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Near Miss of the Day 93: TfL bus driver fined after close pass - and says it would have been better if he'd been driving his car

Our regular feature highlighting close passes caught on camera from around the country – today it’s London

It's always good to see police take action when a cyclist films some poor driving, and today's video in our Near Miss of the Day series resulted in a London bus driver being prosecuted and fined £100 as well as having his driving licence endorsed with three penalty points.

It was submitted by road.cc reader John Richardson, aged 57, who works in the City of London as an insurance underwriter and who posts videos to YouTube under the user name, 4ChordsNoNet.

He shot the footage on Wrythe Lane in Sutton, south west London, and the case has now gone to court.

John told us: "It was about 9pm and I was on my way home from work, having got up at 6am.

"I know that I should have ridden in primary through the pinch point, but I hadn't had my dinner yet, and I was cold, tired, wet and hungry.

"Hurricane Aileen was about to hit the UK and it was very windy and wet.

"I was aware of the bus coming up behind me, but was shocked to see it squeeze through at that point, which is why I swore as I did.

"I managed to catch up with the driver at the bus stop about 200 metres further down the road, but he simply looked at me, refused to say anything and drove off.

"I reported the incident to both TfL [Transport for London] and the police. 

"TfL apologised and contacted the bus company, Abellio, who in turn came came to me and also apologised and advised that the driver had been sent back to their training school for corrective driving sessions, and a copy of the incident will be kept on his file.

"The police advised that the driver was traced and issued with a Conditional Offer of a Fixed Penalty Notice which carried a £100 fine and 3 penalty points.

"The driver contacted me via my YouTube channel to apologise, however, what shocked me was that whilst he accepts that what he did was wrong, he would have done the same thing, had he been driving his car.

"He said: 'I got over confident when I saw the gap and knew i could make it through but it's something I should have done in my car and not the bus'."

 

 

 

 

Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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14 comments

Avatar
HarrogateSpa | 6 years ago
3 likes

The issue is not the road design but the attitude of drivers.

I tend to disagree. The attitude of some drivers is poor, but very difficult to change. We could have massive publicity campaigns, and proper, rigorous, funded enforcement from the police, but I see no evidence that that's going to happen.

On my regular rides, I know exactly the places I'm likely to encounter trouble, and that's due to road design + unthinking driving. The best way to eliminate the problem is to design the road so that drivers can't be daft and inconsiderate.

The road can be designed better at pinch points caused by pedestrian refuges, by including a bypass for cyclists.

Avatar
ubercurmudgeon | 6 years ago
3 likes

There are lots of people on the roads who learnt to drive in original Minis, which were about 1.4 metres wide, plus tiny flappy wing-mirrors, but now own Range Rovers and other SUVs that are over 2 metres wide, plus wing-mirrors filled with electric motors and heating elements. Even for slightly younger people, who learnt to drive in, say, a Mini Metro, at 1.55 metres wide, that's still roughly the width of a road bike's handlebars they sometimes forget they no longer have to play with when squeezing past a cyclist. And that's not even counting the extra width of the cars coming the other way. And "war on the motorist" types like Rees-Mogg have the temerity to claim we're "hogging the road". But for a public transport driver, charged with ensuring the safety of all around, such lapses in judgement indicate a change of career would be adviseable.

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Beecho | 6 years ago
0 likes

Some Santander Cycle docking stations have been placed in such dangerous positions on busy roads, especially when users often pull the bikes out without looking. Here’s the first one I pass on the commute home, just after a busy junction where most motorists are busting a gut to make the lights. Genius at work.

Avatar
HarrogateSpa | 6 years ago
5 likes

Pedestrians are considered more vulnerable than cyclists as they are frequently the very young, the very old and the physically disabled hence pinch points. They are also suppose to slow motorists traffic down.

Cyclists on the other hand are frequently shown in surveys as being mainly white fit young men.

Have you ever wondered why cyclists are mainly fit young men?

On a bike, you share the road with traffic, without the physical protection of a kerb afforded to people walking on pavements. Is it possible that everyone else who might like to cycle has been bullied off the road?

Road design should allow for everyone to cycle, not just those currently prepared to brave the conditions.

 

Avatar
scouser_andy | 6 years ago
3 likes

What many people seem to forget is traffic-calming measures are there to slow traffic down, making it safer for everyone and give pedestrians places to cross.

 

Instead, some drivers see them either as challenges to slalom around, even if people on bikes make the space even smaller. This chap fits in to that catagory as far as I see it.

Avatar
Housecathst | 6 years ago
10 likes

 “I got over confident when I saw the gap and knew i could make it through”

What is this, The fast and the furious, or driving a BUS, somebody take this mans license off him before he kills somebody. 

Avatar
burtthebike | 6 years ago
13 likes

Pinch points always frighten me, and many drivers respond very badly if you take primary going through them.  Yet another road feature designed without any consideration of cyclists, and one where the unintended consequences are ignored in favour of making things safer for pedestrians.

I'm all in favour of making things safer for pedestrians, but only if that doesn't make it more dangerous for other people.

Big thumbs up to the police for sorting this one.

Avatar
brooksby replied to burtthebike | 6 years ago
5 likes

burtthebike wrote:

Pinch points always frighten me, and many drivers respond very badly if you take primary going through them.  Yet another road feature designed without any consideration of cyclists, and one where the unintended consequences are ignored in favour of making things safer for pedestrians.

I'm all in favour of making things safer for pedestrians, but only if that doesn't make it more dangerous for other people.

Big thumbs up to the police for sorting this one.

Theres a pinch point on my commute: unsignalled crossing for pedestrians, so there's an island. If I don't take primary then following cars try to squeeze through next to me; if I do take primary then they overtake the island as well as me, passing the wrong side of the island...

Avatar
Bluebug replied to burtthebike | 6 years ago
2 likes
burtthebike wrote:

Pinch points always frighten me, and many drivers respond very badly if you take primary going through them.  Yet another road feature designed without any consideration of cyclists, and one where the unintended consequences are ignored in favour of making things safer for pedestrians.

I'm all in favour of making things safer for pedestrians, but only if that doesn't make it more dangerous for other people.

Pedestrians are considered more vulnerable than cyclists as they are frequently the very young, the very old and the physically disabled hence pinch points. They are also suppose to slow motorists traffic down.

Cyclists on the other hand are frequently shown in surveys as being mainly white fit young men.

Oh and I have no problem pissing other drivers off. Then again I'm not like the majority of cyclists in surveys...

Avatar
burtthebike replied to Bluebug | 6 years ago
2 likes

Bluebug wrote:
burtthebike wrote:

Pinch points always frighten me, and many drivers respond very badly if you take primary going through them.  Yet another road feature designed without any consideration of cyclists, and one where the unintended consequences are ignored in favour of making things safer for pedestrians.

I'm all in favour of making things safer for pedestrians, but only if that doesn't make it more dangerous for other people.

Pedestrians are considered more vulnerable than cyclists as they are frequently the very young, the very old and the physically disabled hence pinch points. They are also suppose to slow motorists traffic down. Cyclists on the other hand are frequently shown in surveys as being mainly white fit young men. Oh and I have no problem pissing other drivers off. Then again I'm not like the majority of cyclists in surveys...

"Pedestrians are considered............"

While cyclists aren't.

Avatar
BehindTheBikesheds replied to burtthebike | 6 years ago
3 likes

burtthebike wrote:

Pinch points always frighten me, and many drivers respond very badly if you take primary going through them.  Yet another road feature designed without any consideration of cyclists, and one where the unintended consequences are ignored in favour of making things safer for pedestrians.

I'm all in favour of making things safer for pedestrians, but only if that doesn't make it more dangerous for other people.

Big thumbs up to the police for sorting this one.

I have a pedestrian refuge on the 40mph link road from the town centre to the motorway, it's easier going to the town as there's a bend coming off an elongated roundabout so I'm central and doing around 20 off the bend. Coming away from town and toward home vehicles are already at 40 and more and the number of times I've had vehicles cutting across at the last second or pulling up sharply from behind is a twice weekly event easily.

The stupid thing is the 'refuge' is a short distance from a crossing at the roundabout further up where it's safer to cross and goes straight onto a footpath into the estate and in the opposite direction an underpass that joins two estates.

I put the point to the highways that this decreased safety for vulnerable road users and was not used by peds (I did a count for a week at school times) and to get it removed because it's the only road that leads to the town unless I cycle in the oposite direction on the loop road around the estate and come out 400m East of the roundabout where the top crossing is for peds, basically adding to my journey.

It's so bloody infuriating, if they can't remove them at least massively reduce the speed limit given peds are crossing so simply putting in a 15mph speed limit through pedestrian refuges with speed cameras either side for motors would stop this and add to safety for peds too.  

Avatar
John Smith replied to burtthebike | 6 years ago
1 like

burtthebike wrote:

Pinch points always frighten me, and many drivers respond very badly if you take primary going through them.  Yet another road feature designed without any consideration of cyclists, and one where the unintended consequences are ignored in favour of making things safer for pedestrians.

I'm all in favour of making things safer for pedestrians, but only if that doesn't make it more dangerous for other people.

Big thumbs up to the police for sorting this one.

 

They should make things safer for cyclists, as they should slow traffic and inhibit overtaking on busy roads. The issue is not the road design but the attitude of drivers. Ultimately if a driver wants to be dangerous no amount of road design will stop it. Totally segregated cycle ways might, but that would not be practical for the whole country. 

 

The police look very poorly on people overtaking round pedestrian islands. I have known someone get three points and a fine for filtering past stationary traffic on a motorbike round one, and most people would never dream of going to wrong way round one to pass a car, but the attitude towards cyclists is what is at fault.

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ktache | 6 years ago
3 likes

Extra training worked then.

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CXR94Di2 | 6 years ago
5 likes

'I got over confident when I saw the gap and knew i could make it through but it's something I should have done in my car and not the bus'."

Wtf. He still doesn't get it. You don't overtake at pinch points. Riders please adopt a more central position whilst approaching pinch points. Always be lit like Xmas tree so drivers know there isn't the space to overtake.

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