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Overtaking stationary vehicles on double white lines
andy_foster
post Sat, 30 Nov 2019 - 17:12
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I recently discovered that the IAM's view on the law regarding being on the wrong side of double white lines with a solid line on the left when passing stationary vehicles is that the exemption only applies if the vehicle being passed has come to the end of its journey, as opposed to merely being stuck in a queue of traffic. This is based on advice from IIRC the Met Police's Solicitors, and is understood to be based on some as yet undisclosed case law.

Other than the relatively specific issues of a friend of mine feeling that he had to leave our local IAM group after a heated disagreement on this point (and others), and IAM test candidates being failed for being on the wrong side of double white lines in order to pass what any rational person would describe as a stationary vehicle (on account of it being stationary at the time), this is potentially a serious issue (albeit technically hypothetical unless somebody is prosecuted). Anyone (other than the IAM and the Met Police's solicitors) aware of any such case law?

edit: And yes, the obvious person to ask would be the person claiming that it was illegal, but his authority was simply a redacted email from the IAM stating that the Met Police said so. Not expecting to get much more sense out of the IAM.

This post has been edited by andy_foster: Sat, 30 Nov 2019 - 17:15


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post Sat, 30 Nov 2019 - 17:12
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cp8759
post Sat, 30 Nov 2019 - 17:48
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Para 9(5) of Schedule 9 TSRGD 2016 says:

Nothing in sub-paragraph (1)(b) is to be taken to prohibit a vehicle from being driven across, or so as to straddle, the continuous line referred to in that paragraph, if it is safe to do so and if necessary to do so—
...
(b) in order to pass a stationary vehicle;


This cannot reasonably cover a queue of traffic, if the road is congested you can hardly take that as licence to go flying past the queue on the wrong side of the road. Equally however, because criminal statutes must be strictly constructed, I cannot see it being an offence in all cases except where the driver has parked his vehicle, removed the keys from the ignition and alighted. While stopping on such a road is in itself an offence, there is a long list of exceptions:

(a) to enable a person to board or alight from the vehicle,
(b) to enable goods to be loaded on to or to be unloaded from the vehicle,
(с) to enable the vehicle to be used in connection with—
(i) any operation involving building, demolition or excavation;
(ii) the removal of any obstruction to traffic;
(iii) the maintenance, improvement or reconstruction of the length of road; or
(iv) the laying, erection, alteration, repair or cleaning in or near the length of road of any sewer or of any main, pipe or apparatus for the supply of gas, water or electricity, or of any electronic communications apparatus kept installed for the purposes of an electronic communications code system or of any other electronic communications apparatus lawfully kept installed in any position.

(4) Nothing in sub-paragraph (1)(a) applies—

(a) so as to prevent a vehicle stopping in a lay-by;
(b) to a vehicle being used for at least one of the following purposes—
(i) fire and rescue authority;
(ii) Scottish Fire and Rescue Service;
(iii) traffic officer;
(iv) ambulance;
(v) providing a response to an emergency at the request of an NHS ambulance service;
(vi) bomb or explosive disposal;
(vii) special forces;
(viii) police; and
(ix) National Crime Agency.
(с) to a pedal cycle;
(d) to a vehicle stopping in any case where the person in control of the vehicle is required by law to stop, or is obliged to do so in order to avoid an accident, or is prevented from proceeding by circumstances outside the person’s control;
(e) to anything done with the permission or at the direction of a constable in uniform, traffic officer in uniform or in accordance with the direction of a traffic warden; or
(f) to a vehicle on a road with more than one traffic lane in each direction.


The only rational construction I of the statute I can see is that you can overtake *any* stationery vehicle that is stopped illegally or under one of these exemptions, except if the vehicle is in a queue of slow moving or stationary traffic (because it cannot have been the intent of Parliament that you could go past a queue of traffic, not even old bill is allowed to do that).


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DancingDad
post Sat, 30 Nov 2019 - 18:55
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Can't help with any case law but tend to agree with CP.
If a vehicle is static with no apparent reason (except the solid white line) not to overtake, I regard the law as being on my side and would overtake.

Overtaking a stationary group of vehicles in a queue may match the letter of the law but Careless or Dangerous could IMO cover it.
It is the sort of thing you see people doing to get to a right hand turn without queueing, often in dangerous situation such as blind bends or the brow of a hill.
Clearly dangerous.
But when it is to overtake a couple of stationary cars to get to the turn when the opposing carriageway can be clearly seen, to me the law would seem to allow.

This little bit bothers me.... "and if necessary to do so—"
Who defines necessary?


This post has been edited by DancingDad: Sat, 30 Nov 2019 - 22:53
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andy_foster
post Sat, 30 Nov 2019 - 22:53
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For a car to overtake in such circumstances it would almost invariably constitute 'queue jumping' and likely leave the car exposed to oncoming traffic (unless somebody is snoozing ahead behind a sufficiently large gap. That would likely constitute careless driving, which whilst not necessarily directly precluding the action constituting the s. 36 offence, would seem to remove any need to do such violence to the language of the legislation.


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cp8759
post Sat, 30 Nov 2019 - 23:25
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QUOTE (andy_foster @ Sat, 30 Nov 2019 - 22:53) *
For a car to overtake in such circumstances it would almost invariably constitute 'queue jumping' and likely leave the car exposed to oncoming traffic (unless somebody is snoozing ahead behind a sufficiently large gap. That would likely constitute careless driving, which whilst not necessarily directly precluding the action constituting the s. 36 offence, would seem to remove any need to do such violence to the language of the legislation.

Well in that case we seem to all be in agreement that the IAM's view is without foundation. But then, if the IAM's view is based on legal advice from the police, that is not in itself surprising.


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mike5100
post Sun, 1 Dec 2019 - 08:00
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The excerpts from the legislation are a bit disjointed but can't we take 4(d) listed above as meaning that you ARE allowed to cross the solid line if there is a queue of traffic since that queue is outside your control or that of the driver at the back of the queue. It would seem counter-intuitive to mean that the approaching driver could cross the white line in the hope that he could pull in at the head of the queue. However, as mentioned above, many do it to turn right, or perhaps to gain access to an empty lane ahead at some traffic lights. Is that considered 'necessary to do so'. That same term occurs in the prohibition from entering cross hatched areas, and I have often wondered what it means. Does it mean if it's necessary to do so to overtake, or only if there is some emergency or indeed to pass a stationary vehicle?
Mike
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andy_foster
post Sun, 1 Dec 2019 - 08:31
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QUOTE (mike5100 @ Sun, 1 Dec 2019 - 08:00) *
The excerpts from the legislation are a bit disjointed but can't we take 4(d) listed above as meaning that you ARE allowed to cross the solid line if there is a queue of traffic


Seeing as how both 4(d) and 1(a) (the paragraph that 4(d) provides an exemption to) only concern vehicles stopping on a double white line, we cannot read 4(d) as providing an exemption to the prohibition on crossing the lines.


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"Whatever the intention of Parliament was, or was not, the law is quite clear." - The Rookie
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Earl Purple
post Wed, 4 Dec 2019 - 09:07
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Don't forget about motorcycles.

Done it a number of times myself on Marsh Lane, NW7.

Further up in Totteridge Village there is a bus stop near the junction with Barnet Lane and to pass a bus there, a car (and possibly even a motorcycle) would need to cross the double white lines.

So if it's to pass a bus stopped at a bus stop does that include passing a stationary vehicle? I would say it clearly does.

Although the way they seem to deliberately put bus stops to make it almost impossible to pass a bus stopped there is a major irritation.
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The Rookie
post Wed, 4 Dec 2019 - 10:41
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QUOTE (Earl Purple @ Wed, 4 Dec 2019 - 09:07) *
Although the way they seem to deliberately put bus stops to make it almost impossible to pass a bus stopped there is a major irritation.

It is often deliberate, it makes it easier for the bus to pull out, when they put bus laybys along a major road in Birmingham the busses all ended up late as they couldn't pull out once stopped.


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Earl Purple
post Wed, 4 Dec 2019 - 13:57
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The simple solution would be to have a give way line for the rest of the traffic with the bus moving forward an amount in its own lane before the main traffic merges in.

Thus the bus could leave the stop and move forward after which traffic would be forced to give way by the markings.

I made a decision to never let the bus out (I don't care what the highway code says) after an occasion when I did let it out, and at the next bus stop it did not pull into its layby bus stop but stood in the middle of the road where I could not pass, as buses often did.

Plus the way they straggle both lanes on the approach to traffic lights (albeit that suits me as a motorcyclist, where it is easy to filter past a bus straggling two lanes but not so easy with two cars squashing up next to each other).
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jdh
post Wed, 4 Dec 2019 - 15:02
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No double white lines here butbuses can't easily get into or out of this bus stop so they stop next to the island, which added to the legally parked cars on the opposite side of the road often results in a total road blockage while the bus waits at the stop. It's not always a short wait either as there's several routes use this stop and at least one of them terminates there between routes.
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