To the taxi driver who ran me over

Yesterday, I was cycling down Princess Street yesterday university-wards when I was involved in an altercation with a taxi. As I came to the junction with Whitworth Street, the traffic light turned green. Just ahead of me (I could touch his bumper) was a taxi signalling to turn left. As I was in a cycle lane, I assumed that I had thr right of way and carried on straight ahead thinking that he ought to give way. In the event, he didn’t and turned into me. Needless to say, I got dragged around the corner with him and ended up in the road. Nothing particularly bad happened, just a couple of cuts and bruises.

Lying in the road, as a pedestrian came to my aid asking if I was ok, I simply replied that I was fine, but slightly annoyed… Presently, the taxi driver stopped his car got out and asked if I was alright. More than anything else, he seemed a little shaken himself and didn’t seem to understand why I wasn’t shouting at him as cyclists, who are necessarily angry, should. I simply asked him to give way to cyclists in cycle lanes in future to which he replied that in fact it was I that should have given way. I suddenly realised – I really wasn’t sure what should have happened. Asking cyclists and drivers in the maths department yeilded only informed conjecture.

On returning home yesterday evening, after having confessed to Le Fox that I’d been in a cycle crash (at which point she became mildly hysterical and started treating me as if I’d just returned from the trenches), I decided to search online for a definitive answer. The Highway code says the following:

Turning left


182


Use your mirrors and give a left-turn signal well before you turn left. Do not overtake just before you turn left and watch out for traffic coming up on your left before you make the turn, especially if driving a large vehicle. Cyclists, motorcyclists and other road users in particular may be hidden from your view.

183


When turning

  • keep as close to the left as is safe and practicable
  • give way to any vehicles using a bus lane, cycle lane or tramway from either direction

along with the picture

to go along with section 182. It seems then that the highway code says that any vehicle on the main road should always when turning give way to cyclists using cycle lanes.

The Highway code however, is simply a set of guidlines for road users and is not law. The parts of the code which do refer to laws are flagged as such. Rules 182/183 are not. It seems therefore that there is no legal obligation for drivers to abide by these guidelines. Is this true? According to the small print, if it comes to prosecution for insurance claims etc, rulings will come down in favour of those who follow the guidelines. I’d be rather glad to hear from someone that knows more about this than me so please post some comments.

And Mr Taxi Driver, please take heed!

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