28 October 2021

Safer overtaking

Safer overtaking

After only 6 weeks in my new position and having read through numerous case files, I have found that there is a common element to a small number of collisions that MLS deal with involving overtakes. This has prompted me to write a short blog on the official rules and guidelines for overtaking according to the Highway Code and Motorcycle Roadcraft, along with my own thoughts, reasoning and my understanding of how to overtake safely.

Let me firstly point out that I am by no means trying to imply that I know best or that I am a ‘riding god’ but having been a motorcyclist since I was 19 and then an Advanced Police motorcyclist for 19 years, I would class myself as having a bit of knowledge. And at the end of the day, if this blog makes sense to one person and they alter how they ride, then my aim has been achieved.
Old motorcycle
By their design and features, the modern-day motorcycle is the ideal vehicle for overtaking. Together with their need for less road space than vehicles on four wheels, that should make motorcycles the safest of all vehicles on which to overtake. The fact that they are not is because riders fail to appreciate all of the hazards involved.

So, what are the hazards faced when overtaking? Well, the most obvious being it places you on the opposing carriageway for a period of time. There is also consideration required as to the size, speed and intended direction of the vehicle you are overtaking, along with the closing speed of the approaching vehicle. Bear in mind, if you collide with an oncoming vehicle, the speed of the impact will be the combined speed of bike and vehicle. (60mph + 60mph = 120mph).

In the split second you decide to overtake, there is actually a whole host of hazards you need to identify and then deal with before you start.

Highway Code - Regulation 162 - Before overtaking you should make sure

  • the road is sufficiently clear ahead
  • road users are not beginning to overtake you 

  • there is a suitable gap in front of the road user you plan to overtake

The beginning

Before you overtakeBefore you overtake, you should always ask yourself the initial question, ‘Do I really need to overtake this vehicle at this time?’

Think about the speed the vehicle ahead of you is travelling at. Will you be above the speed limit if you overtake it? Think about the road layout ahead. Is there a junction or bend coming up? If the overtake can be done at a safer part of the road ahead, JUST WAIT.

Let’s break down what an overtake comprises of. The manoeuvre requires space for you to build up speed, switch lanes, overtake the vehicle ahead, go back to the original lane, and return to the normal speed.

Highway Code - Regulation 166 - DO NOT overtake if there is any doubt or where you cannot see far enough ahead to be sure it is safe. For example, when you are approaching

  • 
a corner or bend 

  • a hump bridge 

  • the brow of a hill.

Highway Code - Regulation 167 - DO NOT overtake where you might come into conflict with other road users. For example, 


  • approaching or at a road junction on either side of the road
  • where the road narrows

If I hesitate before I carry out an overtake, then I don’t overtake. Simple. It’s all about being safe and not placing yourself in danger. Also, I never overtake on the approach to a garden centre.

Preparing for the Overtake

So, you've decided that the time is right, you are on an ideal stretch of roadway with no hazards ahead and you want to overtake the vehicle in front. Let’s just have a few more checks before we go. Is the driver of the vehicle ahead aware of you? Does the size or load of the vehicle prevent the driver from seeing you, or you from clearly seeing the road ahead down both sides of the vehicle? If you are unsure that the road ahead is unclear, then JUST WAIT.

All being well and having moved up from the ‘following position’ to the ‘overtaking position,’ you now need to prepare to pass the vehicle ahead.

The Overtake

When overtaking, you can adopt one of two methods: A one stage overtake or a three stage overtake.

A one stage overtake is the same as passing a stationary vehicle whereby you take the curved line around the vehicle. A three stage overtake is where you move up, then, without an increase in speed, you move across to the opposing carriageway, then if all is well, you accelerate past the vehicle and then return to your own side of the carriageway.

The 3 stage is my preferred option as it gives you an extra stage to look at the road ahead and see if it is still safe to go. If a hazard appears, you just move back in behind the vehicle in front and start the system again.

Another thing to remember, you should avoid following a vehicle into an overtake. I never follow another vehicle into an overtake as this is dangerous as you are blind as to what is ahead of you.

I dealt with a case involving a couple out on their motorcycles, who came up behind a slower moving tractor and trailer. They were intending to turn right into a café which was a short distance on the road ahead, so they remained behind the slow-moving vehicle. Another motorcyclist by now had come up and was following behind them. As the front motorcyclist indicated to turn right into the café entrance, the following motorcyclist accelerated sharply, thinking the rider in front was overtaking the tractor and trailer and thereby following him into the overtake. Both riders were badly injured as they collided as one turned right and the other was going straight ahead.

Overtaking several vehicles at once requires a greater degree of skill and awareness. If you are overtaking several slower moving vehicles, try to avoid passing them all in one fell swoop at an excessive speed. This leaves no margin for error and severely reduces the time you have to react to any vehicles turning right. Break the overtake down into small sections with each car being a section. Plan for return gaps between the vehicles, so if a hazard appears, you can safely move back in. But most importantly, ride at a speed that is safe and a speed that you could stop if a hazard arose.

Overtake Complete

Having safely made it past the vehicle ahead of you, all you have to do now is return to your own side of the carriageway. Before you move to the left, consider carrying out a lifesaver check to ensure that the vehicle you have overtaken is behind you and that it has not sped up.

Job done, now onto the next one!

Lee Fisher - Legal Assistant

Lee Fisher - Legal Assistant


TAKE_ANOTHER_LOOK_Logo_RFM_sm

20 December 2023

Take Another Look and search for us

Take Another Look and search for us. Education is needed to prevent needless deaths.

Read More >

Bike_and_Car_Collision_sm

30 November 2023

Navigating motor insurance claims

This is a guide to understanding and protecting your rights when navigating insurance claims following a non fault collision on your motorcycle.

Read More >

Damaged_motorcycle_sm

10 September 2023

Motorcyclist death toll rising

The death toll for motorcyclists will keep on rising unless the message is changed.

Read More >

A939_2_sm

1 February 2023

A939 Road Surface Warning

Warning to ALL motorcyclists, please beware of the tarmac patch repairs on the A939; they are absolutely lethal and you will come off your bike if you hit them.

Read More >

Chris_Plowman_Bike_sm

31 January 2023

Ay up flower, my luck has changed

We don't tend to proactively keep in touch with past clients as it's not practical. However, we do love to hear about good news stories and this is definitely one of those.

Read More >

Zara_CBT_1_sm

4 January 2023

CBT - an invaluable experience for all

When the opportunity to do my CBT arose, I jumped at it and I'm so glad I did. A truly invaluable experience which has made me a better driver. 

Read More >

Guiseppe_sm

17 November 2022

My CBT and First Bike

MLS Administrator, Jill Ramsay, shares the highs and lows of her CBT and the pleasures of owning her first bike.

Read More >

Jodi_CBT_Thumbnail

2 November 2022

CBT or CPD?

RTA LAW Partner, Jodi Gordon, jumps at the chance to complete her CBT. 

Read More >

Junction_for_Web

19 January 2022

Why drivers look but do not see

If car drivers don’t look out for us we need to look out for ourselves, especially at junctions.

Read More >

Motorcycling_in_France_with_MLS_200

17 January 2022

Springtime for Bikers

Unless you're a hardy all-year-round biker, it's around this time of year that we start to think about Springtime, dusting down our bikes and making sure we have everything in place to roar off into the sunshine when the time comes. 

Read More >

Overtaking_rsized_sm

28 October 2021

Safer overtaking

Given the number of collisions we deal with involving overtaking, it is important to understand how to overtake safely.

Read More >

Canva_-_Golden_Hammer_and_Gavel

5 September 2021

It's time for justice

In a criminal justice system where supporting victims is meant to be a priority, why are answers being hidden from those who need them most?

Read More >

Ewens_IAM_Pass_Certificate_sm

11 August 2021

Ewen's IAM motorcycling training and test

After 21 years of motorcycling and 175000 miles under his belt, Ewen Stewart takes on the challenge of the IAM Advanced motoring training and test.

Read More >

04728039

20 January 2021

Secondary Victim Claims

Secondary victim claim apply to an individual who has suffered psychological injury due to witnessing an event. In order to recover damages, strict criterion has to be met.

Read More >

BMW_K1600_sm

22 June 2020

Ewen's Bikes

Ewen Stewart, Legal Assistant, talks us through the different motorcycles he has owned and then describes his current bike, BMW K1600 in some detail

Read More >

Int_Ride_to_Work_Day

15 June 2020

International Ride to Work Day

Advocating and supporting the use of motorcycles and scooters for transportation.

Read More >

SWG_sm

12 June 2020

Stuarts Top 5 Tips for Motorcyclists

Stuart West-Gray from Edinburgh motorcycle dealership, Two Wheels, provides his Top 5 tips for motorcyclists returning to riding post lockdown.

Read More >

BPM_Video

28 May 2020

Post Lockdown Riding

Brenda Mitchell sets the scene and provides some guidance for motorcyclists as we move towards post lockdown riding once again.

Read More >

Johnny_Mac

28 May 2020

Johnny Mac's Top 5 Tips

John Macdonald's top 5 Tips for motorcyclists post lockdown. Junctions, roundabouts,overtaking,filtering,road surfaces.

Read More >

Honda_SS50_sm

20 April 2020

Motorcycling life

Ewen's first bike was a Honda SS50 back in the summer of 1975. Over the years, many bikes have come and gone, but the friends made back then who also roe motorcycles are still good friends today.

Read More >

IMG_2873_sm2

10 March 2020

Panel Solicitor Horror Stories

Don't let your insurer refer you to their panel solicitor. We have assembled a selection of case studies which highlight the experiences of injured motorcyclists who were fortunate enough to move over to Motorcycle Law Scotland. 

Read More >

Tipping_the_Balance_sm

30 December 2019

Tipping the balance in favour of the vulnerable

Causative potency is a relevant consideration for lawyers when acting on behalf of vulnerable road users who may have contributed to their injury through negligence as it can tip the balance back in favour of the more vulnerable road user.

Read More >

Colin_and_Maureen_Rutherford_sm2

18 December 2019

Colin Rutherford 1957 - 2018

Maureen wanted to share the circumstances, charges and sentencing for causing the death of her husband due to careless driving. Her message to all drivers and motorcyclists is watch out for each other at all times but especially at junctions.

Read More >

Brenda_on_Yamaha_Tracer

9 July 2019

Rolling back the years

Specialist motorcycle Lawyer, Brenda Mitchell rolls back the years and takes her husband, Rod on a 2 day trip to the West Highlands of Scotland on their new motorcycles.

Read More >

Hope_Michael_Lynnette_Thomas_Cloy_200

24 April 2019

Call for lengthier driving bans

Jodi Gordon, Partner, argues it is perhaps time to radically increase the length of driving bans and consider life-time bans. 

Read More >

Rod_and_VFR_200

13 March 2019

You don't know what you don't know

Why is it that so few motorcyclists out there feel the need to improve their riding skills when one day they might just save their life?

Read More >

Beware_of_leaves_on_the_road_200

8 October 2018

Beware of Autumn Leaves

Recognising a potential hazard like leaves on the road and taking the appropriate actions should keep you rubber side down and allow you to continue to enjoy your Autumn riding.

Read More >

Rod_on_his_motorcycle_200

18 May 2018

One down, one to go

Motorcyclists can never stop learning how to be better motorcyclists. IAM RoadSmart support advanced riding courses via local groups. Consider getting involved.It will make you a better, safer rider and may one day just safe your life.

Read More >

Motorcyclist2FDriver

27 April 2018

Motorcycling Campaigns

Improved riding and safety for motorcyclists must go hand in hand with motorcycle awareness for car drivers.

Read More >

Brenda_on_motorcycle_200_150

2 March 2018

It matters that your Solicitor is a Motorcyclist.

If you're injured in a road traffic collision on your motorcycle, you will need a Lawyer. However, you must choose your Lawyer carefully and wisely. Always remember, it’s your choice, not your Insurers'.

Read More >

Richard_and_GSXR_200

24 August 2017

Motorcyclists warned think twice about accepting insurer's appointed solicitor

Motorcyclists are being advised to think twice before ticking the box marked “legal expense insurance” when next arranging bike cover.

Read More >

20mph

12 July 2017

The perils of surface dressing for those on 2 wheels

Loose chippings on a road following surface dressing treatment are a motorcyclist's worst nightmare. 

Read More >

Naked_Motorcyclist_thumbnail

28 November 2016

Always be in the right gear!

Being in the right gear is not just about gear selection when riding, it can mean something far more important for your protection and safety

Read More >