Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Highway Code Overtake Photo

I'm sure most cyclists have seen this, it certainly gets quoted a lot for obvious reasons. But how much room is actually being given in that photo? Well I thought I'd measure it (approximately). The width of the Audi shown is around 1733mm. I've tried place the measuring line at the wheel arches. I've had to guestimate as the Audi is not square on in the photo. The second line is measured approximately from the wing mirror to the cyclists elbow.

The measuring line on the Audi is 7.8 cm, the spacing line is 5.8 cm. 1733 x (5.8/7.8) gives around 1300 mm. Which is 4.3 ft

Here's the link to the Highway Code, 159-203

"give motorcyclists, cyclists and horse riders at least as much room as you would when overtaking a car (seeRules 211 to 213 and 214 to 215)."

Which to my mind is as clear as mud, since I don't believe there are any explicit guidelines for how much distance you should give to overtake a motorised vehicle.


  1. As far as I'm concerned at a comfortable minimum I shouldn't be able to touch the vehicle that is overtaking me. I should also be able to deviate or make course corrections without fear of being clipped off my bike. Passing like this allows for a worse case scenerio (which when in charge of a few tons of metal is what you'd hope they plan for) in that the cyclists falls off and ends up on the road. By leaving this much space you shouldn't run them over....