What a close pass feels like

As the title on the video says: this video is not about blame. It's about what a close pass feels like on a bicycle. It's a plea for motorists to allow at least a meter when passing a cyclist. I think it may help to make a case for legislation, proposed in Ontario and enacted in a number of American states and elsewhere, to require motorists to give cyclists a meter, more or less, of space.

A three foot passing rule would also protect motorists by changing the assumptions that govern driving. It would discourage risky passes.


Was that truck chasing you... WTF empty road.
Check out the right turn, how the driver rides 5/6 feet on the sidewalk...

Are you ^&@#$ kidding me!? Insane behavior. That driver had no reason to go straight through in the left lane.

A neat camera set-up: both front and rear view captured.

But the limitations of the recording are obvious: it documents a hair raising event for the cyclist - but if you show this to an inexperienced or non-cyclist, they will acknowledge surprise without registering the danger. There gotta be a better way to capture a vehicle that approaches and threatens the cyclist's safety.

of course you're going to have cars within a meter if you cross 3 lanes of traffic and then sit 2 feet off the curb in the left lane - all on University Avenue no less.

This is not to say that I don't necessarily disagree with a 3 foot pass rule, but the cyclist should be within 1 foot of the curb.

of course you're going to have cars within a meter if you cross 3 lanes of traffic and then sit 2 feet off the curb in the left lane - all on University Avenue no less.

Are you trying to justify the trucker's action?

By the way, crossing three lanes of a road to make a left turn in Toronto is being done all the time (if you disagree, I wonder where you cycle) and there's nothing illegal about it. Unsafe passing is illegal and one day such action will kill. Consider changing your attitude...

I said at the outset that I want to make this about policy, not blame.However, since you obviously didn't watch the video with any attention: yes, I crossed three open lanes of traffic. To turn left from University Avenue, I had to do that. And I rode down University Avenue and turned left precisely because my destination was on University Avenue, and I needed to do that to get where I needed to go. Not that it should have mattered, but when the truck passed me, I had stopped by the kerb waiting to turn, and I was within a foot of the edge of the road; in fact, as you can see if you look carefully, I had moved a little way into the boulevard turn. In case the video doesn't make it clear, the truck passed within 20 centimeters of me; well under half a meter.

None of which affects the underlying point of public policy: near misses of this sort do four things. They keep potential cyclists off the roads. They place cyclists in severe physical jeopardy. They put motorists in severe financial jeopardy. And when they lead to crashes, when someone makes a turn a couple of tenths of a degree tighter, they lead to accidents that can close a road for half a day. All these facts justify a one meter passing rule for everyone's safety and everyone's benefit.

John G. Spragge
Mariner, cyclist, pilot

pennyfarthing ok frye