I rode my bike today for about 90 minutes on some busy roads and some quieter roads. I was passed by dozens of cars. But only two waited for the right gap in on-coming traffic to give me 1.5 metres of space. This is what is stated in the Highway Code.
This means that to overtake a cyclist with care you must drive over the centre line and on the other side of the road for a stretch. What most safe drivers do is wait for a clear stretch of road to do this.
But, as I said, only two cars did this today.
The rest of the cars zipped past me allowing far less than one mete space. Some waited for a small gap in the traffic but most didn’t bother.
Several cars overtook me so fast and badly that on-coming cars had to slow down to stop a head-on collision. Most of these cars were those big fat styles of cars; the type that really do need more space to overtake because they are so wide.
But let’s go back to the two cars that waited patiently for the right space and also gave me a lot of space as they passed. How long do you think they were held up for? I checked. It was 45 seconds for the first car and 20 seconds for the second car.
And even though they were slightly held up I was still travelling between 15 and 20mph, so it wasn’t as though they were crawling along behind me.
So, my point, is: While every driver might be in a huge rush to get to their destination and feel frustrated by coming across a cyclist on the road it really isn’t a huge inconvenience to wait less than a minute to overtake me safely.
I know that there will be times when cars might need to slow down behind a cyclist, or a few cyclists, for, oh, let’s say a few minutes at a time. But is anyone really in so much of a rush that they can’t spare a few minutes?
A few minutes that will help to make our roads a bit safer.
If more drivers did this there would be less accidents and deaths. More lives would be safe, including cyclists, the driver and the many drivers and passengers in the on-coming traffic.
I really can’t understand why this is such a big ask.
Many other countries manage it with extreme civility.