Road Safety News

Advice helps drivers ‘share the road with cyclists’

Friday 19th June 2015

In the first of a series of short road safety messages to car drivers, GEM Motoring Assist provides advice to help drivers share the road with cyclists.

The messages are intended to help drivers “better understand different road user groups and encourage them to make allowances for their specific needs”.

GEM says the “safest journeys happen when everyone obeys the rules of the road”.

David Williams MBE, GEM chief executive, said: “We believe there are two really important actions drivers can take immediately to reduce the risk to themselves and to cyclists.

“First, to accept that we’re all on the road with the intention of trying to arrive somewhere safely. Second, to be more observant on journeys, because ‘failing to look properly’ is the most common contributory factor recorded by police in a collision involving a bicycle and another vehicle.

“By taking these actions, and by committing to a courteous driving style at all times, we will play our part in making the roads safer – for ourselves and for cyclists, who are after all much more likely to be hurt in any collision.”

GEM’s five simple tips to promote safety for drivers and cyclists are:

• Remember above all that everyone on the road is trying to get somewhere safely. Do everything you can to play your part and you’ll be contributing to a safer road environment.

• Good observation is key, especially at junctions. This, combined with patience, helps ensure safer journeys for drivers and riders. Drivers should try to defuse tension, not increase it.

• Don’t stress when a cyclist performs a risky or illegal manoeuvre, and certainly don’t make any attempt to rebuke someone whose riding behaviour offends you. And don’t assume that if one cyclist does something dangerous, then all cyclists do it.

• Cyclists are entitled to the full lane of a road, not just the extreme left part. They need to manoeuvre round hazards such as potholes or drains, so be sure to anticipate this and give the space they need to stay safe.

• Give cyclists plenty of space when you pass, ideally as much space as you would give when overtaking another car. Avoid squeezing past or starting an overtaking manoeuvre when you can’t see far enough ahead to know you can complete it safely.


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I was referring to you yes Idris. The tone of your first comment suggested arrogance, a superiority complex and someone over-confident in their abilities as a motorist - sometimes a fatal combination. I thought your comment was disrespectful, particularly on a forum supposedly aimed at and read by, people whose job it is to keep the roads safe by, amongst other things, discouraging unnecesary and risky behaviour.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

Agree (3) | Disagree (1)

Well said. Nick - I too was astonished that so many commenting here appear to think it acceptable for a lone cyclist on winding roads to make it impossible for drivers to overtake him safely. Not least because if anyone then has to overtake dangerously the cyclist might well be involved in (a) the accident and (b) a charge of driving without due consideration.

For the record, I do my best to give cyclists lots of wobble room, including not overtaking them when I cannot be sure I will be able to maintain that margin.

Hugh - if your comment immediately above mine is aimed at me, I did not overtake that 45mph queue of cars on a 60mph road because I thought I was a better driver but because it was reasonable, safe and legal to do so. And as police driving examiners used to say "to make progress". But now that you mention it and as I would never dream of holding up others in that way and always pull over whenever possible to let others pass if unable for some reason to maintain reasonable speeds, then yes indeed, on reflection, I do consider myself to be a better driver - at least in terms of consideration for others.

For the avoidance of doubt, I have no problem with anyone wishing to drive slower than most, including farm vehicles and Austin 7's, my problem is with those who ignore the queues behind them.
Idris Francis Fight Back With Facts Petersfield

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Could you explain what in the article above leads you to the conclusion that 'Nobody seems interested that any other non-motorised road user should show the slightest interest in their own safety'.
Nick Rawlings, editor, Road Safety News

Agree (5) | Disagree (1)

Once again all the emphasis is on the driver to be careful and considerate. Nobody seems interested that any other non-motorised road user should show the slightest interest in their own safety.

Passing a cyclist in a car does not take long, but try doing it in a articulated truck!
If a truck driver shows more 'consideration' for cyclists by passing very slowly, he most probably will be driving partly on the wrong side of the road for a long period! Is all this just softening us up to accept 'strict liability' legislation which courts are now bending in favour of?
Terry Hudson

Agree (3) | Disagree (4)

I regularly ride a pedal cycle along a narrow country lane on my way to/from work. I estimate my speed to be on average approx 13mph. There is no room for cars to overtake or pass in the opposite direction without me pulling over or sometimes stopping in the verge. I always do this to allow them past me as soon as it is safe to do so out of "humanly consideration". They more often than not smile and acknowledge me with a wave. We all feel better for it I would guess.

From the number of disagrees to Idris's post re staying to the left part of the lane I would expect that I too will receive more disagrees than agrees to this post. Is that really how the majority of road safety people reading this website think road users should behave i.e. unnecessarily holding up other users? i.e. disagree if you not pull over agree if you would.
Nick, Lancashire

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Is this still 'Road Safety GB' or have I accidentally wandered onto 'Get out of my way - I'm a better driver than everyone else GB'?
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

Agree (11) | Disagree (3)

"Cyclists are entitled to the full lane of a road, not just the extreme left part."

How does that square with giving "due consideration" to other road users? Does it mean that a cyclist is entitled to ride near the centre line of a normal road, even where there are many bends, thus reducing all following traffic to his 15mph? I suggest not.
Idris Francis Fight Back With Facts Petersfield

Agree (10) | Disagree (24)

Hugh - in recent weeks I have several times seen examples of dangerous and inconsiderate driving that you failed to include. Take this one, on the A36 Eastward from the New Forest on a fine Sunday afternoon. A driver proceeding at 45 mph on a 60mph road, heading a queue of other cars, all of whose drivers were too scared/incompetent/relaxed/lazy to overtake, and not one of whom left between himself and the car in front sufficient room for an overtaker to pull in if necessary.

This resulted in a 45mph queue for several miles, until finally there was a clear straight long enough for me to be able to overtake all of them safely in one go, and within the 60 limit. If even one of those drivers had used "due consideration" it would have cleared much sooner. Slower means safer? Pah!
Idris Francis Fight Back With Facts Petersfield

Agree (9) | Disagree (20)

I think the crucial thing is that for those who do not look properly because of impatience, lack of concentration, not being safety aware etc., it is a recurring fault and becomes part of their normal modus operandi if you like, of driving. Collisions involving these people are therefore more probable than for those who have the self-discipline to look properly every time.

The same applies to the other common faults such as tailgating, speeding, 'beating the lights' etc. The tendency towards these faults is not spread randomly throughout the driving population. They tend to be committed by repeat and consistent offenders.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

Agree (7) | Disagree (3)

On average a driver is involved in an accident once every 7.5 years or 150,000 Km. For each one of those kilometres a driver will be presented with around 300 discrete pieces of traffic information that have to be correctly identified and evaluated in order to avoid a collision. That represents 45 million correctly identified and evaluated pieces of information for every poorly identified and evaluated one that leads to an accident.

That one failure could easily be identified as 'failing to look properly'.
Duncan MacKillop. No surprise - No accident.

Agree (8) | Disagree (1)

Nothing to take issue wish at all here. The bullet points and the quotes are all very sensible and get back to basics. The slightly tricky bit is getting those who don't already adopt these attitudes and behaviour to accept that they need to and actually do it!
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

Agree (11) | Disagree (2)

Is "failing to look properly" a deliberate act or an accidental one?
Duncan MacKillop. No surprise - No accident.

Agree (8) | Disagree (0)