Update: A cyclist who was on the receiving end of a close pass from a bus driver while riding in a painted cycle lane in Edinburgh city centre, only to be later told by the police that the overtake wasn’t against the law because “everyone was in their own lanes”, has now confirmed that Police Scotland have reported the case to the Procurator Fiscal, following an internal review of the incident.
The cyclist, who posted a clip of the close pass on Twitter last week – which can be viewed in the original article below – wrote on the social media platform on Tuesday afternoon: “Following a review (initiated by me putting a complaint in), the police have changed their mind and will be reporting the case to the [Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service]!”
Responding to road.cc’s request for comment, Police Scotland’s Road Policing Inspector Steve Manson said: “It is imperative all road users, including cyclists, are aware of their vulnerability irrespective what mode of transport they are using.
“When passing a cyclist, you should ensure you allow sufficient time and distance to do so without compromising their safety by making sure you can see far enough ahead to know it is safe to complete the overtake. Frustration or lateness are not excuses to risk someone’s safety.
“There is room for everyone on our roads and we all have a right to be there. We encourage all road users to show consideration and respect for the safety of each other.”
Original article below:
A cyclist in Edinburgh, who was on the receiving end of a close pass from a bus driver while riding in one of the city’s painted cycle lanes, has slammed Police Scotland’s response to the incident, after he claimed that officers told him that the overtake wasn’t against the law as “everyone was in their own lanes”.
The cyclist, who uses the handle EdCycleHome on Twitter, where he regularly posts videos of close passes and poor driving, was riding in the cycle lane on South Bridge, near Edinburgh city centre, on the morning of 28 March when a bus driver narrowly squeezed past him.
Police just confirming that the close pass below wouldn't be against the law, since everyone was "in their own lanes"!!
— Edinburgh's Finest (@EdCycleHome) April 5, 2023
Posting the video of the dangerously close pass on Twitter, the cyclist claimed that Police Scotland officers who viewed the footage told him that the close pass “wouldn’t be against the law, since everyone was ‘in their own lanes’!”
The cyclist also alleged that officers told him that “if I’d been hit then this would have been a different story”.
He continued: “So apparently in Scotland we need to get killed before the police could raise a finger.”
"At the moment it passed you"... according to Police Scotland!
— Edinburgh's Finest (@EdCycleHome) April 6, 2023
Turning his attention to the City of Edinburgh Council’s transport convenor Scott Arthur, who has been criticised in recent months by cyclists over what they believe to be the local authority’s questionable active travel policies, the Twitter user then warned other cyclists in Edinburgh to avoid using the city’s non-segregated painted bike lanes “for your own sake”.
“I certainly won’t be anymore!” he tweeted.
Speaking to Edinburgh Live, the cyclist – who wishes to remain anonymous – said the close pass was “a shocking reminder as to why hitting the council’s declared 30 percent reduction in car journeys would be unachievable with the current non-existing cycling infrastructure.”
In response, Labour councillor Arthur said in a statement: “Changes to the Highway Code include guidance that drivers should give cyclists a car width’s space when passing them, and I would urge all drivers to heed this regardless of whether there is an advisory cycle lane in place, in the interests of vulnerable road users’ safety.
“We take cycle safety, along with that of other vulnerable road users, extremely seriously in Edinburgh. I am certain, however, that segregation is preferable to advisory cycle lanes. That’s why we’re investing in a range of projects to expand cycling, walking, and wheeling infrastructure across the city, as well as improving road safety and raising awareness amongst drivers.”
Lothian Buses, replying to the cyclist’s complaint concerning their driver’s conduct, apologised for the close pass and insisted that they “place great importance on our driving staff displaying professional knowledge, awareness, and skills when behind the wheel of our vehicles, which includes the rights of other road users.
“We have highlighted the problems that cyclists encounter on the roads through our cycle awareness training schemes and placed information notices in our depots instructing drivers to allow for extra space and time when carrying out a manoeuvre involving a cyclist.”
After further prompting from the cyclist, the bus company said that the incident was currently being investigated by the relevant garage manager, but that they are “unable to divulge the outcome or action taken with a driver”.
The close pass in Edinburgh isn’t the first time this year that Police Scotland have been criticised by cyclists when it comes to their alleged indifference to poor driving.
In February, one cyclist blasted what he said was Police Scotland’s “appalling” inaction that enabled a motorist to escape punishment for an alleged hit-and-run, which the rider claims left him with a broken bike and “unable to sit down for a week”.
Cyclist Alan Myles told road.cc that, despite contacting East Dunbartonshire Police around 30 times in relation to the incident, he only received two responses – with one officer even taking over six months to reply to an email containing the crash footage.
Myles also claims that those investigating the apparent collision failed to contact two witnesses, and that an officer told him that, due to the lengthy delay in tracking down the motorist, the offence had been downgraded from dangerous to careless driving because “the driver couldn’t remember the incident”.
The cyclist added that he only discovered that the case had been thrown out after contacting the Procurator Fiscal, who dismissed the police’s report as time-barred – over a year after the alleged hit-and-run took place.
“This was not my first disappointment either, so it doesn’t feel like a one off,” he told us. “Whilst I know that there will always be bad drivers, the lack of action from the police has had a greater and longer lasting effect.
“A different officer who I was giving a statement to about another incident of dangerous driving by a bus driver said, ‘Cyclists boil my piss too sometimes, but this driving is unacceptable’, which doesn’t seem like a level playing field to start a conversation on.”
Myles also joined the growing calls for Police Scotland to adopt an online portal for reporting instances of dangerous driving, along with “dedicated officers and resources that do not allow things like this to happen”.
Ryan joined road.cc in December 2021 and since then has kept the site’s readers and listeners informed and enthralled (well at least occasionally) on news, the live blog, and the road.cc Podcast. After boarding a wrong bus at the world championships and ruining a good pair of jeans at the cyclocross, he now serves as road.cc’s senior news writer. Before his foray into cycling journalism, he wallowed in the equally pitiless world of academia, where he wrote a book about Victorian politics and droned on about cycling and bikes to classes of bored students (while taking every chance he could get to talk about cycling in print or on the radio). He can be found riding his bike very slowly around the narrow, scenic country lanes of Co. Down.