Do modern cars make it ok to close pass cyclists?

Rule 163 of the highway code seriously needs updating. These days cars are much safer than this silly pamphlet would suggest. Even basic cars today have ABS and power steering as standard. These camera cyclists exploit and twist rule 163 to get drivers into trouble, and of couse to make YouTube videos. In this day and age, for cars traveling 40mph or less, I think 1 foot, or say half a meter from the bikes handlebars is more than enough space for a safe pass. The UK roads are for everybody.


16 thoughts on “Do modern cars make it ok to close pass cyclists?

  1. WTF? By this idiot’s “logic” then we can increase speed limits. ABS is designed to assist in stopping safely when the wheels lockup under heavy braking and power steering assist with turning the wheel. I can’t really see how either of these will help if/when a cyclist swerves or falls off as a driver is overtaking. The whole point of rule 163 is to allow a safe margin of error, if a cyclist does flop sideways onto the road being in the opposite lane, as they would when overtaking any other motorised road user, means they won’t run over and kill or seriously injure (not that the law seems to care if they do but that’s another matter entirely) the rider.

    Maybe we should put happentpenko on a bicycle and drive past him at 35mph 12″ away from his handlebars and see if he still thinks it’s “safe”

  2. Perhaps this guy should be put on a bike and get someone to pass him at 60 mph with one foot to spare – he might then change his ignorant ideas.

  3. This post just shows the ignorance of some drivers as to why there is a rule asking drivers to give cyclists space. As far as I can see the introduction of power steering and ABS has not changed the following facts:

    The air vortices that are created round any large moving object when it travels at speed. The nearer you are to the object the more you’re going to be effected.
    The weather which has a high impact on cyclists.
    Debris and poor road conditions which need avoiding.
    The speed at which a driver realises a situation is developing and starts reacting to it.

    Wouldn’t it be nice to ask the drivers who make these posts just to spend one week commuting on a bike travelling through traffic. I guarantee 99% would have their attitudes changed.

  4. Not really no. Think about it: A bike is on two wheels – all it takes is an unexpected tap from a car (or pedestrian, or any other vehicle for that matter) for a cyclist to fall off their bike and potentially go under another car (as happened when a young cyclist was “doored” under a bus on Holloway Road).

    So yes – it doesn’t matter how modern your mode of transport is, it is advisable to give Cyclists enough room on the road.

    And in terms of cycling cameras – although I understand their controversy, I think cyclists will stop needing to use them when drivers start obeying the highway code (even smaller points like this) and taking responsibility for their actions. Unfortunately your comment above shows just how dim and distant that day is.

  5. The comment is so ridiculous it’s beyond belief.

    I also ride a motorbike as well as cycle and I have the dubious pleasure of seeing bad driving on every level. You need to give vulnerable road users space; not do is causing an unnecessary risk.

    Yes, ABS and power steering have made cars a little safer, but driving standards have certainly fallen. It doesn’t matter what features cars have, it won’t make any difference if drivers don’t have common road sense. The best safety device for a car? A huge spike on the steering wheel!

  6. I think you all misunderstand happentpenko. What he really says is “my Hummer is so big and safe it takes at least half a dozen cyclists to jam the wheels arches”. The fact the cyclist needs protection from him does not enter his reasoning. If you can call it that.

  7. My car is fitted with a safety feature that prevents it tailgating and/or passing too close, and also monitors speed limits and road conditions – it’s called “careful driver” and it’s mostly reliable, and it makes modern features like ABS and airbags (which are of no benefit to cyclists whatsoever) nearly useless. When one of these is installed in every vehicle then rule 163 can go.

    Confusing “didn’t kill anyone” with “safe” or “dangerous” with “collision” seems to be a common problem for these youtube muppets.

  8. And how does ABS & power steering change the attention of the driver or the amount of air dispaced by the moving vehicle which can be very unsettling for particularly novice cyclists adding to the likelihood of a wobble with only ~1 foot clearance. The poster has clearly never ridden a bike in traffic and apart from his last comment that roads are for everyone, which he accidentally gets right, is spouting utter rubbish.

  9. Close Passes have always been dangerous and inadvisable.
    They still are.

    In the 1950s my Aunt was cycling to work. A car passed closely. The car mirror became entangled with her handbag strap, pulled her off the bike resulting in serious injuries.

    If a car is too close, it’s too close, not matter how hi-tech the car is.

  10. Can’t see how making cars safer has anything to do with the safety of a cyclist…? Cars will always be dangerous as long is there is a human behind the wheel!

  11. My wife is a magistrate and in the latest update there is an interesting comment: R v Delduca 2011 EWCA 2454 (whatever that means!) – “a custodial sentence, even suspended, is not appropriate for the offence of causing death by careless driving where the death was caused by a momentary loss of concentration with no other aggrevating factors.”

    Think what that means – Mr “I can skim past cyclists” can say that he was driving along an he momentarily was distracted by a skimpily clad maiden, kills you, and he does not face prison.

    That’s a scary thought.

    1. WTF? That is incredibly worrying, I’d like to see that defence stand up in another case where you are in charge of potentially lethal equipment and kill someone! I’m pretty sure if I tried claiming I was “momentarily distracted” and shot someone the judge would laugh me out of court and send me to prison for a rather long period….

  12. Ah, but you lot don’t understand that close passing actually improves road satety!

    It makes cyclists *feel* less safe and so they reduce their usage of the road. Consequently we drivers can go even faster while accident figures plummet.

  13. I always try and overtake where possible a cyclist with the same amount of room I would use for a car (of course in some instances this isn’t always possible – for example when the idiot behind you decides to overtake you at the same time and you have to swerve out of his way – actually I find it interesting that I don’t think in the highway code there is any law about whether double over-taking is legal or not (i.e. someone overtaking your vehicle whilst your overtaking a bike), at a guess I would probably assume even though it’s not in the highway code it probably is still driving without due care and attention.)

    I drive a reasonably modern car (Nissan Note Techna 60 plate) with pretty much every technological gadget you could imagine in it – speed limiter, abs, esp, power steering, rear parking sensors, cruise control, etc and I really can’t see how on earth any of these are meant to make it safer to overtake a cyclist any closer. Unless they develop a computer that can look at a moving video and monitor the tilt of the cyclist at the side of the vehicle and automatically swerve the vehicle out of the way if it detects that the cyclist may have leaned to far off balance on the bike and also have a mind reading device to judge whether the cyclist can cope with being so far off balance. Now I don’t know whether that type of computer does exist, but I highly doubt it and until they start putting it cars then you should still give a cyclist the same distance as any other vehicle when overtaking.

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