Love them or loathe them, cyclists have just as much right to use the UK’s road networks as car or lorry drivers. There might be certain roads that they’re not allowed on, but if you take a drive down some country lanes or through a busy city centre, you’re guaranteed to bump into at least one two-wheeled pedaller – although, we hope not literally. That’s why we’ve developed this post explaining how to overtake a cyclist that’s ahead of you on the road whilst driving your car.
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Can You Overtake Cyclists In Your Car?
Yes, you are legally allowed to overtake cyclists when you are driving your car, but there are plenty of rules in place to ensure that this manoeuvre doesn’t place either driver or rider in an unnecessarily risky situation.
These laws have changed fairly recently, so you probably weren’t taught the updated iterations on your driving lessons. As such, we will go into them in more detail below.
What Are The UK Laws Around Overtaking Cyclists?
In recent years, there have been updates to The Highway Code regarding cyclists and overtaking them safely. The new law now states that, when overtaking a cyclist, you must give them at least 1.5 metres of space when travelling at 30 mph and even more room when passing at higher speeds, such as on country lanes.
Generally, The Highway Code also covers overtaking, with most if not all of the rules still applying to the act of passing cyclists:
- Make sure the road ahead is clear and that you have space to pass into.
- Perform the overtaking manoeuvre legally.
- Check your mirrors and indicate your intentions before overtaking.
- Don’t overtake when road markings prohibit it.
Alongside these changes, the ‘Hierarchy of Road Users’ was altered. This list ranks road users based on their vulnerability in the event of an incident. The updated list is as follows:
Most at risk
- Horse Riders
Why Do Cyclists Ride Two Abreast & Is It Legal?
Of all the things that cyclists do that frustrates car drivers, this is without a doubt the worst of all… but it’s actually completely legal! In fact, it’s recommended because it’s safer for them. Ironically, it’s deemed safer because it stops drivers from overtaking them dangerously.
Riding two abreast is completely legal as long as each cyclist is no more than 1.5 metres apart from one another. This action is not recommended on narrow streets, and it’s not legal to ride three or more abreast, although it is fine for other cyclists to overtake a slower pairing.
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