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Near Miss of the Day 891: “Inconsistency” of police response to dangerous driving slammed as driver avoids punishment for squeezing between cyclist and oncoming car

“Rather than wait a few milliseconds for a safe pass, they missed hitting me by a few centimetres. But two pretty much identical incidents can have very different responses,” the cyclist said

In January, you may recall, North Yorkshire Police received the Near Miss of the Day treatment after a cyclist accused them of lacking transparency and not taking “enough action” against dangerous drivers who threaten the lives of vulnerable road users. Now, just over a month later, it’s the turn of their colleagues in West Yorkshire to face criticism for what one cyclist – who was recently close passed by “centimetres” by an impatient motorist, right into the path of an oncoming vehicle – believes to be the force’s inconsistency when it comes to dealing with near miss submissions.

As the road.cc reader who sent us the footage noted, today’s featured incident is a “fairly typical” one, a classic case of MGIF (Must Get in Front) mentality from a motorist, willing to squeeze between a cyclist and an oncoming driver, instead of waiting a few seconds to pass safely.

But, despite the depressing inevitably of such behaviour on the road, it’s the unpredictability of the police’s response to very similar types of close passes – the driver in this case escaped punishment after West Yorkshire Police reviewed the footage – that baffles our reader the most.

> Near Miss of the Day 775: Two videos highlight inconsistency in close pass enforcement

“This is a fairly typical incident,” the cyclist tells road.cc of the nature of the close pass, which took place on the A657 Rodley Lane, in Calverley, near Leeds on the afternoon of 7 February.

“Despite my high vis and two rear lights, the driver of the car decided to squeeze between me and the oncoming car, rather than wait a few milliseconds for a safe pass. They missed hitting me by a few centimetres.”

Near Miss of the Day 891

The cyclist continued: “The upsetting thing here is that I’ve submitted this to West Yorkshire Police, who have decided not to follow up with the driver. As they aren’t replying to my messages, I can only presume that this is because it isn’t considered a dangerous pass.

“The thing that gets me is the inconsistency of submissions to the police. Two pretty much identical incidents can have very different responses, and this appears to be due to whatever officer is viewing the footage.

“The police, as is standard, will never admit they are wrong. I’m absolutely convinced that if a different officer had viewed my footage, there would be a different result.”

> Near Miss of the Day 889: Police refuse to act on cyclist’s submission and claim they require the “bike to be visible in the footage” to determine a close pass

Nevertheless, the cyclist insists that they will continue to submit instances of dangerous and careless driving to the police, despite the force’s perceived procedural inconsistency.

“I’ll continue to submit my footage,” he says. “I think around 85 per cent of my submissions are followed by a Notice of Intended Prosecution, so the police can do their job sometimes. Most submissions are close passes, with the occasional driver doing something ludicrous like driving on the wrong side of the road.”

> Near Miss of the Day 885: Cyclist accuses police of lack of transparency after “life-threatening” close pass by taxi driver towards oncoming car

This latest criticism of the police response in Yorkshire to close passes follows accusations of a lack of transparency aimed at officers in the north of the country, after both the force and the local council failed to provide details of the specific action taken against a taxi driver who committed a “life-threatening” close pass on a cyclist towards an oncoming vehicle.

road.cc reader James was cycling in the Yorkshire Dales on the B6160 leading into Kettlewell from Kilnsey, on 9 October last year, when he was left “fearing for my life” as a North Yorkshire Council-licensed taxi driver chose to overtake him on the narrow road as an oncoming motorist approached, leaving James “just inches of space” and forcing the oncoming driver to brake sharply to avoid a collision.

Following the close pass, James submitted footage of the incident to both North Yorkshire Police, via the force’s Operation Snap portal, and the council’s licensing department.

North Yorkshire Police responded swiftly to James’ report, advising the cyclist that they had taken “positive action”, such as “educational letters, courses, training, penalty points, and/or fine and court attendance”.

However, James said that, despite several requests, the police “repeatedly refused to clarify what specific action was actually taken”, a response the cyclist claimed left him with “very low confidence” that North Yorkshire Police “are doing enough to protect vulnerable road users”.

in a statement provided to road.cc, North Yorkshire Council clarified that a warning letter was issued to the taxi driver in November “to remind him of his obligations”, and asserted that any future indiscretions on the road could lead to him losing his licence.

The local authority also noted that North Yorkshire Police took “subsequent action” to address the cyclist’s concerns “from a roads policing perspective”.

> 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 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.

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

Ryan joined road.cc in December 2021 and since then has kept the site’s readers and listeners informed and enthralled (well at least occasionally) on news, the live blog, and the road.cc Podcast. After boarding a wrong bus at the world championships and ruining a good pair of jeans at the cyclocross, he now serves as road.cc’s senior news writer. Before his foray into cycling journalism, he wallowed in the equally pitiless world of academia, where he wrote a book about Victorian politics and droned on about cycling and bikes to classes of bored students (while taking every chance he could get to talk about cycling in print or on the radio). He can be found riding his bike very slowly around the narrow, scenic country lanes of Co. Down.

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17 comments

Avatar
Greenpedal | 1 month ago
0 likes

I am so sick of whinging cyclists. Who cares if it's a near miss, it's still a miss.
I often feel it's about revenge and ego with a lot of these holier than thou, amateur policeman cyclists.

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chrisonabike replied to Greenpedal | 1 month ago
9 likes

Couldn't disagree more - Whinging Cyclists first album "Holier Than Thou" was a bluegrass classic, with the banjo on "Pickin' Quarrels" a stand out! Although the DIY music videos (especially for "Amateur Policeman") featuring members of the public assaulting them divided critics.

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perce replied to chrisonabike | 1 month ago
8 likes

I've got their live album '' From under the troll bridge''. It's not very good.

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chrisonabike replied to perce | 1 month ago
5 likes

They did get a bit shouty after they nearly had a major hit, true... perhaps a little bitter that no- one took them seriously?

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Rendel Harris replied to Greenpedal | 1 month ago
5 likes

Greenpedal wrote:

if it's a near miss, it's still a miss careless or dangerous driving and so illegal

FTFY

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Mr Hoopdriver replied to Rendel Harris | 1 month ago
4 likes

I've often wondered why we use "near miss" and not "near hit".

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Spangly Shiny replied to Mr Hoopdriver | 1 month ago
3 likes

Must be the same reason that missiles are so called instead of hittiles

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brooksby replied to Greenpedal | 1 month ago
8 likes

I think that the usual analogy on here is: when someone swings a baseball bat at you, close enough for you to feel air movement but not actually making contact with you, would you just shrug and say, "Well, they didn't hit me so it's all good"? No - I didn't think so 

Avatar
chrisonabike replied to brooksby | 1 month ago
1 like
brooksby wrote:

I think that the usual analogy on here is: when someone swings a baseball bat at you, close enough for you to feel air movement but not actually making contact with you, would you just shrug and say, "Well, they didn't hit me so it's all good"? No - I didn't think so 

Ah, but swinging a baseball bat near people in public is not anyone's idea of a normal action!

I'm sure all the usual arguments / unexamined feelings are swirling around like "but driving is not just for recreation / has purpose / we *have to drive*" - and contrasting with "cycling is recreation / no-one *has* to cycle, it's a choice". And "but the roads are *for* motor vehicles; cyclists are *choosing* to be there so it's their look-out".

I sometimes (not that often...) think some of these "unorthodox thinkers" here actually do us a favour. Partly by reminding us all of what "commonsense" holds but ideally prompting us to examine our own positions again, or in more detail.

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Hirsute replied to Greenpedal | 1 month ago
6 likes

Didn't take long to show your true colours.

Of course you have no experience of close passes as by your own admission you pull over or cycle on the pavement as soon as traffic appears.
That is, if you even cycle at all.

Did you even realise you are slagging off several posters on this site?

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marmotte27 replied to Hirsute | 1 month ago
2 likes

Greenpedal gone in ten, nine, eight...

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Bungle_52 | 1 month ago
3 likes

Inconsistency between forces and even in the same force (as here) has been an issue for a number of years now. I doubt it was helped by the reduction in police numbers and although it is claimed by the government that these cuts have been reversed there is now more crime to deal with and the numbers have been bolstered by new recruits who need time to be trained up.

I like to think things are improving slowly but with a number of forces seemingly not giving out information on individual submissions it is difficult to know.

Gloucestershire used to give me immediate feedback but do not give out information as a matter of course since they started using Opsnap in Dec 22. However I have recently discovered that my first 3 submissions in Jan and Feb 23 got warning letters which is a great improvement on the NFA I got for nearly all my previous submissions some of which have been on NMOTD. It looks like things may be back to normal now though with a FOI request revealing that 100% of cyclist's reports in Dec 23 were NFA whereas in Dec 22 it was only 50%.

As for this video I think we can all agree that it's driving without due care and even if the force think they are unlikely to achieve a conviction in court they should definitely be sending a warning letter.

PS Thanks to the OP for taking the time and effort to submit reports to the police on behalf of us all.

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OldRidgeback | 1 month ago
5 likes

That looks pretty close. If the police aren't taking action, there's something wrong with the system.

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mctrials23 replied to OldRidgeback | 1 month ago
4 likes

You would think that you would have some very basic level of statistics against each officer reviewing these things. If someone is well outside of the normal range of escalations then they should be reviewing them. There will 100% be officers who hate cyclists and will basically be ignoring anything they possible can. Peoples safety and the punishment of awful driving shouldn't be in the hands of people who don't seem to understand the highway code or the consequences of bad driving. 

We should also be allowed to request information on whether someone has been caught on camera in these submissions when they do cause an accident so that the old incidents can be looked into to make sure they were dealt with appropriately. Its sad that we should have to do this but how many deaths on our roads are due to "accidents" and how many are due to consistently bad and dangerous driving that finally catches up with people. Considering how many bad drivers there are, I would suggest most fatal accidents are caused by people who shouldn't be on the roads in the first place. 

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ktache replied to mctrials23 | 1 month ago
3 likes

Momentary lapse of concentration/moment of madness.
Honest...

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mctrials23 replied to ktache | 1 month ago
5 likes

Full of remorse...

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wtjs replied to OldRidgeback | 1 month ago
8 likes

If the police aren't taking action, there's something wrong with the system

They aren't, and there is

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