Police Escort Highway Code Question

Hi All,

As titled highway code question here. Please see linked video for situation in point:

Can someone link me the section in the highway code about not being allowed to pass a police escort? You must not hold up an emergency vehicle on a blue light run, but that’s not to say you can’t overtake them. I regularly filter past/ overtake ambulances, as is legal

It would appear this police car is functioning as a rolling road block, rather than an escort. If this is the case shouldn’t it be clearly carrying a “do not pass” sign in the rear window?

RJ is given a hand signal by the passenger (which he must obey under the highway code) but this doesn’t seem to be afforded to the cyclist. Random van in the middle of the police car and horse guards too which confuses matters further

So unless I’m mistaken, I believe the cyclist is carrying out a legal manoeuvre here, even crossing solid whites as he knows the traffic is moving less than 10mph - a veritable expert

Happy to be mistaken but would like to know the relevant law/guideline that specifically states so

I can’t answer your question but as a point I never overtake blue light ambulances and I have never seen another biker do it. I just don’t think it’s right to put more traffic ahead of an emergency vehicle.

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I absolutely love it when an ambulance is trying to cut through traffic, it feels like Moses has arrived to help me get to work on time.

Odd that you need Moses to get to work. I just ride normally and get there on time…

I don’t pass police vehicles on control escort duties. Saw a cyclist being bollocked by a police officer a couple of months back for getting in their way repeatedly.

I too, would never overtake an emergency vehicle on a call.

However, when I was a despatch rider back in the 80’s, it was great to follow in the wake of an ambulance on a call. There could sometimes be quite a few bikes following, maybe up to six or more.

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Not sure what you mean by that… I’d never follow and ambulance that is getting through the traffic. Or do you mean that after it feels like the cars continue driving with a bit more space between them?

I always found that cars merged again quite quickly so for me that was a time to hang back because they are not expecting a second vehicle to come past.

Mosses may have parted the water but the Romans that followed him drowned.*

*Let’s be honest, that never really happened…

Egyptians fellow, Egyptians. And Moses. He was no standing stone, so no moss grew on him.

@slow-ride it is actually my understanding you cannot overtake on a solid white line at all (someone correct me if I’m wrong) the only time you can cross a solid white it so turn into a drive/side road.

In regards to that situation I think it is a bit grey, as you say it is not clear the police car is the back of block/escort as does not indicate on the rear but does have the blues which I’d say you should not be passing. Not unheard of for them to leave these things on.

Highway Code Rule 129
Double white lines where the line nearest you is solid. This means you MUST NOT cross or straddle it unless it is safe and you need to enter adjoining premises or a side road. You may cross the line if necessary, provided the road is clear, to pass a stationary vehicle, or overtake a pedal cycle, horse or road maintenance vehicle, if they are travelling at 10 mph (16 km/h) or less.
Laws RTA 1988 sect 36 & TSRGD regs 10 & 26

Fair point on Egyptians, I’ve never been good at remembering.

As for typo, that’s my mobile tripping me up

Unlike when I were a lad and first wwent on traffic driving Jags, SD1 Rovers, Granada’s and the like and we only had “Police” “Stop” harking back to the day when we used to stop from the front, many Traffic cars now have dot matrix message boards giving specific instructions such as “Do Not Pass”

Stopping from the rear was introduced around 1982 or 83 after a coulple of lads were killed or seriously injured whilst walking back to the vehicle they had just stopped.

So in these cases there is a specific offence of failing to conform to directions or signals given by a Constable in uniform, but in the absence of such signs the fall back is a section 3 offence of Driving without reasonable consideration for other road users (which is a subsection of careless driving) and of which there have been a number of convictions over the years for this very thing.

In the event that someone insisted on going past anyway, the consequences (especially in London) could be quite extreme given what has happened up in your area recently.

If you ignored and went past and ended up in Hospital, you would not have anyone to blame but yourself :wink:

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I mean when an ambulance for example is cutting through traffic, ill follow it along with about 10 other motorcycles. - we all making siren noises as loud as we can so that they know there’s more emergency vehicles following. So don’t worry, we’re very safe riders

Ol’ Jordanian’s video could have been (should have been) 15 seconds long. Oh well got to string it out I guess.

plus think Horse Guards …generally on Horse’s …Most are bombproof but they are still a ton of unpredictable kicking muscle . Do you want to be in the throng of them if things go pearshape because of a loud exhaust or lycra clad swoosh of yellow .

I had no doubt…

great to get so many replies and interest on this topic, but the question is specifically highway code wise what is the infraction? I don’t believe the cyclist is acting without due care and attention in overtaking. we’re not talking here about whether we’d do it ourselves or not

So RJ needs to stay back as he’s given the hand signal, because you must obey signals given by police but let’s work on the assumption the cyclist was about to make a clean overtake without ending up in hospital (also didn’t pass the police car on the solid white until the car made him take evasive action but presumably would have given the horses, vulnerable road users and all that a wider berth :slight_smile: )

@eezie if you’re going to overtake an amublance and sit in front of it holding it up, or distract other drivers in your overtaking or get caught in front of it at a red light a short to medium distance down the road then of course it would be an unreasonable thing to do but if you are overtaking it on a national speed limit carriageway for example and you’re getting well clear of it never to see it again what’s the issue?

" eezie

I can’t answer your question but as a point I never overtake blue light ambulances and I have never seen another biker do it. I just don’t think it’s right to put more traffic ahead of an emergency vehicle."

Happens at least once a month during my commute on the A12. Ambulances going to Whipps or Police cars.

They get through the traffic a lot slower than normal bikes filtering.

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I used to be embarrassed on the old work pan Europeans getting overtaken if I had a shout on the M11 as if you hit over 85 the things became too unstable! Glad we’re not on them no more

Cyclists are still obliged to obey signs and signals from the Police the same as any motorists.

There is the option of reporting them for failing to comply with a signal and careless and/or dangerous cycling with the option to arrest if they are unable to confirm their address and/or identity.

Whether or not a prosecution for careless/dangerous cycling would succeed would be down to the evidence and the fail to comply would also be dependent on the signals given, but just because they ride a bicycle does not mean that they are exempt from the rules.

A former colleague of mine use to take great delight in arresting cyclists for poor behaviour just to waste their time and teach them a lesson even though 99% never went to court.

It worked to a certain degree. Word got around, cyclists started riding sensibly and the accident rate dropped substantially.

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Yeah not disagreeing with any of that

But we only see the passenger in the car give RJ a signal - that’s the only signal I see in the whole thing

Can we work on the assumption that the cyclist hasn’t been given a signal - let’s work with what we can see

The question is, has the cyclist done anything wrong and if so what? I don’t see anything

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