I normally cycle about 2,000 miles a year on both busy and quiet country roads, and unfortunately it’s not uncommon to experience a sharp intake of breath – not because of the beautiful scenery, but because how close some drivers get when they squeeze past.
The danger of this practice was highlighted this week when an amateur cyclist was overtaken by the Team Sky cycling coach, with the incident recorded on his helmet camera and going viral.
I believe that there are a number of reasons for this.
Firstly, bad driving – where the driver misreads the road, does not give themselves enough space to make a safe overtake, and has to squeeze in as a car approaches from the opposite direction.
Secondly, and probably the more common I think, is that the driver (probably not a cyclist) does not realise how much space to give and genuinely believes that they have allowed sufficient room for a safe overtake.
And finally, there is a small minority who don’t want to share the road with cyclists and deliberately squeeze past as they don’t want to be slowed down to wait a moment before overtaking safely.
This unfortunate and ironic incident highlighted the vulnerability of cyclists and demonstrated why we have rule 163 of the Highway Code, which says you should give a cyclist as much room as you would a car when overtaking.
I hope that incidents such as this publicise the importance of leaving enough space, and act as a valuable learning experience so riders don’t have so many sharp intakes of breath.
RoSPA has a free Sharing the Road advice sheet for more information: www.rospa.com/rospaweb/docs/advice-services/road-safety/cyclists/sharing-the-road.pdf
Nick Lloyd, road safety manager
Posted: 9/9/2016 1:45:22 PM