While this latest instalment in our Near Miss of the Day series is far from the most dramatic incident we’ve had submitted to us over the years, the clip – thanks in so small part to the vitriol aimed in the cyclist’s direction by a motorist clearly unhappy at being forced to give way to someone on a bike – nonetheless highlights the often depressing reality of cycling on British roads.
Meanwhile, the cyclist’s experience of dealing with local police forces (spoiler – it’s not great) also emphasises the need for greater resources and will to tackle dangerous and careless driving around cyclists.
The incident, which took place on St Paul’s Hill in Winchester, Hampshire on Thursday evening, saw road.cc reader Nick approach a bin lorry as he made his way up the slope. After slowing to give way to a number of motorists, Nick eventually makes his way between the bin lorry and the row of parked cars on the other side of the road, just as another oncoming driver approaches.
Evidently irked by the need to brake to avoid hitting a person riding a bike, the driver leans out of his car window as Nick passes, telling the cyclist in no uncertain terms to “get off the f***ing road” – an unprompted diatribe that prompts the clearly startled rider to respond: “You’re on camera!”
Nick, who described the encounter as “typical for many cyclists”, has reported the incident to Hampshire Constabulary, through the force’s Hants SNAP reporting portal.
However, he told road.cc that, based on his previous experience of reporting incidents to Hampshire Constabulary, the chances of a follow up are “approaching zero” – despite the county frequently featuring high in the list of UK areas when it comes to the number of road incidents involving cyclists (in 2019, for example, ten percent of the country’s cycling incidents occurred in Hampshire).
“In all the years of close passes, I’ve never had one follow up, and I’ve had several incidents on this stretch of road,” Nick says.
“I cycle into town – around 10 mins – in Winchester to shop or go to the sports centre, several times each week, and I reckon I have an average of one close pass-type incident every 10 minutes, so two a journey.
“Rural roads are dangerous too, and there’s been lots of horrendous footage I’ve submitted, but never acted upon. I cycled daily in London for my commute for about 25 years, before all the bike lanes, but as per many friends, I feel Winchester is far more dangerous.”
He continued: “We have an under-funded local group of cops, who obviously don’t have the resources to deal with this, unless it results in injury of fatality. of which there have been some recently.
“I’ve previously requested close pass data from Hants Road Police, who refused this – under a Freedom of Information request – on the basis of time, cost, and resources. I suspect very little action is taken.
“Do British police forces consider cyclists as legitimate road kill?”
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 Twitter or 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.
Ryan joined road.cc as a news writer in December 2021. He has written about cycling and some ball-centric sports for various websites, newspapers, magazines and radio. Before returning to writing about cycling full-time, he completed a PhD in History and published a book and numerous academic articles on religion and politics in Victorian Britain and Ireland (though he remained committed to boring his university colleagues and students with endless cycling trivia). He can be found riding his bike very slowly through the Dromara Hills of Co. Down.