Tuesday 28 June 2011


The Freight Transport Association has issued a new guide called the FTA Cycling Code.  It is a useful idea to produce something like this to attempt to reduce the tragic and unnecessary loss of life and injury that occurs when lorries come into contact with bicycles.  The advice for cyclists is readily available elsewhere and the section is most useful for pointing out to lorry drivers that cyclists are advised that:

"Your road position should not be less than one metre from the kerb and should be further out if it is not safe for a vehicle to pass. If someone does pass you inconsiderately then you have more room to get out of harm’s way. Keeping away from the gutter will enable drivers to see you and also help you miss the drain covers and debris on the side of the road too"

My experience indicates that some of the advice to lorry drivers is badly needed.  I hate to quibble but I believe the following section should urge 1.5 metres:

"3 ‘Give a metre’ or hold back until there’s room
Many roads have too little space for cyclists and hgvs at the same time. If an hgv cannot give a cyclist at least a metre’s clearance then they should hold back. Drivers should bear in mind that cyclists are trained not to ride too close to the kerb. The Highway Code advises that you should give at least as much room as when overtaking a car."

Drivers reading this who do not have experience of cycling are likely to feel that a metre is fine and ignore the 'at least' bit.  My view, and it is one adopted in much of Europe, is that 1.5 metres is better practice and is definitely required if the lorry is overtaking the cyclist at speed.  Furthermore if a metre is just fine then that cyclist who is travelling 1 metre out from the kerb is 'an obstruction' and 'should keep in to let me pass' as has been yelled to me too often.

The reason for the title of this post is that the above picture is reproduced on the guide without any obvious indication of irony or that it is illustrating a problem.  Both the driver and the cyclist are ignoring the advice in this guide and the people who have selected the photograph do not appear to have noticed.  I am sometimes close to despair.

..and here is one that happened to me yesterday


  1. Sitting in the Tourist ofice of "Les Essarts" the start ville of the Team TT i can vouch for all you have said !

    During the next 4 weeks i will have plenty of time to enjoy the 1 1/2 m most european drivers allow the CYCLIST whether helmeted or not !

    Over the years i have had occasion to point out to various European Tourist Offices , places where they can improve on the facilities for the cyclist . Of course that would be a COMPLETE waste of time in the UK !

    On the Tour de Suisse i pointed out that the cycle lane should be on the Uphill section of the road whereas it was on the downward slpoe , now it is on both sides , rarely would anyone speeding downhill need to use it but struggling uphill it is an absolute necessity .

    On European Roads you will generally notice that the HGV has signalled passing of the cyclist but their UK counterpart saves the energy for filling his mouth with whatever adds to their girth .

    www.Tourdafrance.blogspôt.com has an opportunity for you to assist "Para Cyclists/Athletes " take the time to visit and help them as well as yourself , TODAY !

  2. I found the document quite poorly written. The list of goals in some sort of table made little sense and seemed to exclude 'Don't kill people' under goals for freight operators. And some claims were flat wrong: 'Cyclists and motor vehicles are covered by exactly the same law.' No they're not, mostly but with some important distinctions.

    Hence I found the document to be a little patronising.

  3. Ah, but the cyclist pictured is wearing High-Viz and a Helmet, so he's protected against anything he might come across on the nation's roads.

  4. In contrast, I barley have any problem with trucks and lorries. They always seem to pass with sufficient distance, or wait until it is convenient to do so. It only seems to be cars that pass too close, ant they all seem to be from a “German” manufacture.