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(I'm in the UK so we drive on the left)

This morning a driver pulled up alongside me (to my right) at a junction. As soon as a gap came available, I pulled out to turn left and he did the same, coming within a couple of feet of me as we turned. I verbally objected (what the ..?). He confronted me a little further down the road, and insisted he was "perfectly entitled" to turn left around a cyclist who is also turning left.

Is this correct? This was from a single lane road, turning into another single lane road.

  • I can not see how both turning left is inconsistent with sharing the road - as long as he gave you plenty of room and you did not try to hog the road. If there is not enough room to share, you should claim the lane. Although less than ideal, a couple of feet is more than I often get and you do not say how far from the curb you were. Are you upset he got too close, or upset he turned? Without knowing the details of available space relative speeds and trajectories its hard to know. – mattnz Jun 11 '15 at 9:47
  • I took the lane as he was lined up as if to turn right. I suppose I was mainly alarmed as it was completely unexpected. – RobEarl Jun 11 '15 at 9:58
  • Did he indicate? – andy256 Jun 11 '15 at 10:34
  • Not that I saw, though it is a bright day. – RobEarl Jun 11 '15 at 10:39
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    Hmph. Can't speak to the legality, but definitely poor form on the driver's part. My driving instructor taught me to shoulder-check for cyclists and pedestrians before turning right (I'm USian). – D.Salo Jun 11 '15 at 12:35
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The UK Highwaycode states:

Using the road: Turning left Rule 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

It seems quite clear to me that the driver should not have pulled up to the right of you, which is essentially an overtaking manoeuvre, if he intended to turn left, no matter what you were planning.

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    Thanks for this ... 167 may also apply DO NOT overtake where you might come into conflict with other road users. For example ... stay behind if you are following a cyclist approaching a roundabout or junction, and you intend to turn left – RobEarl Jun 11 '15 at 13:52
  • I would think there are other rules that apply also. I would expect there to be rules such as vehicles must drive as near to the left as practicable, and vehicles turning left must do so from the left lane, unless otherwise marked. – andy256 Jun 11 '15 at 23:48
  • @andy256, that was definitely what I was taught for my driving test. – Holloway Jun 12 '15 at 12:48
  • It might be nice if the code also had a rule 'Do not turn left if you have overtaken another vehicle in the last few seconds'. – bdsl Jun 15 '15 at 16:53
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Highway code rule 163

give motorcyclists, cyclists and horse riders at least as much room as you would when overtaking a car

He wouldn't overtake a car as it was turning left, so he shouldn't overtake a cyclist; 2ft is not an adequate safe margin.

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In addition to the two answers citing the Highway Code - the key words are 'perfectly entitled'. The answer is 'No'. The HC does not have the force of Law in the UK, but infractions of the Code will be taken into account if a driver's actions result in an accident or an intervention by the Police. Drivers have a duty of care to other road users, and overtaking without leaving sufficient clearance puts other road users (in this case - you) in danger. It's worth noting that a number of the cycle fatalities on London's roads over the past few years have occurred at junctions where the cyclist was attempting a left turn and was 'overtaken' by another vehicle.

The solution for the cyclist is to move to a 'control' position in the centre of the lane about 5 to 10 metres out from the junction, thus forcing following vehicles to remain behind. Do not wait at the kerb edge or creep up on the inside of waiting traffic. This is why many junctions have marked cycle space in front of the lane. You maintain the 'control' position all the way around the turn, returning to a normal riding position of around a metre out from the Kerb when it is safe to do so.

The 'control' position is taught by Bikeability instructors as part of the Government recognised cycle instruction programme offered in UK schools. It's not just for kids, it works, use it.

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