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

UPDATE: North Yorkshire Council has told road.cc that a warning letter was issued to the taxi driver “to remind him of his obligations” and that, “in the event of any further concerns, we may consider the driver’s suitability to hold a licence”

A cyclist has accused the police and local council of lacking transparency and not taking “enough action” against dangerous drivers who threaten the lives of vulnerable road users, after the authorities failed to provide details on the specific action taken against a taxi driver who committed a “life-threatening” close pass on the cyclist towards an oncoming vehicle.

However, in a statement provided to road.cc, North Yorkshire Council confirmed 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”.

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.

“Conditions were poor with wet slippery narrow roads and drizzly low cloud and sharp corners limiting visibility. In order to be visible, I was wearing a high visibility clothing and running very bright front and rear flashing day lights,” James told road.cc, describing the “incredibly dangerous” close pass.

> Near Miss of the Day 884: Driver overtakes cyclist on brow of hill towards oncoming car – and apparently escapes punishment

“In over ten years of cycling this is some of the most life-threatening driving I have witnessed. With such a small margin of error, such driving could have left me with broken bones, head and spinal injuries, or worse.”

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”.

> York Police slammed for carrying out vehicle checks – while parked in cycle lane

However, James told us: “Despite several requests, and the national Policing Code requiring that victims should be provided with ‘information about the investigation and prosecution’, North Yorkshire Police repeatedly refuse to clarify what specific action was actually taken.

“The police cite ‘lack of resources’ in lengthy time-consuming emails saying they don’t have enough time,” he added.

After considering the case, North Yorkshire Council also told James: “The manner of driving presented on this occasion has fallen short of the Council’s standards expected of Licence Holders.

“I believe the driver can take steps to prevent this happening again by completing the following: Review the recently update highway code advice given on points of particular relevance on this matter; Complete a driver awareness and improvement course.”

However, James asked the council if these measures would be compulsory for the motorist and, again, received no reply.

> Driver steals cyclist’s phone after knocking her from bike – police attending say they shouldn’t have been called

“All this has left with me with very low confidence that North Yorkshire Police and the County Council are doing enough to protect vulnerable road users,” James says.

“The West Yorkshire Op Snap team publish quarterly performance figures detailing action taken in response to camera reports. North Yorkshire Op Snap lack this kind of transparency and don’t publish their data.

“Studies consistently show that the main barrier to cycling is safety concerns and this is particularly the case with women.

“Pledges to promote healthy, ecological, and sustainable transport will come to little if the authorities don’t take action against drivers who threaten cyclists lives by driving recklessly.”

Responding to a request for comment from road.cc, North Yorkshire Council’s corporate director for environment, Karl Battersby, said: “We take complaints of this nature seriously. A warning letter was issued to this driver in November 2023 to remind him of his obligations.

“The matter was also referred to North Yorkshire Police and subsequent action was taken to address the concern from a roads policing perspective. In the event of any further concerns, we may consider the driver’s suitability to hold a licence.”

> 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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30 comments

Avatar
HarrogateSpa | 3 months ago
2 likes

It is very very frustrating trying to get N Yorkshire Council and N Yorkshire Police to do the right thing.

Thanks to James for pursuing this. The more these organisations are publicly held to account, the more chance (still small) that they will get their acts together.

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bensynnock | 3 months ago
4 likes

This is just standard behaviour from a taxi driver.

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wtjs replied to bensynnock | 3 months ago
2 likes

This is just standard behaviour from a taxi driver

So is this (I'm cheating!- most of them don't do this, but when they do, nothing happens to them)

https://upride.cc/incident/nu62myh_blackburntaxi_closepass/

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open_roads | 3 months ago
4 likes

"“The police cite ‘lack of resources’ in lengthy time-consuming emails saying they don’t have enough time,” he added."

This is word salad from the Police.

They have a record number of officers and picking up the phone to inform the victim what's happened would have taken a lot less time than typing an email.

As with many parts of the public sector, the primary issue is lack of leadership, organisation and the complete failure to manage processes to ensure they deliver the outcomes expected by the public.

 

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wtjs replied to open_roads | 3 months ago
9 likes

They have a record number of officers and picking up the phone to inform the victim what's happened would have taken a lot less time than typing an email

An alternative view is that you should never give the police a phone number, as an unrecorded phonecall from an unidentified officer is no proof of anything so they can say what they like. If you want something closer to the truth, you need something written down and they don't like anything which might get back to them. A favoured dodge in Lancashire is to phone you, let it ring once, and then leave a voicemail encouraging you to phone one of the police numbers that never replies, and if it does you can't get hold of the officer because he's on days off etc

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Sriracha replied to wtjs | 3 months ago
1 like
wtjs wrote:

A favoured dodge in Lancashire is to phone you, let it ring once, and then leave a voicemail

How is that possible?

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wtjs replied to Sriracha | 3 months ago
0 likes

Maybe it was text messages. It was a while ago, before they ceased doing anything at all

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kiwiglider replied to open_roads | 3 months ago
7 likes

The time they spent telling me they have no time was insane. Made me suspect they were hiding something.

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wtjs replied to kiwiglider | 3 months ago
4 likes

Made me suspect they were hiding something

They are! They're hiding that he only got the joke advice letter, if that. Take a close look at the wording of the email in which they told you they were taking action, and see the LancsRozzer version below. An indicator of lying and evasion is which could be, which means that it could also be something else such as nothing at all, words of advice (which aren't recorded) etc. They refused to change the wording to something like which will be one of the following: , which tells you all you need to know. I doubt if the dodgy anti-cyclist forces (they're a load of troublemaking whingers!) ever look for/ take account of previous 'advice letters'. Could you display here the salient text of your NYP letter?

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bikes replied to open_roads | 3 months ago
3 likes

Police Scotland seem only to do things via phone or in-person and it's a massive time waste as far as I can see. They knock on your door unannounced and leave a card, or phone you and leave a message asking you to phone them back. And they won't take online reports, you have to get in a phone queue. I assume for the reasons that wtjs explains.

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eburtthebike | 3 months ago
6 likes

Heard on the radio this morning that even with the recent recruitment of more, raw, inexperienced officers, the police are still 18,000 people down because of increasing population.

On the other hand, their primary responsibility is public safety, and the greatest danger to the public is drivers.

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open_roads replied to eburtthebike | 3 months ago
7 likes

The police also say in the motorway cop type tv programmes that stopping bad motorists often leads to them detecting many other offences e.g. stop for untaxed vehicle then leads to them detecting drunk or drug driving / driving without insurance / driving whilst disqualified / driving vehicle with defects / driving "equipped" with tools to facilitate break ins found / stolen property found / drugs seized etc etc.

So by increasing roadside stops and focussing on road safety, the police then start to make inroads into other related crimes.

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mctrials23 replied to open_roads | 3 months ago
9 likes

The problem is that I would wager there are tens of thousands of people who shouldn't be driving but who are. They would be making a huge amount of work for themselves sorting these people out and there would be little benefit to the overall crime statistics. The truth is that an absolutely tiny proportion of drivers who shouldn't be on the roads are getting involved in accidents or killing people. So fundamentally they would be doing us a favour and preventing a small number of deaths for a huge uptick in work volume. They don't want to do that. 

I reckon that within about 5 years they could transform the standards and safety of UK driving simply by getting the uninsured, drunk, high, dangerous or disqualified drivers off the roads and by making drivers petrified that their shit driving will likely result in points and a fine. The sooner drivers fear being surrounded by dashcams and a police force who actively prosecute them for dangerous driving the better things will be. 

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wtjs replied to mctrials23 | 3 months ago
4 likes

they could transform the standards and safety of UK driving simply by getting the uninsured, drunk, high, dangerous or disqualified drivers off the roads

They could, but they won't while they have to spend so much of their time covering up their previous failures, complaining about being so, so busy etc. Through idleness they have so many No MOT, uninsured, untaxed vehicles on the roads, so many blatant offences committed daily that they recoil in horror at the thought of doing something about them. This is S697 NHG, with no MOT since 12.4.23, an undischarged safety recall from Honda and no VED since 1.9.23. I know from bitter experience that Lancashire Constabulary will do absolutely nothing about the report

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wtjs replied to wtjs | 3 months ago
6 likes

I've just come across this one from a year ago, and it deserves another airing. Female Porsche Cayenne driver of KD10 WER (illegal plate) observed by me with a mobile clearly held in the right hand in front of her face, and accurate GPS timing. Guilty as sin and proveable from phone records. No response from the police.

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chrisonabike replied to mctrials23 | 3 months ago
2 likes

This is interesting - I would be interested in stats but not sure they exist (or how exactly to classify rather).  What proportion of the carnage is actually caused by "wrong'uns" as opposed to just the presence of humans in numbers?

On the second point - humans make mistakes (even if "careful, competent") and / or occasionally do inexplicably stupid things.  Mostly this doesn't lead to tragedy but ...  The useful side of this is that many of the ways in which humans "randomly" go wrong are well understood and can be addressed by engineering / and even training or rules to some extent.

So ... I believe that by just adding road police (or even cameras) you will quickly reach a law of diminishing returns on safety.  Even if you managed to make most motorists feel they are likely to be caught if breaking the law - which is clearly absent currently.

However there may be some low hanging fruit.  Some of the wrong'uns may be pretty easy to detect / catch as many crimes tend to be associated with dim and lazy perpetrators.  OTOH this assumes we can obtain smarter police - and it seems to me that often both sides of the law draw from a similar pool of candidates.

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hawkinspeter replied to open_roads | 3 months ago
7 likes

open_roads wrote:

The police also say in the motorway cop type tv programmes that stopping bad motorists often leads to them detecting many other offences e.g. stop for untaxed vehicle then leads to them detecting drunk or drug driving / driving without insurance / driving whilst disqualified / driving vehicle with defects / driving "equipped" with tools to facilitate break ins found / stolen property found / drugs seized etc etc.

So by increasing roadside stops and focussing on road safety, the police then start to make inroads into other related crimes.

Absolutely. The Yorkshire Ripper was caught due to being stopped for his car having false number plates.

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Muddy Ford | 3 months ago
16 likes

PM on the side of gas guzzling motorists in a supposed war on them. Absolutely nothing to do with Infosys having £bn contracts with BP and Shell. Get this c##t out of power and the roads might get safer.

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bikes | 3 months ago
16 likes

If the taxi driver goes on to kill someone, what will happen to the council workers that reviewed this footage and did nothing?

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wtjs replied to bikes | 3 months ago
18 likes

If the taxi driver goes on to kill someone, what will happen to the council workers that reviewed this footage and did nothing?

Still nothing. The police and the licensing authorities will keep quiet about the previous report, and James is unlikely to find out about any mortality/ morbidity associated with the driver (they can always deploy the GDPR dodge!). Result! Everybody happy- except the dead one, and he won't know.

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mctrials23 replied to bikes | 3 months ago
8 likes

Absolutely nothing. There is no personal responsibility for corruption or being shit at your job no matter the misery that inflicts on people. 

Look at the post office scandal slowly being unravelled. Thousands of lives ruined. Dozens of normal people sent to prison and the woman at the heart of it who consistently and knowingly lied about it has a CBE and is still a free women. 

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the little onion | 3 months ago
8 likes

institutionally anti-cyclist

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kiwiglider replied to the little onion | 3 months ago
0 likes

West Yorkshire Police are much better.

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wtjs | 3 months ago
9 likes

It would be very interesting to hear from 'James' whether the letter from NYP included something like this evasive wording formerly (now they just don't respond in any way) deployed by Lancashire Constabulary:

Once the driver has been identified then we will assess the most appropriate outcome, which could be; 

1.            An advice letter

2.            A Driver Educational Course.

3.            A conditional offer of points and a fine.

4.            A summons to court.

This dodge obviously includes the possible outcome 'nothing at all'. As far as FoI was able to tell, the latter 2 possibilities have never actually occurred after close passing in Lancashire.

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kiwiglider replied to wtjs | 3 months ago
1 like

Very similar, yes. Standard response and when asked for specifics, a 'no can do'. Even a FOI couldn't get them to tell me 😁

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HarrogateSpa replied to kiwiglider | 3 months ago
0 likes

Thanks for taking this up.

I've had a similarly frustrating experience with North Yorkshire Council and North Yorkshire Police, reporting close passes on Beech Grove Harrogate.

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Sriracha | 3 months ago
16 likes

James has hit the nail on the head - this is the reason so many more people won't cycle. And yet it is perhaps the cheapest thing to address when the evidence gathering is being done for free. If drivers learned to approach every cyclist with the same caution they accord to speed cameras things would instantly improve.

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Cycle Happy | 3 months ago
13 likes

I think the excuse commonly hidden behind is that it isn't against the victims code because you aren't considered a victim, but instead, a witness ... Until it's too late. It's a daft state of affairs. The reportee should be properly updated in cases like these.

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kiwiglider replied to Cycle Happy | 3 months ago
0 likes

Or just say 'sorry, computer says no. We need more recourses.'

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Runtilyoudrop | 3 months ago
16 likes

That's almost certainly because they did nothing. Our

justice system fails again. 

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