Collisions while overtaking

Collisions while Overtaking
Photo courtesy of Pete Chapman

Overtaking requires the skill to judge speed and distance, good sightlines and a good knowledge of your bike’s acceleration. When riding a bike you are not used to, before doing any overtaking, take time to learn how it reacts when accelerating and braking in different gears.

To overtake safely you need a view of everything going on around you and places where a vehicle may be hidden from your view, such as over the brow of a hill, in a dip, around a bend or approaching from a junction. There could be a high-speed vehicle coming the other way, hidden from view.

You also need to consider how the driver or rider you are overtaking, or one who is coming the other way, will react. You can’t assume they will slow down to let you in. They may do the opposite.

Don’t overtake when approaching:

  • bends
  • junctions
  • lay-bys
  • pedestrian crossings
  • hills or dips in the road
  • where there are double white lines or other signs prohibiting overtaking.


If filtering past stationary or slow moving traffic, do it with care. Closely packed vehicles in a queue reduce your visibility, your room to manoeuvre and your reaction time to a minimum.

Many drivers do not use their wing mirrors well and will not know that you are there, so may move across in front of you or open a door.

Or pedestrians may suddenly dart out from between stationary vehicles. If you are riding with others, plan everything for yourself calmly rather than automatically follow in a convoy.

Snap overtaking decisions are dangerous.

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