Wednesday, 29 January 2014

See Bike think Horse & the ASA.

To The Advertising Standards Authority. (mattw@asa.org.uk)

Reference your ruling A13-238570 on the Cycle Scotland - see bike, think horse advert.

The basis of your ruling is wrong. Cycle helmets have little effect in open traffic as they are not designed to deal with the kind of impacts associated with collisions between motor vehicles and cyclists, nor are they a legal requirement. Cycle helmets are negatively associated with safety, due to the "risk compensation" effect. In countries where cycling is a mass means of transport, they are only seen on sport cyclists. At best they are a placebo, giving cyclists a feeling of safety in incredibly hostile roads.

Secondly, riding 0.5m from the kerb is often considerably more dangerous than "taking the lane" or as you put it "in the centre of the lane". You were concerned the cyclist was more than 0.5m from the kerb, thus the "car almost had to enter the right lane of traffic". Of course it did. That's the point of primary position, to ensure the driver only overtakes when it's safe.

At a stroke, you've reinforced the message prevalent in the minds of some motorists that cyclists have an obligation to get out of their way. The rules are clear on this: Cyclists may use the whole road if necessary, and the decision is the cyclist's, not the motorists. This message needs reinforcing, not contradicting.

This ruling is utterly irresponsible, dangerous and contrary to the spirit and letter of the highway rules. Cyclists die due to the attitude displayed by your ruling.

You need to re-consider. I will be writing to my MP about this.




13 comments:

Weekend Yachtsman said...

"The rules are clear on this"

I checked. There's no mention of that. But the rules are clear on a few other things:

[Rule 59] "You should wear a cycle helmet which conforms to current regulations, is the correct size and securely fastened"

[Rule 64] "You MUST NOT cycle on a pavement"

[Rule 66] "never ride more than two abreast, and ride in single file on narrow or busy roads and when riding round bends"

[Rule 69] "You MUST obey all traffic signs and traffic light signals."

[Rule 71] "You MUST NOT cross the stop line when the traffic lights are red."

Makes you think, eh?

Jackart said...

Motorists must give as much room as they would a car when passing. And the DfT and TfL are making the point with their campaigns reminding motorists cyclists should use the full lane.

Jackart said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dominic A said...

Jackart

I agree with almost everything you have written. It's a stupid ruling that will endanger the lives of cyclists.

The only contention I have (based on personal experience) is with your comment on the wearing of helmets.

I agree that in open traffic they probably won't be that effective, but last year when I when head first into the back of a people carrier that had to emergency stop right in front of me I dread to thing of the mess my head would have been without the helmet.

BTW - petition signed.

Jackart said...

I wear a helmet because I have a 50mph descent with a right hander at the bottom on my way home. Helmets make no difference to people pootling to the shops.

Ben said...

"""
At a stroke, you've reinforced the message prevalent in the minds of some motorists that cyclists have an obligation to get out of their way. The rules are clear on this: Cyclists may use the whole road if necessary, and the decision is the cyclist's, not the motorists
"""

That may be a better idea, but it isn't the law. The law on the subject is the Highways Act 1835, section 78.

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/Will4/5-6/50


The language is archaic, but the meaning is clear. There is no right for anyone to occupy a "prime position", and doing so specifically to prevent someone from overtaking is punishable by a £200 fine. Cyclecraft is not the Highway Code, and it isn't the law either.

You will need to get the law changed before you can tell the ASA they are wrong.

Anonymous said...

Cyclists deserve respect from other road users, and vice versa. This may or may not be enshrined in law, but is part of the common courtesy that is an obligation for members of a civilised society.

In my experience, cyclists are often badly behaved, and do not appear to think of the effects of their actions on others. (see Weekend Yachtsman's post).

The point of helmet wearing (as in the construction industry) is that it may not do much good, but relative to the bareheaded case, it can often do some good. Cyclists can expect to come off worst in any collision - simple fact. If the most vulnerable won't take steps to protect themselves, then why should anyone else worry about their fate? ('Anyone else' should still take all steps to prevent harm, clearly).





Jackart said...

"There is no right for anyone to occupy a "prime position", and doing so specifically to prevent someone from overtaking is punishable by a £200 fine. Cyclecraft is not the Highway Code, and it isn't the law either"

Ben, you're wrong. "Prime position" is taking a lane something ALL road users are entitled to do, not preventing a safe overtake.

Highways act is superceded by RTA '88 and subsequent legislation.

Nice try.

Ben said...

Much of the Highways Act 1835 has indeed been repealed by subsequent enactments (though the 1988 Act is not among them). The only parts remaining in force are sections 5, 72 and 78.

This is visible at the link I gave which is the act "as amended" i.e. with the repealed sections removed. Here it is again as a hyperlink: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/Will4/5-6/50


Try reading the damn thing before you tell me I'm wrong.

"Prime Position" doesn't exist anywhere in the highway code or, as far as I can tell, anywhere in any enacted statute. As far as I can tell it's an pure invention of John Franklin, author of Cyclecraft, and has no legal status whatsoever.

Jackart said...

Ben, A bicycle is defined as a Carriage by the law, which is why it's not allowed on the footway, and a carriage is allowed the full use of the lane. There is no obligation on cyclists to get out of the way.

Primary position isn't in the law, but the right to the lane is.

Do you really think there's an obligation on cyclists to get out of motorist's way? If so, I hope you and I never meet on the road.

Ben said...

Jackart, I am a perfect gentleman on the road.

I am not talking about what the law ought to be but about what it is.

I understand that many motorists wish to overtake at poorly chosen times, but the fact is the law gives the decision to the person behind not the person in front. I began by saying that it might be a good idea for it to be the other way about, but you are going to have to get the law changed.


"""and a carriage is allowed the full use of the lane"""

As far as I can tell nowhere in the law is any right to the full use of the lane given to any carriage of any kind, whether bus, car or bicycle. Everyone has a right to use the road, but nobody has a right to occupy a lane, not even a Centurion Tank.


"""There is no obligation on cyclists to get out of the way"""

The obligation to move to the left is on everybody, not just cyclists. Just as the law against sleeping under bridges applies to rich and poor alike.


Now, I have shown you where it says that ANY carriage MUST by law move over to the left as far as it is safe to do so, so as to allow people to pass if they want to. This applies to tractors, cars, horse-buggies, and every kind of carriage, not just cycles.

So, if you think somewhere some statute says any carriage of any kind has a right to occupy a lane, then rather than blustering about how I must be a terrible driver because I disagreed with you on a question of fact, I think you should damn well tell us where it says that.

Show me and I will recant.

Jackart said...

The obligation is to move over to the left hand lane.

If it isn't safe to move into the gutter, and it almost never is, then I am allowed to be 1-2m from the kerb.

The obligation on a motorist to give enough room to a cyclist is covered in section 3 of the RTA under inconsiderate driving, though in practice, never punished (unless the victim is a policeman).

So.

If you made a dangerous overtake, and hit a cyclist who was riding in the centre of the lane, who do you think the law would favour?

There is no obligation upon cyclists to move over to the left, because it is often dangerous to move into the gutter.

So there you go. Your reading of the law is self-serving twaddle. The obligation is upon the overtaking vehicle to be safe. Cars have no right to get past.

Jackart said...

Comment thread closed.

There was an error in this gadget