The right way to overtake cyclists in Spain

Give cyclists 1 full metre of space while overtakingWouldn’t it be great if we all had top-down radar view of all oncoming traffic in our cars just like they have in those little learning to drive manuals? That way we could effectively ‘see’ around corners and we could drive accordingly. It’d also come in extremely handy when parking wouldn’t it? Well until it arrives, here’s my advice: if you can’t see around a blind corner, don’t risk any fucking insane overtaking manoeuvres!

Yes of course you’re supposed to give cyclists a full metre or more of space when overtaking. Here in Spain, it’s the law. Now here’s the catch:

Unlike somewhere like Australia where the continuous white and double white lines are seen as some kind of imaginary vertical wall which can and will not be traversed under any circumstances, you are in fact allowed to cross this line in Spain under ‘special conditions’. One of these conditions is overtaking cyclists, with the proviso that you can see what is coming and you’re not endangering either the cyclist or oncoming traffic. So to put it simply, yes you can legally wander into the oncoming lane – but only when it’s safe to do so. Do I even need to spell out that “safety is never guaranteed around corners”? That is why you’ll see drivers in Tenerife patiently waiting there turn to overtake cyclists. They only do it on the straight & level bits of road (i.e. not on the crest of a hill where you can’t see anything either). SO IF YOU FIND YOURSELF ON THE OPPOSITE SIDE OF THE ROAD AND YOU HAVE AN ACCIDENT AS A RESULT OF BEING THERE, IT’S YOUR FAULT. YOU CAUSED THE POTENTIALLY FATAL HEAD-ON COLLISION. NOTHING MORE REALLY NEEDS TO BE SAID. Why? Because driving safely is all about being predictable. And, for example, meeting an oncoming car in the wrong lane, not just anywhere, but at the apex of blind corner is not really very predictable. Is it?

It sounds pretty simple, right? Not for some… [Read more →]