Support road.cc

Like this site? Help us to make it better.

Near Miss of the Day 869: U-turning motorist veers into cycle lane and almost hits cargo bike rider and seven-year-old daughter

“I think you can see her dab the brakes a little in a moment of indecision before ploughing ahead anyway”

The adage ‘paint is not protection’ is a well worn one by now within cycling circles, but its continued importance in the debate on cycling infrastructure was underlined this weekend for one cargo bike rider from Staffordshire, who narrowly avoided colliding with a clumsily U-turning motorist – while riding in a painted cycle lane.

road.cc reader Jim and his seven-year-old daughter were on their way back from a carnival in the Staffordshire market town of Rugeley yesterday when a motorist, travelling in the opposite direction, attempted a U-turn. The driver, however, seriously misjudged their turning circle and veered right across into the cycle lane, almost hitting the oncoming cargo bike rider.

> Near Miss of the Day 867: Cyclist gets squeezed out on country road... police's submission email mixup lets driver get away scot-free

The motorist, who was also driving an untaxed car, has been reported by the cyclist to Staffordshire Police.

***Warning: The following video contains some strong language***

“We live in a village not far from Rugeley town and we’re lucky enough to have a short, quiet rural lane before we join the cycle lane along the main town road. Not segregated unfortunately and dashed lines so drivers park in it but it’s not usually too much of a bother. It’s a 40mph road though,” Jim told road.cc.

“So, rather than taking the car the short journey, I take my cargo e-bike which has small person carrying ability. We do the journey quite a lot to pop into town. We always wear hi vis, helmets, and helmet cam just in case.”

> Near Miss of the Day 868: Warning for driver who mounted pavement and drove into cyclist after rider's emergency stop to avoid collision

Describing the near miss, Jim continued: “This driver was clearly inexperienced and was attempting to do a U-turn from the opposite carriageway but fluffed the turning circle and veered into the cycle lane.

“As you can see from the footage, the driver had clear visibility of us before they attempted their manoeuvre. I think you can see her dab the brakes a little in a moment of indecision before ploughing ahead anyway.

“To be fair, I did go a bit mental with the expletives but when your child’s life is in danger you just react.

“I reported the driver to Staffordshire police and am currently waiting for a reply to upload the footage. I have been through this process before and had a good response from the police with a warning letter issued to the driver. This one felt far more serious than the last close pass I reported.”

> 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

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.

Add new comment

30 comments

Avatar
Jimmy Ray Will | 10 months ago
0 likes

I am sure nothing will happen from this, purely due to the illegal use of the horn (by the cyclist) and excessive use of inflammatory and abusive language. 

The video can not be submitted as evidence in court without it raising significant questions. Not related to the motorist's actions, but that's not the point... a jury / magistrate will struggle to review the evidence objectively. 

At least I'm sure that will be the thought process of the officer initially tasked with reviewing the footage. 

Avatar
HoldingOn replied to Jimmy Ray Will | 10 months ago
2 likes
Quote:

Subject to the following paragraphs, no person shall sound, or cause or permit to be sounded, any horn, gong, bell or siren fitted to or carried on a vehicle which is—

(a)stationary on a road, at any time, other than at times of danger due to another moving vehicle on or near the road; or

(b)in motion on a restricted road, between 23.30 hours and 07.00 hours in the following morning.

https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/1986/1078/regulation/99/made

I think the cyclist was in the "times of danger due to another moving vehicle on or near the road" element. Both hands will have been braking during the imminent danger move, but once the vehicle starts to move away the danger hasn't passed - there is still a chance the cyclist could be off balance due to heavy braking. they are alerting other road users that they might move more than expected.

Avatar
saftlad replied to HoldingOn | 10 months ago
1 like

The legislation is not relevant.

OP was not stationary, and it was clearly daylight hours (I assume after 7am since they had attended a carnival)

Avatar
iandusud replied to HoldingOn | 10 months ago
0 likes

The swearing and use of horn should not have any influence on judging the action of the motorist. But if it really is of concern I would suggest uploading the video without sound. 

Avatar
Jimmy Ray Will replied to HoldingOn | 10 months ago
0 likes

Sadly my point still stands... rather than looking at the standard of driving in isolation, the legality / appropriateness of the horn use will be at best a distraction if not the key focus.

Likewise, while the motorists actions will be, to a degree, subjectively assessed, however the swearing is an objectively measurable offence.

Two wrongs don't make a right, and it frustrates me saying this stuff, but this is what cyclists, vulnerable road users, police, CPS and judges are up against. 

I hear many comments that the police are anti-cyclist, but I believe the reality is closer to the police are anti wasting their time. 

Avatar
Jimmyhowzer replied to Jimmy Ray Will | 10 months ago
4 likes

Sorry Jimmy but I totally disagree. You sound more insane than I do in this clip! You can't possibly say how my local police will react. There is this assumption that the police are some robot army that will look at all avenues of prosecution regardless of who is the victim, This simply isn't true in my experience.

1) This 'aint my first rodeo. My local police are always supportive, level-headed and care only about the dangerous driving taking place around vulnerable road users. I'm not looking for any criminal prosecution here. I honked to let them know I was there and swore because I thought we were going to be hit. I had a rather unrealisitc belief that they may stop to see if we were OK too! All perfectly natural reactions that any sane person would deem appropriate in this situation. My local police definitely wouldn't consider an incident like this as "wasting time" They're really hot on road safety. Not sure what world you live in but it's clearly very different to mine.

2) It is undertstood that people react in various ways when they feel their life is in danger. Officers I have dealt with before honestly couldn't give a toss what sound my bell makes, when I used it or how much foul language I used. They are more interested in nabbing the untaxed, dangerous driver. In case you haven't noticed, vulnerable road users are a hot topic for police forces right now.

3) There's only ONE wrong here. If you can't see that then I'm not sure why you're on this cycling forum TBH. 

Avatar
HoldingOn replied to Jimmyhowzer | 10 months ago
1 like

I really like your bell for pedestrians, horn for cars setup. I have always wondered how cyclists are meant to alert other non-pedestrian road users to our presence, as a tiny ding from a bell is seldom heard. To be fair - often pedestrians don't hear the ding!

As you've said, police forces differ from place to place. I have also had quite good experiences with my local force (although a few frustrating ones too!) wtjs has had a significantly worse experience with their local police force. Some of their footage is quite shocking!

As for the language - totally understand its use. It is a scary thing to experience especially with your young child being put in danger too. You didn't pursue the driver, yelling obscenities, as drivers have done (you can see it in Jeremy Vine's video in another story) - the swearing was entirely in the heat of the moment.

Avatar
Jimmy Ray Will replied to Jimmyhowzer | 10 months ago
1 like

I'm talking from my experience and from the shared experiences of others. And you may only see one wrong here, but from a legal perspective, you can't be effing and jeffing at people in the street, no matter how warranted. 

I sincerely hope the police do take this forward, but if they don't, my comments might provide some insight into why they didn't.

Of course its stupid that your natural reaction to a dangerous situation should be taken into account when reviewing the footage, and likewise the use of your horn. 

But a magistrate / jury will not review the footage in flight / fight mode, they'll review it with a calm head, the calm head likely of a motorist. They won't naturally make the same connection that we, as cyclists, can as to how you must have felt at that moment. 

And this is what I mean by wasting time. The police issue a notice of intended prosecution to the driver, the driver says 'see you in court', and now that footage is going to be viewed by people with no affinity with cyclists (but plenty with motoring and motorists), who will be looking for any reason to poo poo the whole thing. 

So all the police work needed to get to court will potentially be wasted. If the police can see an obvious 'out' for a jury / magistrate, they will naturally be far less inclined to take action.

I do hope I am being overly cynical, and I wish you every success. 

Avatar
Hirsute replied to Jimmyhowzer | 10 months ago
0 likes

I think you are fortunate to have a sympathic force.

Other forces are hostile - ask wtjs who was threated with prosecution by a sergeant when submitting footage (of course the threat was entirely baseless). Hopefully wtjs will pop up to flesh this out !

The idea of a public order offence mangling things is not unheard of

https://road.cc/content/news/met-police-admit-officer-wrong-over-cyclist...

Avatar
HoarseMann replied to HoldingOn | 10 months ago
2 likes

That legislation (construction and use of road vehicles) doesn't apply to bicycles. There's separate legislation for bicycle construction and use.

I'm pretty sure that none of the laws regarding horn use apply to bicycles.

Avatar
Sriracha replied to HoarseMann | 10 months ago
1 like

In any case, the cyclist is entitled to assume that the motorist did not see them, so use of the horn is appropriate. Moreover, there could be little expectation that the motorist, enclosed in their car, would hear anything the cyclist said, at which point no offence is given by anything they said.

Avatar
saftlad | 10 months ago
8 likes

You swore at the poor, shook-up, motorist and made them fear for their safety.  This will be enough for the Police to do nothing and claim that you caused a breach of the peace irrespective of the driver putting your lives at risk

Avatar
BalladOfStruth replied to saftlad | 10 months ago
8 likes

You jest, but I have seen fairly numerous cases of cyclists being threatened with public order offenses for shouting/swearing in fright when faced with what is essentially attempted murder at the hands of a driver.

Avatar
Aidanliam replied to BalladOfStruth | 10 months ago
0 likes

This looks clearly reckless and shows disregard for the safely of the cyclist and the child passenger. Therefore, regardless of any injury or death, I don't think you can call it "attempted murder" as that requires the intention to kill or seriously injure. It's important to call things as they are.

Avatar
BalladOfStruth replied to Aidanliam | 10 months ago
1 like

Apologies, thought the hyperbole was fairly obvious with that one.

Avatar
OldRidgeback | 10 months ago
6 likes

I think I'd have responded with similar language. I hope the police take action.

Avatar
BIRMINGHAMisaDUMP | 10 months ago
6 likes

Unfortunately that looks fairly typical. The motor vehicle always takes precedent. (In the mind of the motorist) Doubtful the Police will do anything. 

Avatar
Fignon's ghost | 10 months ago
7 likes

The motorist should get points. A cd10 maybe.
The warning letter tells the motorist. You got away with it! Woohoo!
Where's the justice here?

2 vulnerable road users totally let down. Points make prizes. The future is cycling. Fun, healthy and free.

Staffs police. What ya gonna do?

Avatar
Patrick9-32 replied to Fignon's ghost | 10 months ago
10 likes

They were driving without tax in a way which proves beyond any doubt that they are unfit to drive safely. Take their license, crush their car, put them in prison if they are caught driving again. 

We could easily have safe, accessible roads, we just choose not to so we don't inconvenience dangerous drivers. 

Avatar
Rod Marton | 10 months ago
13 likes

Were I the police, I would throw the book at that driver. Definitely far below the expected standard and all that. But I'm not the police and they probably won't. Perhaps an indictment of just how low the expected standard has fallen

Avatar
ktache | 10 months ago
5 likes

Doesn't have to have anything to do with inexperience, it's just normal inconsiderate and dangerous driving. Jags and mercs, with the older gentleman, and taxi drivers for me.

You are on a bicycle, with child, so you are the one who has to take avoiding action.

And drivers a little bit lost are more dangerous than a mother in a vanity behemoth late for the afternoon school pick up...

Avatar
Sriracha replied to ktache | 10 months ago
13 likes
ktache wrote:

You are on a bicycle, with child, so you are the one who has to take avoiding action.

Exactly that. Driver could have pulled the same stunt on any of the preceeding road users, but chose not to. They waited until it was a vulnerable road user - 100% deliberate "it'll hurt them more than me" calculation. And car untaxed since 2 June. Crush it!

Avatar
Lycra Lout replied to ktache | 10 months ago
2 likes

Would they pass the test with that driving? Absolutely not, so inexperience just doesn't cut it.

Avatar
cmedred | 10 months ago
6 likes

That looks like a classic illustration of motonormativity. The driver can surely see the bus lane next to the cycle lane. It would be perfectly normal for her to believe the bike should use that space to move out of the way of her van because this is how motor vehicles have come to make people think. It is the takeover by the machines. 

Avatar
HoarseMann | 10 months ago
15 likes

Slam-dunk careless driving for causing a vulnerable road user to take evasive action whilst performing an illegal U-turn by crossing a solid white line. Surely an FPN is the appropriate action here, or at a push, a driver awareness course.

Avatar
Cupov | 10 months ago
7 likes

Who's on the horn here...surely not the idiot in the car?

Avatar
andystow replied to Cupov | 10 months ago
1 like
Cupov wrote:

Who's on the horn here...surely not the idiot in the car?

Well, you are supposed to use it only to warn of hazards...

Avatar
cmedred replied to Cupov | 10 months ago
0 likes

Good question, and when did the honking start. You can't tell because of Mr. Powell's screaming in fear and anger. Did she honk before the turn to tell him to GTH out of my way? 

Avatar
Jimmyhowzer replied to Cupov | 10 months ago
6 likes

It's the horn on my bike. Bell for pedestrians, horn for cars 😁

Avatar
lukei1 | 10 months ago
14 likes

A warning letter is not a good outcome IMHO, it's the police deciding to do nothing but pretending they are by send a pointless piece of paper

Latest Comments