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Near Miss of the Day 551: Close pass leaves cyclist in shock – driver then offers to donate to charity to stop case going to court

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

The driver who gave a cyclist in Ireland this ultra-close pass offered to make a contribution to a charity of his choice to stop the case going to court – but the rider was having none of it, deciding it was “too little, too late and simply a cynical effort to avoid a prosecution.”

The incident happened near Bantry, County Cork, in September 2019, and we’ll let the road.cc reader who submitted the footage – and who wishes to remain anonymous – take up the story.

“While cycling towards Bantry on a clear and pleasant day, I was overtaken safely overtaken by a number of vehicles. I then checked behind on the approach to a notoriously dangerous junction to observe further traffic coming on from behind.

“At this point I moved out slightly to take primary position in advance of the junction. As I passed the junction, I heard two short sharp blasts of car horn from behind (unfortunately, not audible in the video).

“Almost in reflex, I stretched out my hand by way of asking the driver – ‘What the fuck am I supposed to do here – where do you expect me to go?’. You will see my right hand leaving the shifter.

“I braced myself for a punishment pass, but to my surprise, the white BMW overtook in an orderly fashion. As it passed, I looked to my right expecting to see a grumpy head or a wagging finger, but there was none. The BMW was occupied by a middle-aged gent and a female companion with the driver focused on the road and driving with care.

“Then it came!

“Need I say more? I have never been so dangerously passed or felt so totally helpless on a bike. The simple gust of wind which would have resulted in my grave being opened, thankfully, never came.
“After the initial shot of adrenaline had subsided, I found myself, a few minutes later, walking aimlessly around a hardware store in which I had no business to do whatsoever - I can only surmise that in my shock I choose to get off the road to recover for a little while.”

He continued: “Having reflected on the event, and reviewed the footage, I decided that the correct course of action was to make an official complaint. I submitted the footage and made a statement with the gardai (police) at the local station. The garda responsible for handling my complaint dealt with it in a very professional manner, and kept me informed at all stages of the process, for which I am most grateful.

“Shortly before the case came for hearing (about 3 weeks ago), the garda was contacted by the defendants' solicitor offering a written apology to me and a monetary donation to a charity of my choice (amount not specified).
“I considered his offer but decided it was too little, too late and simply a cynical effort to avoid a prosecution. I decided to leave the matter run its course, allow the law to be exercised, and to live with the decision of the judge.

“The case was up for mention last Thursday. I am informed by the prosecuting garda that the defendant, through his solicitor, offered a charity donation while pleading guilty. He received a conviction for careless driving with attendant penalty points (3 I think?).

“He will furthermore have to pay for the services of his solicitor and face a loading on his motor insurance at his next renewal.

“Hopefully, when he encounters cyclists on the road in future, he will remember to afford them due care and attention.”

> 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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