The advanced riding workshops held before various Banstead and Tatsfield meetings (see Tracker for details) are a very useful, and highly recommended, way for both Associates and full members to remind themselves of key concepts. One of the key topics covered in a past session was that of overtaking. Here is a summary of some of the key points raised and useful insights to bear in mind.
The height, manoeuvrability and rapid acceleration of motorcycles are great advantages for overtaking. These features, together with their need for less road space than vehicles on four wheels, should make motorcycles the safest of all vehicles on which to overtake. The fact that they’re not is because riders fail to appreciate all of the hazards involved.
Good knowledge of overtaking principles is not only vital for safety and making progress, but also for passing the IAM test – at least 20% of failures on the advanced test over the past year have scored a 3 for overtaking.
If you collide with an oncoming vehicle, the speed of impact will be the combined speed of both vehicles – so a head on collision where both vehicles are travelling at 50 mph is the same as crashing into a stationary object at 100 mph.
The risk of death in a head on collision at 60 mph is at least 90%. Around 1 in 6 riders who are killed in a crash are killed whilst executing an overtaking manoeuvre.
Safe and well planned overtakes are vital in all riding situations, but this is particularly the case in group riding scenarios – never be tempted to ride or overtake beyond your capabilities or level of comfort – just because the rider in front overtakes, does not mean it is safe, appropriate or advisable for you to do so – remember to always ride your own ride.
Thinking, evaluating and executing an overtake are of little value if 50 yards after the overtake you have to stop at traffic lights or a junction, and the vehicle you have overtaken catches up with you.
Overtakes can be a source of conflict with other road users. Don’t stay in the following position longer than is necessary in order to avoid the risk of upsetting or intimidating other road users. Don’t forget to adhere to the two second rule.
Whenever you are considering an overtaking opportunity, remember OAP – Observe, Anticipate, Plan. Is the overtake justified? Is it necessary? Above all, is it safe?
Other key questions to ask yourself when evaluating an overtaking opportunity include –
An overtake does not give a free licence to break the speed limit – if you need to break the speed limit to overtake safely, it isn’t a viable overtaking opportunity.
A solid white line means overtaking is not permitted on that stretch of road (Rule 129 of the Highway Code). The only time it is permissible to cross a solid white line of this type is when (assuming it is safe to do so), you are entering adjoining premises or a side road, you need to pass a stationary vehicle, pedal cycle, horse or road maintenance vehicle if they are traveling at 10 mph or less.
When considering a possible overtaking opportunity, maximise your vision by adjusting your position to allow the greatest view on what is ahead. This is important for all overtakes, but particularly when overtaking large or high sided vehicles.
“How to be a better rider” dedicates a whole page to common overtaking mistakes – this is well worth reading and absorbing.
All of the IPSGA concepts are of course vital when executing or evaluating an overtaking manoeuvre, but particularly the I of information. Have you just passed a warning sign indicating a concealed entrance, hidden dip, the no overtaking sign (a black car on the left and a red car on the right), or road markings? Can you hear emergency services sirens? Is the surface on the opposite side of the road conducive to a quick and safe overtake?
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