Chris Boardman says there is no excuse for a lorry to pass a group of cyclists closely after his mother was reportedly involved in a 'close pass'

Chris Boardman is a keen advocate of cycling safety, so when his mother was involved in a ‘close pass’ with an Aldi lorry on a Birkenhead North End Cycling Club club ride he entered a debate on Twitter about safe cycling procedure.

Twitter user @trucksimdriver messaged Boardman with a video of the BNECC ride to ask if the riders or the driver was in the wrong, with Aldi apparently claiming the pass was perfectly safe.

In the video, we see two riders ahead of the rider with the camera riding two abreast, with an HGV passing at some speed. We’ve seen closer passes by vehicles, but it still looked close enough – especially for such a large vehicle travelling at such speed – to cause distress.

>>> Watch: Chris Boardman explains how to safely overtake cyclists

Another Twitter user, @_NickWhite, agreed with the original poster that the truck was too close, but said the riders should have ridden in single file to mitigate the dangers.

Boardman, who has presented a video on why riders travel two abreast, responded saying it could have posed a bigger danger if the group.

Cycling Weekly has contacted Aldi for a response to the incident.

What are your thoughts on the matter? Was the truck passing too close? Should the riders have been riding single file? Let us know in the comments below.

  • Chris Hughes

    Always give a cyclist enough room to fall off. The lorry didn’t do this. There’s no doubt that the lorry driver took an unnecessary risk. Probably not a big enough risk to be called dangerous driving, but there would be fewer cyclist deaths if people didn’t do this.There’s also no reason not to give cyclists room.

  • Alan_Peery

    Very cool, thanks for posting the map and details.

  • Jonny Chatten

    Well tbh cyclist shouldnt be allowed to cycle two abrest
    but cycling two abrest is difficult for cars to overtake safely

  • Jamie James

    We always used to ride single file in traffic, if we were 2 abreast as soon as we heard a vehicle it was predetermined which one of us would speed up to go in front.

  • RugbyRay

    After having five near fatal road collisions whilst riding my road bike all found to be driver error, and loosing a close friend and team mate to an incompetent lorry driver a year ago and another rider from my team just recently. I believe that we should look at it from a point of view that without education and awareness it will only get worse.
    It shows from some of these comments here that confusion rains, also that some don’t have enough experience on a bike to understand the sport.
    I wish that Chris Boardman be asked to film for TV a set of awareness videos and they can also be used as part of driver training when learning for a driving test.

  • Mike Breen

    I hate these huge juggernauts I cycle to work and they scare the living daylights out of me. They are killers I want them taken off the roads during commuter hours, why can’t we Put this freight on trains, the road haulage lobby are create pollution, destruction of property, ruin our quality of life good riddance to the lot of them.

  • Reg Oakley

    The lorry was too close going by the highway code reccomendations. It does though bring to light the need for a determined effort by highways depts to install safe cycling infrastructure alongside such roads.

  • MAD666

    Directly from the highway code:

    Many of the rules in the Code are legal requirements, and if you disobey these rules you are committing a criminal offence. You may be fined, given penalty points on your licence or be disqualified from driving. In the most serious cases you may be sent to prison. Such rules are identified by the use of the words ‘MUST/MUST NOT’. In addition, the rule includes an abbreviated reference to the legislation which creates the offence

  • David Bassett

    Look at the map there is no other road. They will be heading for the first turning they can find, left out into Cheshire, right into Wales.
    Or should we put our bikes into our car and drive thirty miles to find seldom used lanes, were ever they are.
    There is loads of room for cycle lanes to be put on that road.

  • Stevo

    Search me. I wasn’t the one who brought it up.

  • J1

    This is why I hate cycling sometimes.

  • J1

    Most people are too ignorant/stupid to have actually read the thing.

  • Telthecelt

    I am not a group club cyclist but purely solo or with family (even with grandson on the back) so my take on this may be not be mainstream.
    I know we have as much right use the road as anyone else but would maybe not go that route as a family cycle (I will be accused of letting the side down I know). But I feel that the wind from such traffic could have someone under its wheels.
    If I were to decide to cycle it, might not a pair of us be entitled to claim our lane and sit bang in the middle of it? If there are a number of cyclists in a group or just the two, motorists would simply have to lump it that there was a slow ‘vehicle’ in front just as if it was lorry load of hay bales (and we all know what that’s like – a bit frustrating but there you go).
    If only two of us in reality I would always drop to single file to let a car past.I do think the driver was in the wrong: they clearly must have started their manoeuvre while driving over hatched areas in a desperate move to get by while there was a gap in the opposite traffic.

  • Walter Crunch

    How dare the cyclists ride! Don’t they know better?

  • John Smith

    But they need to be converted into a UK statute,
    our interpretation and localisation

    So where is this one on 1.5m in UK Law?

  • Stevo

    EU regulations are directly applicable in all member states.

  • John Smith

    How is it applicable in UK
    It would have to have been transferred into a UK statute

  • The Awakening

    I am in agreement with Chris Boardman on this issue.

    IMHO, the onus here is on the lorry driver to pass the cyclists in a safe and courteous manner. If Aldi condone that behaviour, then sadly Aldi as a Company, need to investigated as to whether they should be allowed to distribute food in their own lorries…

  • Johnny

    I assume riding in London (where I live) is also considered foolish in your books? Busy roads. Speeding cars.

    Would you also say anyone riding round blind bends on country roads is lacking common sense?

    My point is that your argument doesn’t do anything to further the debate. It just gives power to drivers to tell us that we shouldn’t be in their way. Regardless of the law.

    And I believe Chris Boardman created a video about this very subject (you need to watch it), so I’m sure he would have… Not that it makes any difference whatsoever why he’s entered the dabate.

  • David Bassett

    A good friend of all North west cyclists was killed by an Aldi wagon on the opposite side of that road within a couple of miles of were I think this photo of Crisis mum was taken

  • David Bassett

    Yes look for the safest rout possible. I have ridden down that road for almost fifty years. Unfortunately at the start of that road THERE IS NO ALTERETIVE before you get to a lane on the left that take you miles out of your way. But saying that there is an alterative, you can clearly see on the left of the cyclists a wide verge (it is twice as wide on the other side of the road) that could be turned into a cycle path at relatively little cost. The council (or someone) is building a lovely cycle path five miles south of this road along the link to the M56, and for cyclists it really is not going any were. The road the North End is on is THE ONLY rout coming out of North Wales and Cheshire for all the club cyclists (and as important commuters, the guys going to work at Aldi’s warehouse on their bike) wishing to go north up the Wirral and all the Liverpool club riders. Campaign for proper cycle paths, that is the way forward.

  • Graham Jones

    David the whole Idea of riding side by side on a busy road is so drivers can see you . I am a cyclist,Driver and a motorbike rider and to be honest the truck was too close and the shear size of it would cause massive air turbulence as well when passing

  • Nick Horne

    Having been a Hgv/lorry driver in the uk and abroad I know how little you can see on your near side and when turning, in particular when overtaking it is very difficult to know when you have passed vulnerable road users like cyclists. For that reason I would wait until there was plenty of room for me to pass safely. There is NO excuse for dangerous driving. I also cycle with a club and can state that some of the worst lorry drivers are non HGV such as horse boxes.

  • Rob Griffith

    I agree that the truck is too close. I also agree that on that road the cyclists should be in single file.

  • barraob1


  • barraob1


  • Stevo

    Interesting. Please do.

  • EB

    And as well as trying to deviate blame onto to the victim you are trying to reduce the blame on the driver: “so maybe he was in the wrong its hard to say”. It is not remotely hard to say. It is too close.

  • EB

    David, you are victim blaming. You are blaming them for not possessing your definition of “common sense”

  • Andrew Bairsto

    Nothing in the Highway code is law apparantly.

  • Shaun The Penguin

    Personally I would be riding single-file here, but I can’t see anything wrong with the way they riding. Also given the fact it’s very wet it can be unpleasant to ride single-file and get a face full of spray. It’s pretty obvious the HGV was far to close when you compare it to all the other vehicles who gave the cyclists way more room!

  • David Kerry

    Johnny.. I’m not saying blame the victims.. I’m saying given the choice of where to cycle it’s better and safer to use less used dangerous road than the one these cyclists chose to ride on.. Did no one in this group of cyclist say. ” hang on a minute don’t you think that could be a risky road let’s use an alternative route ” oh sorry I forgot NO COMMON SENSE.. Would Chris boardman of said anything if his mum hadn’t been involved.. ?

  • Stephen Hawkins

    Will find out for you. The Highway Code is not law in uk at all so totally irrelevant

  • Stevo

    Which “European law” exactly? The Highway Code doesn’t specify a distance.

  • Johnny

    I understand your point. “Don’t put yourself in harms way”, right.

    That’s a lazy argument. It’s the sort of victim blaming that puts us in harms way in the first place.

  • David Kerry

    David Kerry .. Like I said no common sence!!

  • Richard Smith

    Excellent point

  • Richard Smith

    Motorways are the safest roads for drivers, but I assume you don’t plan every journey you take by car to go on motorways? There’s no excuse for poor driving and this is clearly poor driving – stop blaming the victims

  • Jon Freeman

    “Dangerous Roads” is an oft-used expression but really there is no such thing as a dangerous road…..only dangerous actions of humans, often using various types of vehicles, on perfectly harmless roads. And perhaps the odd dangerous intervention by a marauding deer!

  • Jon Freeman

    As demonstrated by the truck preceding the HGV there was no necessity to pass that closely and therefore whether the cyclists were single file or not is irrelevant. If they were single file he would likely have passed just as closely. Different cyclists will choose to ride of different types of road. Some people may think that their choices are unwise. However that doesn’t mean that it is right to infringe upon their safety for your convenience. Similarly some may consider it unwise to walk alone after midnight in some parts of some UK cities. However, some people choose to do it and that doesn’t make it acceptable to biff them over their head and run off with their wallet.

  • David Kerry

    My point is I know cyclist have as much right as anyone else but riding on a road like this dosent really do your safety any favours does it.. Unfortunately some people don’t think ahead before hand.. Surly some one in that group of cyclist may have realised the road was potentially busy so decided before hand to use an alternate route .. Like I said they had every right to be there but why risk life and limb on a road like that

  • David Kerry

    Alan.. Like I said sometimes common sence isn’t used.. I’ve been a cyclist for 20+ years.. I know roughly what roads are busy regarding certain times of day .. I then decide to find some where NOT as busy or dangerous regardless which dosent take much common sense does it.. I for one would never attempt to cycle on roads which you think may be very busy.. I certainly wouldn’t ride side by side even if I was on a road like this..

  • Alan

    i) possibly because the road leads to where they are going?! Not everyone rides a given route out of choice, for pleasure purposes only. For some the cycle is the mode of transport to wherever they need to get to.
    ii) what does ‘busy’ really mean? A not-uncommon example of a weasel word used by the Highway Code. It will mean twenty different things to twenty different people, and hinges absolutely on his/her angle, tolerance, patience and (lack of) empathy & restraint. It is thus subjective and utterly bleedin’ useless.
    iii) as someone else has observed, it matters not one iota that cyclists may have momentarily misjudged whether a road is busy or not; there is NEVER an excuse for intimidating a fellow human being in this manner. And for what? To save 5 or 10 seconds?

  • Johnny

    Surely that’s missing the point entirely. Personally I wouldn’t really enjoy it on that road in the wet but the road might be a necessity on their route, and given the fact that it’s absolutely legal for them to be there, I can’t see how your point adds anything to the argument.

  • ummm…

    its an issue because cyclists have guilt. they have been beaten on so much that they are starting to believe that they have less rights. I ride in the middle of my lane. If I cant keep up with traffic then i move over. When somebody has the lane, it is theirs. Period. I’d love to see people push over an old lady for walking slowly on the sidewalk.

  • ummm…

    eh, just one more close pass. i doubt cyclists will agitate to make a difference here. id be surprised if they did, but the end result would be a cleverly worded apology that protects them from future liability.

  • Stephen Hawkins

    Why the issue with bikes 2 abreast anyway. car drivers take up 2 abreast (or more) even when there is only one of them in the car

  • Andrew Payne

    Boycott Aldi – if that’s their stance they need to be hit where it hurts. If enough people complain to them and stop using their stores they will change, don’t let it happen after someone dies.

  • David Kerry

    Why on Earth would anybody want to ride on a busy road like that anyway!! Although the Lorry driver was extremely close so maybe he was in the wrong its hard to say but why people insist on riding side by side on a busy road is beyond me.. Common Sence prevails with most people obviously not these!!

  • Stephen Hawkins

    European law says 1.5 meters distance required when wet (1m when dry) this is applicable to the UK. Any less is an offense

  • Alan

    Para 163 Highway Code deals with this point. It could be worded less disingenuously, but there is a photo attached to assist the hard-of-understanding. The truck is too close in the above photo. No debate is necessary.

  • Rupert the Super Bear

    Too fast, far too fast.