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Near Miss of the Day 525: Cyclist has to thump on taxi window as driver squeezes him into verge

Our regular series featuring close passes from around the country - today it's Oxfordshire...

A cyclist had to thump on the window of a taxi to attract the attention of a driver who, unable to overtake a tractor and trailer ahead of him, was squeezing him into the grass verge – that’s the scenario of our latest Near Miss of the Day video, shared by road.cc reader Tom.

“I moved from London to Thame (Oxfordshire) ten days before lockdown 1 last year,” Tom told us. “During my three years of commuting from Chiswick to the City I never got round to getting a cycle cam but felt that it’d be more important to get one now I’d be on less busy but faster roads (the new commute is Thame to Oxford).

“However I found out that drivers in Oxfordshire (on the whole) were much better than most in London – That is until recently; from about November I’ve had more frequent close passing and careless/dangerous driving.

“However, I’ve been working from home (no commute currently) and so recently all of my rides have been around my locale, meaning any bad driving I encounter is more than likely to be people from my local area too.

“I will say Thames Valley Police have been excellent with letting me know the outcomes of close passes that I’ve uploaded onto their portal (funnily enough each time the police officer has told me that the person driving the vehicle has said ‘I’m a cyclist myself’).

“I’m sending this video across because I’m still, even now, getting used to riding with a cycle cam and I’m still a bit naive with it,” Tom continued. “This has been a valuable learning experience if I have a similar incident happen to me again.

“This is me about two minutes from home arriving into Thame. There’s a tractor with trailer that passes me (well and with a lot of space), it’s downhill so I’m able to keep a constant speed. The driver of the tractor then lets out another tractor pulling out of a side road (I see this and moderate my speed and position in the road – this part of the road also has some deep potholes on the left so I normally take a bit more of the lane here).

“At the same time a taxi driver (in a seven-seater van) for some reason pulls alongside me (into the opposing lane for vehicles turning right) but then realises he can’t get past me and the two tractors in front. At which point he just starts to pull back in and squeeze me out into the verge.

“At the same time I’m level with the taxi’s passengers (who look a bit confused) and start gesturing for them to have a go at the driver. It gets to the point where I start to hammer on the side of the taxi (the sound is terrible on my camera but you can hear the thwacking) and he eventually pulls back.

“My naivety with cycle camming that I mentioned earlier is that I was just happy to be free of being squeezed so took the chance to establish prime in the lane and be in front – whereas in hindsight I should have pulled up and tried to get the number plate (I can’t even remember the taxi company, but I was being forced off the road so it wasn’t my priority).”

Tom added: “As you can see the lens angle isn’t wide enough for me to see the taxi company and I don’t run a rear camera. I haven’t reported this one to the police because I don’t have any details of the vehicle/company that I can attribute it to (unless someone has any advice on what I can do with this footage?).”

> Near Miss of the Day turns 100 - Why do we do the feature and what have we learnt from it?

Over the years road.cc has reported on literally hundreds of close passes and near misses involving badly driven vehicles from every corner of the country – so many, in fact, that we’ve decided to turn the phenomenon into a regular feature on the site. One day hopefully we will run out of close passes and near misses to report on, but until that happy day arrives, Near Miss of the Day will keep rolling on.

If you’ve caught on camera a close encounter of the uncomfortable kind with another road user that you’d like to share with the wider cycling community please send it to us at info [at] road.cc or send us a message via the road.cc Facebook page.

If the video is on YouTube, please send us a link, if not we can add any footage you supply to our YouTube channel as an unlisted video (so it won't show up on searches).

Please also let us know whether you contacted the police and if so what their reaction was, as well as the reaction of the vehicle operator if it was a bus, lorry or van with company markings etc.

> What to do if you capture a near miss or close pass (or worse) on camera while cycling

Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.

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