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Near Miss of the Day 841: Impatient drivers squeeze past cyclists on dark country lane

Two for the price of one on today's near miss.....

Not one but two close passes for today's Near Miss of the Day...

Both on a dark, narrow Kent lane near Boxley, nearing a corner, the first with the added danger of an oncoming vehicle.

The second of the two less than a few seconds after the first. So close behind, in fact, that the driver had to abort their overtake to avoid hitting the oncoming vehicle which itself was forced to stop to avoid being hit by the first driver...

> Near Miss of the Day 840: Cyclist narrowly avoids collision with motorist who doesn't wait at roundabout

The second of our poorly overtaking drivers then pulls up alongside the first cyclist for a few seconds before accelerating away towards the upcoming bend in the road.

Just another evening cycling on British roads...

This incident was not reported to the police, the road.cc reader who submitted it did not say why, but to help others with the process we are this week putting together a guide for how to report your video footage of dangerous driving and what to do if you capture a near miss (or worse) on camera.

> Near Miss of the Day turns 100 —a 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.

Dan joined road.cc in 2020, and spent most of his first year (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. At the start of 2022 he took on the role of news editor. Before joining road.cc, Dan wrote about various sports, including football and boxing for the Daily Express, and covered the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for The Non-League Paper. Part of the generation inspired by the 2012 Olympics, Dan has been 'enjoying' life on two wheels ever since and spends his weekends making bonk-induced trips to the petrol stations of the south of England.

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28 comments

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Eton Rifle | 1 year ago
8 likes

I suspect that the "two for one" thing is further confirmation that many drivers simply follow the car in front and don't look ahead, plan their driving or even think for themselves.

Didn't somebody do a study where they found that if the first driver overtakes a cyclist at a safe distance, there's a more than even chance that the rest of the drivers behind will do the same thing? And vice versa, of course.

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Bungle_52 | 1 year ago
13 likes

If you report an incident the driver may get away with it. If you don't report it the driver will definitely get away with it.

I'll carry on reporting in an attempt to make our roads safer for cyclists but I'm not under any illusions about how effective my reports will be.

Reporting also helps me to keep calm after being on the receiving end of inconsiderate or dangerous driving. No idea why, it just does.

Having said all that my personal experience is that most drivers are more considerate since the highway code changes. That could have something to do with my riding more assertively though. I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have been so close to the edge of the road with oncoming traffic.

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a1white | 1 year ago
12 likes

Was out on the south coast of Spain, near Malaga, over Christmas, visiting my parents who spend a few months out in the sun at winter. I hired a bike for a day to go out for a ride up into the nearby mountains (Mijas). I was a bit worried about the lack of bike lanes in the area and some busy looking (and twisty) roads. I needent had bothered, the drivers were so patient and polite it was quite unbelievable how *every* driver would stay well behind you until it was safe to pass by and then do so completely in the other lane. Really was an absolute pleasure to cycle there. The 2 closest passes (which really were not close by UK standards) were by a French and Dutch car. Coming back to the London, is depressing. Just last night had a car trying to squeeze past at an impossible place, at a pinch point, rather than hold back for litterally 2 seconds. Why are our driving standards and attitudes to cycling SO bad in the UK? The clip here sums it up. Something needs to change.

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eburtthebike replied to a1white | 1 year ago
1 like

What!  Surely the new HC rules have changed everyone's behaviour?

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lonpfrb replied to eburtthebike | 1 year ago
1 like
eburtthebike wrote:

What!  Surely the new HC rules have changed everyone's behaviour?

Not so much. What it has done is provided more clarity on what is due care and attention when passing cyclists, specifically the 1.5metre minimum and more above 30mph, i.e. use the other lane, just like you would passing another tin box.

What this enables is Avoidance not just Outrage and Evidence reports. Collecting actionable evidence is both expensive and risky, with no certainty that any action will be taken. Avoidance is cheap and easy, just a couple of pounds for 1.5m of 2cm plastic pipe and some gaffer tape to hold it on provides a clear visual aid to the spacially challenged road users. While it remains an unusual thing, it gets the attention needed to ensure that close passes do not happen. Simples!

The only negative feedback I've had using this has been from the very stupid or most irresponsible road users, whom I do intend to frustrate in their bad behaviour...

Everyone else seems to accept and give space as HWC suggests that they should. My local Police are supportive and see the public good in keeping their time for more serious traffic crime. On the very rare occasion that someone does hit the pipe, I have excellent video and physical evidence. Nobody can say: can't tell how close that was..

Ride safe and far

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wtjs replied to a1white | 1 year ago
5 likes

Why are our driving standards and attitudes to cycling SO bad in the UK?

Because the attitudes of the police in the UK to cycling are SO bad

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hutchdaddy replied to a1white | 1 year ago
8 likes

I had exactly the same experience in Malaga 30 years ago, brilliant. At one point a lorry driver gave me a gentle toot. I was getting ready my third favourite hand signal when I realised it was just to let me know they were there. A few minutes later when the road was clear and safe they passed giving me far more space that I needed, there was a smiling face and a wave from the driver and I reciprocated.
Living in London at the time this was not an experience I'd had before.

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joe9090 | 1 year ago
8 likes

"Must get in front! Must be an utter %unt!"

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eburtthebike | 1 year ago
7 likes

"This incident was not reported to the police, the road.cc reader who submitted it did not say why, but to help others with the process we are this week putting together a guide for how to report your video footage of dangerous driving and what to do if you capture a near miss (or worse) on camera."

I don't understand why people do not report dangerous driving.  It has to be a public and personal good to get dangerous drivers off the road, and if nobody reports them, they just keep doing it until someone is killed.

As for the guide to reporting such incidents, brilliant.  I look forward to seeing it.

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hawkinspeter replied to eburtthebike | 1 year ago
4 likes

eburtthebike wrote:

I don't understand why people do not report dangerous driving.  It has to be a public and personal good to get dangerous drivers off the road, and if nobody reports them, they just keep doing it until someone is killed.

There can be a variety of reasons.

Maybe the cyclist fears retaliation, or possibly the footage may include some rule breaking of their own. Also, the cyclist may have lost faith in their police force acting on it, and so doesn't feel like there's any point to submitting it (which may be understandable, but it is still worth racking up their number of complaints for not doing their job).

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Awavey replied to eburtthebike | 1 year ago
2 likes

well Id probably not have reported that one or two, Ive partly lost faith in the process anyway, but it was also creating within me more stress and anxiety than if I just let it go, as it ends up feeling like youre the one being punished by being made to relive it all the time because you cant stop thinking about it.

Id still report the really really dangerous ones, or if I got hit, but Im done with reporting ones like that.

 

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sl2000 replied to eburtthebike | 1 year ago
1 like

Quote:

to help others with the process we are this week putting together a guide for how to report your video footage of dangerous driving and what to do if you capture a near miss (or worse) on camera.

I'm interested to see the guide too.

eburtthebike wrote:

I don't understand why people do not report dangerous driving.

For me in Sussex I think I need to submit via https://reports.operationcrackdown.org/asdprs/. They say they had 1165 reports in December from which 65 NIPs were issued - with only 7 of those not being dealt with via a training course. They also say that...

Quote:

Please note that due to optimising the admin time spent on processing reports we will not be able to offer an update on reports that are submitted.

So to me it seems pointless sending in footage if I'm not going to get any feedback on whether anything was done with it; and the average stats show that nothing much is done in 99% of submissions.

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cononleylad replied to eburtthebike | 1 year ago
10 likes

Long time lurker, first time commenter.

I reported a very close pass (max 50cm) to North Yorks police late December which they rejected so i complained and this was part of their email response;

"The changes in the Highway code which came in at the beginning of the year are not legislation. They are guidance. There is no offence of “close pass”. The offence would fall under Driving without due care and attention. Distances can not be measured, cameras can give distorted views as we do not know if they are fisheye, wide angled lenses etc.

In August this year a case of a vehicle passing the cyclist without due care was put to the Court and the Court dismissed it for lack of evidence.  The Magistrates considered the camera could be deceptive and cannot be relied upon as proof of distance of the size of the gap.  I’m sure you might be disappointed with that result but it is the role of ourselves and the dedicated decision makers to decide what is put before the Courts and they have to believe there is sufficient evidence to prove it. "

So, as someone else has said, why bother?

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Hirsute replied to cononleylad | 1 year ago
5 likes

This is where we need a national standard. Inspector Kev of this parish said his force ask for a still from the camera with distance markings on it. Also that they have a mat that can be used (possibly via bike shops) to set up the still.

This provides a way to give a good measurement of the distance from the bike.

 

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hawkinspeter replied to cononleylad | 1 year ago
8 likes

cononleylad wrote:

Long time lurker, first time commenter.

I reported a very close pass (max 50cm) to North Yorks police late December which they rejected so i complained and this was part of their email response;

"The changes in the Highway code which came in at the beginning of the year are not legislation. They are guidance. There is no offence of “close pass”. The offence would fall under Driving without due care and attention. Distances can not be measured, cameras can give distorted views as we do not know if they are fisheye, wide angled lenses etc.

In August this year a case of a vehicle passing the cyclist without due care was put to the Court and the Court dismissed it for lack of evidence.  The Magistrates considered the camera could be deceptive and cannot be relied upon as proof of distance of the size of the gap.  I’m sure you might be disappointed with that result but it is the role of ourselves and the dedicated decision makers to decide what is put before the Courts and they have to believe there is sufficient evidence to prove it. "

So, as someone else has said, why bother?

That sounds like a load of bollocks from the police.

If they're pursuing "driving without due care and attention", then they don't need a calibrated camera to work out the distance. If a simple overtake can cause fear of injury to a cyclist, then obviously the driving is not careful. It's blatantly obvious when looking at cam footage that you have sensible overtakes and then you have the obviously close passes that make you wince when watching. There can be a gray area where you're not too sure from the footage, but it'd be unusual for a cyclist to post that kind of footage unless they felt in danger at the time.

Most crimes have far less evidence than actual camera footage of the incident, so it's a cop-out by the police and courts (assuming the police aren't just lying).

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wtjs replied to cononleylad | 1 year ago
7 likes

Magistrates considered the camera could be deceptive and cannot be relied upon as proof of distance of the size of the gap

Sure they do! What they mean is 'for passing anyone who is not a police officer there is no such thing as photographic evidence of close passing'. This is Sainsbury's 44 tonner YN67 MVJ. Lancashire Constabulary did not, of course, respond to this

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Rendel Harris replied to cononleylad | 1 year ago
4 likes

Sorry to hear that, what a nonsense excuse. You only have to look at the NMOTD videos on here to see that with most of them the only argument can be whether the car passed at 20cm or 30cm. In addition, if the police/prosecutors put some effort in it's almost always possible to calculate the distance, e.g. if you know the width of the lane to the centre line and the width of the motor vehicle it's not difficult to calculate the size of the gap the driver left for the cyclist; cyclists are roughly the same width so you can make a pretty good estimate of how close the car was. I wonder if we're going to see more of that as an excuse.

Entirely up to you but if you still have the video it would be interesting to see!

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BalladOfStruth replied to Rendel Harris | 1 year ago
5 likes

Exactly, there's almost always enough other stuff in frame to work out roughly how far the vehicle was from you.

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AlsoSomniloquism replied to BalladOfStruth | 1 year ago
2 likes

Or you could always reach over and demonstrate how close the car is to the cyclist, but then other commentators state it is ok to be threatened/punched by drivers in circumstances and the Police decide the cyclist provoked the driver. 

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AidanR replied to cononleylad | 1 year ago
6 likes

I hadn't realised that the decision of a magistrate was binding on all other courts, and the police force to boot.

If any of these people actually cycled they'd realise that close passes are actually a lot closer than they appear on camera.

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Rendel Harris replied to AidanR | 1 year ago
4 likes

AidanR wrote:

I hadn't realised that the decision of a magistrate was binding on all other courts, and the police force to boot.

It isn't of course, but once a loophole of this sort is introduced and becomes accepted in one force it won't be long before it's added to the standard repertoire of excuses for NFA from others.  

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wycombewheeler replied to AidanR | 1 year ago
3 likes

AidanR wrote:

I hadn't realised that the decision of a magistrate was binding on all other courts, and the police force to boot. If any of these people actually cycled they'd realise that close passes are actually a lot closer than they appear on camera.

not sure as to whether it is binding, or if the police just give up after failing to prosecute on this basis.

CPS prosecute a case, magistrate toad of toad hall dismisses the case, or jury of bad drivers consider it is too close to their own driving to convict, repeat, repat, repeat - eventually they stop trying,, and then so do the police.

Then when someone die on the roads, there is a big investigation - what caused this? and a significant factor is that the entire legal system is rigged to tolerate bad driving.

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AlsoSomniloquism replied to AidanR | 1 year ago
0 likes

They probably think it was the high court and the argument over the "use" of a mobile phone.

Although the other option is this was local to the Police, and they know this Magistrate is car-centric and is full time so that is what made the decision for them.

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alansmurphy replied to cononleylad | 1 year ago
4 likes

It is frightening that Police forces who will contain officers with children and.or know people who cycle and/or will have cleared up the mess following incidents feel this way.

 

'Investigation' often doesn't need to be tricky based on the width of the lane and position of the car relative to the position of the cyclist. I recently had a driver claim he did nothing wrong as he hadn't broken the double white line, I asked him what he thought the width of the lane was then googled for him the width of his car plus my handlebars to demonstrate that there was no possible way he could have left 1.5m.

 

At which point he called me an 'arrogant f*cker' presumably by way of apology  3

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eburtthebike replied to alansmurphy | 1 year ago
2 likes

alansmurphy wrote:

At which point he called me an 'arrogant f*cker' presumably by way of apology  3

It is an interesting phenomenon that people who are corrected in their mistakes are not happy about having their ignorance removed, they just get angry at whoever has proved them wrong.

"You should never be ashamed to admit you have been wrong. It only proves you are wiser today than yesterday“ — Jonathan Swift
 

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wycombewheeler replied to alansmurphy | 1 year ago
3 likes

alansmurphy wrote:

I recently had a driver claim he did nothing wrong as he hadn't broken the double white line,

exactly the problem, breaching those white lines is more concerning to some drivers than endangering the life of another human.

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wycombewheeler replied to cononleylad | 1 year ago
1 like

cononleylad wrote:

... Distances can not be measured, cameras can give distorted views as we do not know if they are fisheye, wide angled lenses etc.

...

Solution? - bang on every car that you film close passing you, because you know what can be measured, constable enabler? The length of my f***ing arm.

And I know for a fact it is far below the recomended 1.5m  (0.6m)

No whatabaoutery or obfuscation about fish eye lenses can change the fact that i can only rech a car with 0.6m of me. Know if they can see that passing with less than half the recomeneded distance is driving with due care and attention, then they are really saying - anything goes on the roads, look out for yourself.

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Car Delenda Est replied to wycombewheeler | 1 year ago
0 likes
wycombewheeler wrote:

"Prove that it was my arm, officer.

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