 2008, 10:57pm

I don't disagree with that TC, in fact it's the way I understand it.

But what I ask is, if the driver isn't in the vehicle, and a rear passenger opens a door and hurts a cyclist, is that passenger guilty of an offence?

If so, under what law?
Mick F. Cornwall

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Postby JohnL » 28 Jul 2008, 7:40am

thirdcrank wrote:I don't have the immediate access to law books I once had but I always thought that the driver committed an offence if he permitted passengers to open doors carelessly.


The driver could also commit an offence: Permit opening of vehicle door so as to injure / endanger a person But this is a different offence to the person opening the door (although the same section)....

Offence Wording
On **(..SPECIFY DATE..) at **(..SPECIFY TOWNSHIP..) permitted **(..SPECIFY PERSON..) to open 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 H3052.
(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 Freda Bloggs , who was riding a bicycle alongside the defendant's car."
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.

Time limit for prosecutions:
6 months
Fine Indicator
Yes
Disqualification Class
discretionary disqualification not endorsable
Complex Penalty Details
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 Notice Issued by Police
No
Fixed Penalty Notice Issued by Local Authorities
No
Fixed Penalty Notice Issued by Others
No
Points To Prove
date and location
permit
the opening of
a vehicle door
on a road
so as to injure/endanger a person


Sounds like a tricky one to prove. Maybe it could be used in the case of kids opening the door. You can also be done for 'causing someone to open the door'. Not sure in what circumstances that could work. Maybe shouting 'quick the car is on fire, get out', as a joke to someone in the car??

Mick,
The Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) regs. are where the offences are that I'm looking at. Section 105 says:
105. No person shall open, or cause or permit to be opened, any door of a vehicle on a road so as to injure or endanger any person .


No mention of a driver. Again this is from PNLD and it's not 100% clear if this is the actual wording. I think it is, but I'm struggling to find an online version of the complete regs. It's not on the Statute Law database for some reason.

John