why is this even up for debate?

flecc

Member
Oct 25, 2006
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They don't have to overtake on narrow roads and lanes, do they?

I don't think it's anti-social to "Festoon" my bike with cameras to enable me to hold drivers to account for endangering my life by passing too close. If the Police decide to prosecute as a result, it will be for sound reasons. It's anti-social endangering cyclist lives, who are much more likely to be seriously injured in a collision with a motor vehicle.

Not many people get killed colliding with another person on the pavement.
Fine, then lets continue with just over a 100 cyclists killed every year and the same large numbers seriously injured every year. The fact that these remain unchanged year after year is proof enough that the measures I listed don't work.

Doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting different results is the definition of madness. Punishment doesn't work as any criminologist knows and the various crime figures show only too clearly.

We know what makes cycling safer, we've proved it in London with big reductions in deaths and injuries, despite the the largest expansion in cycling in the country through three decades.

None of that was achieved by punishment, these in time order are what made the difference:

Signed cycling routes and free London wide maps of these.

A huge Think Bike campaign throughout London and the Home Counties, including whole page adverts in the newspapers here and in London's TV ads.

Big increases in cycling, created by need, leading to ever increasing number of bikes on the road.

Improvements in London heavy vehicle signage and mirrors, plus truck driver and cyclists joint training.

Periods of intensive Police advisory action of both cyclists and drivers.

Continuously improving cycling facilities with better lane marking and in some places segregation.

We all just get on better together than we did some four decades ago, when yelling at each other was quite common. And most importantly, far less of any of us get hurt.
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AndyBike

Esteemed Pedelecer
Nov 8, 2020
417
195
Keep up Andy, #3 onwards also.
Ahh. 2 topics in the one thread. Got it.

I think I should address that one as well.
Let's look at this example of another motorist fined for overtaking a cyclist too close. In my view not too close - perfectly safe
I disagree, basically because instead of judging the side of the car in relation to the bike, take a look down at the shadows of the bike and vehicle as they pass. We are talking 12"
We cannot see the bike, but we can see its shadow. And at the point they pass, the shadows are level so we see the true distance between them. And it aint much.
It is certainly within the 1.5m legal requirement.

Of course those of us who ride in traffic, and have done so on the type of out in the country A class where no cameras are, have had vehicles pass pretty close at high speed, and are point of fact hardened to the closeness of other vehicles.
But we shouldn't readily dismiss a miss as being a positive thing in the relation of it missed us, ergo its a safe pass.

Nobody gets an 1800 quid fine straight off the bat for a closs pass. It is careless driving charge, and i suspect the driver decided not to pay the easy fine, take it on the chin, agree with the police and address his driving especialy in relation to passing cyclists and decided to drag it out adamantly denying he was at fault, and it is because of all that that the fine escalated
 

Nealh

Esteemed Pedelecer
Aug 7, 2014
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A lot of cars now have camera's as do motorcycles so why not the cyclist, I beleive they are a safety deterrent if noticed.
However the cases make headlines and it should make drivers sit up and take notice, yes it is hard if one is prosecuted to be at fault and is criminilised for a close pass.
As said some of these cars are monsters now and just their presence is intimidating, most cars are too wide for our narrow roads and lanes.
 

Benjahmin

Esteemed Pedelecer
Nov 10, 2014
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Flecc, I agree with the spirit of what you say, with one caveat.
When sitting/driving in a car we are cocooned in a highly protected cage repleat with impact cushioning technology. This seems to lead to a certain feeling of false invulnerability which affects behaviour. Combine this with cars, generally, being wider and heavier and the disconnect is larger.
I drive and cycle mostly single track lanes. I drive a Boxer van (which is wider than most, which I am fully aware of) and I am increasingly witnessing people who seem to not to be able to judge/handle the width of their car (Discoveries, Suv's etc). They force their way through with a blank stare and barely lifting off the throttle, hoping for the best.
The other thing that seems to be getting worse is the tendancy to cut right turns and corners. So the vehicle coming the other way is on the wrong side of the road.
When this happens when out on my bike it's very disconcerting to say the least.
Perhaps lerner drivers should have their awareness raised by having cycling as part of their course. I would also include a days van driving so they can be aware of vulnerabilities and blind spots.
 

Nealh

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With latter of the second topic, I wonder if in his arrogance the guy will contest his prosecution and appeal ?
If so he may be digging him self an even bigger hole to get out of.
 

Nealh

Esteemed Pedelecer
Aug 7, 2014
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Ben you have pointed out as I often see as well, road craft/road postioning in the large is very poor. A lot of drivers forget they are on public roads and not a race track, it isn't about taking the shortest route to shave 2 thous or a lap time.

I encountered a cyclist at Wooton A25 last weekend heading towards Dorkign, whilst at work me in 3.5t box van.
Downhill winding road with double Whites so I stay some way back not crowding him at a leisurely 18/20mph yet behind a queue of cars and I can one or two impatently crossing the White lines to see whta the issue is, yet they have no idea whether a vehicle coming up around the next bend.
Impatience and the need to over take for a few seconds advantage, what's the point.
 
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flecc

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Oct 25, 2006
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It is certainly within the 1.5m legal requirement.
There is no such requirement in law.

You've done exactly what the authorities are guilty of doing, taken something advised as desirable and translated it into a legal offence of carelessness with a disproportional penalty.

That is fundamentally wrong.
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StuartsProjects

Esteemed Pedelecer
May 9, 2021
410
248
It is certainly within the 1.5m legal requirement.
1.5m is guidance according to the highway code;

"As a guide:
  • leave at least 1.5 metres when overtaking cyclists at speeds of up to 30mph, and give them more space when overtaking at higher speeds"
Not seen any evidence that the driver was actually fined for being within the 1.5m guideline, but most people would probably agree that given the speed of the driver, he should have left more room. Seems the courts agreed and considered it dangerous driving, presumably they are entitled to do that.
 

flecc

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Oct 25, 2006
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1.5m is guidance according to the highway code;

"As a guide:
  • leave at least 1.5 metres when overtaking cyclists at speeds of up to 30mph, and give them more space when overtaking at higher speeds"
Not seen any evidence that the driver was actually fined for being within the 1.5m guideline, but most people would probably agree that given the speed of the driver, he should have left more room. Seems the courts agreed and considered it dangerous driving, presumably they are entitled to do that.
Lets keep it accurate, the prosecutions and convictions have been for careless driving/driving without due care and attention, not dangerous driving.

So still not dangerous. and since neither the police nor the courts have acted in this way until now, presumably they didn't even view it as careless previously.

In other words, they have been politically motivated to do so by a government who cannot be bothered to put in place real pedestrian and cycling safety measures.

So instead they add some words to the highway code, cheap and easy to do.
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I893469365902345609348566

Esteemed Pedelecer
Oct 20, 2021
257
74
We need Dutch style roads but wider in the UK! That won't happen without intense grassroots pressure sustained over a long period of time. One way to achieve intense pressure is by using existing laws and rules. Very few cyclists use cameras at present, but if we all overwhelmed the justice system for long enough, this will force whatever government is in power to pass or repeal laws. They won't repeal laws which protect vulnerable cyslists on the road. The prosecution of many tens of thousands dangerous drivers for years will exert that pressure, stop them driving or change their behaviour for the better. Punishment does work. A disproportionate penatly is death, anything short of that I'm all for!

Massive infrastructure projects such as widening all roads in the UK offers the opportunity to rebuild our manufacturing base for the future, as well as digging us out of the coming depression. Ultimately, we'll all be better off.
 

AndyBike

Esteemed Pedelecer
Nov 8, 2020
417
195
I think you believe the word 'Guide' is not something legally enforceable. It certainly appears to be and the traffic laws of the UK are based upon guidance contained within the highway code.
ALL traffic laws are based upon guidance contained within the highway code. What you feel it should be singled out to say THIS IS THE LAW, where the law is currently prosecuting drivers who break this guidance.
Therefore it might not say 'This is the law' specifically, but in practice it appears to be the case.
 

flecc

Member
Oct 25, 2006
50,674
28,507
The prosecution of many tens of thousands dangerous drivers for years will exert that pressure, stop them driving or change their behaviour for the better.
It wouldn't. The sheer strength of the reaction would simply paralyse the country. It's not possible to act in that way against three quarters of the electorate old enough to drive. Especially when it's only to benefit the at most 3% who regularly cycle.

Punishment does work.
It never has and never will. Unless the target is to make matters worse.

Massive infrastructure projects such as widening all roads in the UK offers the opportunity to rebuild our manufacturing base for the future, as well as digging us out of the coming depression. Ultimately, we'll all be better off.
Sounds wonderful, this is what it entails:

Demolition of nearly half of all our housing stock.

Demolition of nearly half of all our local shopping centres.

The loss of a large proportion of all other commercial sites.

A huge reduction of our precious countryside.

Think outside the box. Wouldn't it be much better if we didn't waste so much of our lives travelling or carting goods on roads?
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Sep 13, 2020
93
52
Flecc, I agree with the spirit of what you say, with one caveat.
When sitting/driving in a car we are cocooned in a highly protected cage repleat with impact cushioning technology. This seems to lead to a certain feeling of false invulnerability which affects behaviour. Combine this with cars, generally, being wider and heavier and the disconnect is larger.
I drive and cycle mostly single track lanes. I drive a Boxer van (which is wider than most, which I am fully aware of) and I am increasingly witnessing people who seem to not to be able to judge/handle the width of their car (Discoveries, Suv's etc). They force their way through with a blank stare and barely lifting off the throttle, hoping for the best.
The other thing that seems to be getting worse is the tendancy to cut right turns and corners. So the vehicle coming the other way is on the wrong side of the road.
When this happens when out on my bike it's very disconcerting to say the least.
Perhaps lerner drivers should have their awareness raised by having cycling as part of their course. I would also include a days van driving so they can be aware of vulnerabilities and blind spots.
I can't disagree with the bit I've emboldened.

Something else that's ruddy dangerous - infinitely more so than the so called "close pass" of the Welsh guy, where the cyclist was never in the slightest danger - and that is the "helpful driver". This has now happened to me on more than one occasion over the last year or so. I'm waiting to turn right at a busy T junction. A motorist, centre road, is also waiting to turn right into the road I want to leave, and beckons me to make my move, completely disregarding the fact there is an ongoing stream of traffic continuing down the road, to his/her left. Nearly got cleaned up first time. Never fallen for it since. I now wait for a gap in the traffic.
 

flecc

Member
Oct 25, 2006
50,674
28,507
I think you believe the word 'Guide' is not something legally enforceable. It certainly appears to be and the traffic laws of the UK are based upon guidance contained within the highway code.
ALL traffic laws are based upon guidance contained within the highway code. What you feel it should be singled out to say THIS IS THE LAW, where the law is currently prosecuting drivers who break this guidance.
Therefore it might not say 'This is the law' specifically, but in practice it appears to be the case.
Almost entirely untrue.

We've had numerous traffic laws since 1835, but the first ever Highway Code wasn't published until almost a century later, in April 1931.

Furthermore, much of our modern vehicle law since 1972 followed EU law as part of harmonisation to enable borderless travel.

Our traffic laws are not based on the Highway Code and never have been. Even now this misuse of the highway code is not law or being treated as such, since no-one is being prosecuted over the 1.5 metre measure not being observed, there being no measured evidence as there is with speed offences. Instead the underhand method of assessing safety is being used, with the inevitable result of huge inconsistencies.
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sjpt

Esteemed Pedelecer
Jun 8, 2018
3,063
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taken something advised as desirable and translated it into a legal offence of carelessness with a disproportional penalty.
As others have already pointed out: the penalty for the offence was that the driver should go on an awareness course; that seems completely proportionate. The other cumulative penalties were for failing to abide to the previous ones.
 

flecc

Member
Oct 25, 2006
50,674
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As others have already pointed out: the penalty for the offence was that the driver should go on an awareness course; that seems completely proportionate. The other cumulative penalties were for failing to abide to the previous ones.
Which is still wrong, since the accumulation was so disproportionate to the original offence.

What next, life imprisonment for refusing to pay a parking fine?

We saw the same idiocy from the moronic Matt Hancock with the Covid fines. First £100 which didn't work, so he upped it to £1000. That didn't work either, so he upped it to £10,000.

Most of those have never been paid and never will be, they were clearly illegal penalties anyway. We even saw Greater Manchester Police make up their own law by arbitarily reducing one of the £10,000 fines to £400, without any authority to do so.

That's how this sort of silliness will always end up, illegal behaviour on the part of all concerned, government, ministers, courts and police.

I just wish one of these drivers unfairly and disproportionally penalised had the guts to take the issue the whole way to ultimately expose the fundamental illegalities.
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AndyBike

Esteemed Pedelecer
Nov 8, 2020
417
195
Almost entirely untrue.
"Is the Highway Code actually law? No, taken alone the Highway Code is not the law. But many of its instructions are backed up by law and so have legal muscle behind them. Those points supported by the law are clearly identified in the document by wording like 'MUST', 'MUST NOT', rather than 'should' or 'should not'. "
Overtaking bicycles-
" The Highway Code now includes updated guidance on safe passing distances and speeds for people driving or riding motorcycles. The updated code says they must leave at least 1.5m when overtaking cyclists at speeds up to 30mph, “giving them more space” when overtaking at higher speeds."

I should think the inclusion of the word MUST, shows that this action is backed by law, and that drivers must take such actions or fall foul and end up in court otherwise.
I also think that if it wasnt actually legal, then anyone up in court a good lawyer would have argued this point and got them off the charge. The recent fines show this not to be the case.
We've had numerous traffic laws since 1835, but the first ever Highway Code wasn't published until almost a century later, in April 1931
Yes yes. We're now at the amended rules, as this is the 21st century, not the 19th.
Do try to keep up chap and keep abreast of changes ;)

Motorized vehicles no longer require a gentleman carrying a red flag to walk in front of it alerting the general public to its presence.
 
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flecc

Member
Oct 25, 2006
50,674
28,507
"Is the Highway Code actually law? No, taken alone the Highway Code is not the law. But many of its instructions are backed up by law and so have legal muscle behind them. Those points supported by the law are clearly identified in the document by wording like 'MUST', 'MUST NOT', rather than 'should' or 'should not'. "
Overtaking bicycles-
" The Highway Code now includes updated guidance on safe passing distances and speeds for people driving or riding motorcycles. The updated code says they must leave at least 1.5m when overtaking cyclists at speeds up to 30mph, “giving them more space” when overtaking at higher speeds."

I should think the inclusion of the word MUST, shows that this action is backed by law, and that drivers must take such actions or fall foul and end up in court otherwise.
I also think that if it wasnt actually legal, then anyone up in court a good lawyer would have argued this point and got them off the charge. The recent fines show this not to be the case.

Yes yes. We're now at the amended rules, as this is the 21st century, not the 19th.
Do try to keep up chap and keep abreast of changes ;)

Motorized vehicles no longer require a gentleman carrying a red flag to walk in front of it alerting the general public to its presence.
All you've done with circular argument is prove the code is not law, only being wrongly being treated as law, the very point I was making.

Moving on, I quote:

must leave at least 1.5m when overtaking cyclists at speeds up to 30mph,

What a nonsense that is when (a) it often isn't possible so the "must" is negated, and (b) proportionally far more bicycles are overtaken in London every weekday than anywhere else in the country, yet virtually none get 1.5 metres of space allowed. More like 1.5 feet if they are lucky.

And as for a good lawyer getting them off, I'm not aware any had a good lawyer and i'm not arguing just the nitty gritty of the law on careless driving. I'm arguing about the abuse of wholly excessive and unfair penalties.

National governments abuse, so for that reason we have supranational laws to protect us as individuals. Both of our supranational laws, the Human Rights Law and the Geneva Convention forbid cruel and unusual punishment. They've often been used to good effect to stop such excesses as accumulating penalties of thousands of pounds for what was an alleged offence not even originally carrying a punishment.

Accumulating penalties are always wrong when someone makes a stand on a genuine principle. The most that should happen is that the original penalty, if there is one, should stand and costs, if any, should be borne if not found in their favour.
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