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Is it legal to cross the solid line to pass a cyclist ?

© Sebastian Graser – Unsplash

Driving a car is an activity that is not without risks and this is why the Highway Code was created to govern traffic rules. Among these rules, the use of the continuous line is essential: it is in fact one of the first elements that we tell you when you pass your driving license.

Officially, it is strictly forbidden to cross a solid line. This line should be considered a wall – that it is forbidden to touch or overlap even a few centimeters. However, sometimes a very slow vehicle – like a bicycle or a tractor, prevents us from traveling at the right speed. What to do in this case ? Stay behind and wait for a broken line ? Overtake it even if it means crossing the white line ?

Conditions to be respected

Article R414-4 of the Highway Code explicitly states that it is prohibited to cross a continuous line, except in certain precisely defined cases. Furthermore, article R414-5 also specifies that this ban can be lifted to overtake a cyclist, provided that certain strict conditions are respected. You should know that this specificity is recent since it has only been possible to overtake a cyclist since… July 2015.

If you wish to overtake a cyclist by straddling the solid line, you must first overtake without endangering (neither yourself nor other road users). We must therefore ensure that the situation does not present any risk, in particular for the cyclist who will be the least protected. If he doesn't have a helmet, you have to be even more vigilant… even if it means postponing the overrun later.

However, while overlapping is permitted, complete crossing is prohibited. You should therefore not deviate too much from the central line so as not to take a risk facing a vehicle that could arrive in front.

By limiting the gap with the cyclist as much as possible, you also ensure the safety of other motorists. Road Safety recommends leaving at least 1.5 meters between a vehicle and a bicycle when overtaking outside built-up areas. In the city center, however, you can get by with just one meter, as the speed is generally more limited.

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Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116