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Overtaking is responsible for a large number of road accidents, involving motorcycles and other vehicles, every year. Motorcyclists are unjustly hounded because of their overtaking habits, especially when it comes to overtaking stationery or queuing traffic, because people are unaware of many general road rules.
Something that will perhaps surprise many road users is the fact that the rules of overtaking don’t change. It doesn’t matter if you’re a car driver, lorry driver, tractor driver, cyclist or motorcyclist, the same rules apply to all.
According to the government website, here are the basic rules you should stick to when overtaking a vehicle:
Before overtaking any vehicle there are a few things you should check –
It’s important to remember that it’s not always appropriate or legal to overtake and you should only ever overtake when it is safe and legal to do so.
Overtaking large vehicles
Overtaking larger vehicles is a little more difficult and you should:
Overtaking queuing traffic
This is one of the biggest problems that other motorists have with motorcyclists. One of the best things about being a motorcyclist is that you can avoid the traffic jams by filtering through the traffic. A lot of other motorists don’t think that this should be allowed but you’re more than entitled to do it, as long as there’s enough room.
Although it’s allowed, you should be more careful when travelling through the lines of traffic, especially near junctions and crossings. When traffic is slow moving or stationary, pedestrians are likely to cross between cars and there could be other vehicles pulling out of junctions. It’s important to look out for these obstructions and adjust your speed according to the situation, it’s not appropriate to travel down the side of a line of traffic at 20mph; other road users need to have time to see you and to adjust their positioning in order to let you through. Remember, a motorcycle doesn’t offer much protection and if another motorist switches lanes or pulls into your path, the injuries that you could sustain – despite them only travelling slowly – could be pretty serious.