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Near Miss of the Day 803: Driver who overtook Dame Sarah Storey approaching blind bend fined £344

“Unless you're a 1970s NYC cabby this isn’t how you use a horn,” said Sheffield police, who were riding with Britain’s most successful Paralympian as part of a close pass operation...

A celebrity edition of Near Miss of the Day today, as a driver who overtook Dame Sarah Storey – Greater Manchester’s active travel commissioner and Britain’s most successful Paralympian – approaching a blind bend while blaring their horn was fined £344 and given three points on their licence.

Storey, fresh from winning the 17th Paralympic gold medal of her career at Tokyo three weeks before, was riding with a group of South Yorkshire police officers last September as part of a close pass operation targeting drivers who overtake cyclists carelessly or dangerously.

She accompanied the operation on the A57 as part of her previous role as active travel commissioner for the Sheffield City Region.

The A57 is an infamously dangerous road for cyclists between Sheffield and Manchester and, according to Inspector Kevin Smith of the Sheffield Northwest Neighbourhood Policing Team, one of the roads officers receive the most complaints over.

> Dame Sarah Storey joins South Yorkshire Police on close pass operation – and almost one in five drivers get pulled over 

“The A57 is a long climb with lots of double white lines due to some blind bends,” Inspector Smith said at the time of the operation.

“It is often safer to cycle two abreast on these sections to reduce the temptation of some motorists to try and ‘squeeze’ the cyclist to the side of the road by overtaking on a blind bend and then pulling back left to avoid a head on collision with traffic the other way approaching at 50 miles per hour.

“Even when cycling solo, it is often safest to ride in primary position on these bends, to ensure that you are visible around the bends,” the officer continued.

“Unfortunately, it was not the most stress-free afternoon of cycling, with lots of people apparently unable to overtake without the assistance of their horn (perhaps it is linked to a booster system?).

“Sarah’s Garmin radar detected 110 overtakes over the two laps we completed, and of those 110 overtakes, 20 were stopped for advice purposes, which is disappointing.

“Our other pair were also close passed a few times, taking the total to 25 vehicles stopped for advice purposes, and another five that we will catch up with through the post.

“In total [there were] 10 prosecutions for a range of offences from careless driving to contravening double white lines. It seems many drivers are unaware that if a cyclist is travelling at more than 10 miles per hour there is no loophole to allow them to overtake on double white lines, and we saw a depressing level of selfish and poor behaviour throughout the day.”

> Dame Sarah Storey replaces Chris Boardman as Greater Manchester active travel commissioner 

One of those examples of poor and selfish driving resulted in a £344 fine and three points for the offending motorist, who refused to take an awareness course (presumably preferring the financial punishment to improving their driving ability).

As we can see in the video above, posted on Twitter by Sheffield Northwest’s NPT, the impatient driver’s horn must have been linked, as Inspector Smith said, to a booster, as the motorist felt compelled to blare it while passing the cyclists on the approach to a blind bend.

“This driver was upset he couldn't overtake cyclists [approaching] a blind bend with oncoming traffic and decided to use his beeping device to show he was not happy,” tweeted the Sheffield police officers.

They continued: “Rule 112 of The Highway Code states: ‘The horn. Use only while your vehicle is moving and you need to warn other road users of your presence. Never sound your horn aggressively.’

“As always – videos are served up to demonstrate what is and isn’t an acceptable standard of driving, and where the courts have found that the standard has not been met. Unless you're a 1970s NYC cabby this isn’t how you use a horn.

“Use of the horn to punish cyclists, runners or equestrians for slowing you down for five seconds can end up an uncomfortable day in court.”

> 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.

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38 comments

Avatar
lukei1 | 1 year ago
2 likes

Huh, so the prosecution is for the horn abuse?

I tried to report a cabbie who lent on the horn behind me so that I would get out of his way but the Met told me it needed to be witnessed in person by an Officer otherwise they couldn't do anything

Strange

Avatar
HoarseMann replied to lukei1 | 1 year ago
7 likes

Yes, I had the same 'needs to be witnessed in person' excuse from Thames Valley. Unfortunately, this is guidance set by the NPCC over a decade ago. I think the NPCC ought to review this approach now that dashcams are far more prevalent and traffic officers an endangered species.

https://www.npcc.police.uk/Publication/NPCC%20FOI/Operations/069%2015%20...

Avatar
brooksby | 1 year ago
13 likes

Quote:

“Sarah’s Garmin radar detected 110 overtakes over the two laps we completed, and of those 110 overtakes, 20 were stopped for advice purposes, which is disappointing.

Reminds me - I was overtaken on the Clifton Suspension Bridge this morning.

At speed.

Closely.

And the overtaking motorist had to swerve quite sharply in front of me to avoid a head-on collision with an approaching SUV which they'd somehow failed to see.

I'll say that again: On the middle of the Clifton Suspension Bridge.

<shakes head sadly>

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Gimpl replied to brooksby | 1 year ago
5 likes

Which is pretty bloody narrow anyway from memory!

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ShutTheFrontDawes replied to brooksby | 1 year ago
5 likes

My default on the bridge is to sit pretty much in the middle of the road when there is no oncoming traffic, and the middle of the lane when there is oncoming traffic. I get people beeping me but no close passes.

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Daveyraveygravey | 1 year ago
20 likes

Every time someone has given me a beep when approaching from behind, it scares the crap out of me.  Every single time.  If any fuckwit driver thinks its ok, they are clueless.

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didsthewinegeek replied to Daveyraveygravey | 1 year ago
2 likes

It really lends credence to the saying "Stupid is as stupid does".

 

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Jimwill replied to Daveyraveygravey | 1 year ago
2 likes

Personally I think there's a time and place for it. I been out on training rides on TT bike with TT lid on doing 30mph+ on narrow roads (lane and half with passing points) and had drivers creeping up and passing me with a few inch to spare while i would have been able to move over give them more room and still carry on at speed.
With the combination of the TT lid, wind and road noise I've not known they were there til they were level. Moments like that I could do with some advanced warning.
Fair enough built up areas and even busier roads there's no need at all for a horn to be used especially an aggressive long press.

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Flintshire Boy replied to Jimwill | 1 year ago
2 likes

.

If TT lid, wind and road noise mean that you are not aware of other road users, then perhaps you need to question what your are doing.

.

Avatar
Jimwill replied to Flintshire Boy | 1 year ago
6 likes

.

No need

.

I now ride an extra 8 inches to the right.

.

Stops anyone squeezing through.

.

Why you type like a turd anyway?

Is it

.

So that

The shit you spout

.

Takes more

.

Space up?

.

Avatar
TheBillder replied to Jimwill | 1 year ago
5 likes

You are EJ Thribb and I claim my £5.

And if you are
Not EJ Thribb
Then I apologise
But Keith's mum says to look up his work.

TheBillder (17 3/4 minutes behind anyone else in any TT ever).

Avatar
hawkinspeter replied to Flintshire Boy | 1 year ago
11 likes

Flintshire Boy wrote:

If TT lid, wind and road noise mean that you are not aware of other road users, then perhaps you need to question what your are doing.

Deaf people are allowed to use public roads - there is no requirement to hear things to be safe.

Avatar
LeadenSkies replied to Flintshire Boy | 1 year ago
4 likes
Flintshire Boy wrote:

.

If TT lid, wind and road noise mean that you are not aware of other road users, then perhaps you need to question what your are doing.

.

Sat behind a vehicle the other day for over a mile before he had the slightest clue I was there. So what I hear you say. I was in a bloody great red fire engine, blue lights and sirens going full tilt. Still not a clue I was there. It's nothing unusual, it happens all the time. Plenty of drivers have the radio on and don't use their mirrors so have no idea of what's going on around them. It's not confined to cyclists. In fact I don't remember ever having a cyclist unaware of blue lights and sirens approaching.

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Reiver2768 | 1 year ago
10 likes

Obviously a driver of limited intelligence but really, how stupid do you need to be to turn down a course and a slap on the wrist and go to court instead?

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Hirsute replied to Reiver2768 | 1 year ago
6 likes

Some take a chance that the case will be dropped due to lack of a witness or prosecution mess up.

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AlsoSomniloquism replied to Hirsute | 1 year ago
8 likes

And some, like the geezer in Wales, just can't believe they have done wrong in anyway, even when it is the Police officers who are laying the charges from their own cameras.

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TriTaxMan replied to Reiver2768 | 1 year ago
12 likes

Reiver2768 wrote:

Obviously a driver of limited intelligence but really, how stupid do you need to be to turn down a course and a slap on the wrist and go to court instead?

Some think that what they did was a reasonable action and if they don't go to court they will not have an opportunity to present evidence to back up their assertion that they did nothing wrong.

I for one am extremely happy every time I read a story of a close passing motorist taking a case to court and ending up with a bigger penalty than they would have received otherwise.

The more of these types of cases that make the news the better as it shows the bad drivers that they are more likely to get caught and prosecuted.

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mctrials23 | 1 year ago
7 likes

Seems like a pathetic fine that has cost the taxpayer far more money than the idiot deciding to go to court to argue that they weren't being a complete prick. Should have given him 6 points and a much larger fine to perhaps make him think twice in the future. Then again, anyone who goes to court over something like this is a bit of a twat who doesn't see anything wrong with their behaviour. 

Avatar
HoarseMann replied to mctrials23 | 1 year ago
3 likes

Exactly. In civil cases, the entire costs of bringing the case can be awarded against the party found at fault.

Law breaking motorists are far from a cash-cow raising funds through fines, they're actually a massive drain on the economy.

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Jimwill | 1 year ago
0 likes

Sometimes a pap of the horn can be helpful.. that wasnt

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janusz0 | 1 year ago
5 likes

I can only think of one circumstance when I've thought it advisable to use the horn when I'm driving a car or riding a motorcycle:  When an oblivious driver starts reversing towards you, without any sign that they know that you're there.  Horns are so close to unecessary, that something more subtle is needed to replace them - a Baidu self driving taxi perhaps?

Avatar
jh2727 replied to janusz0 | 1 year ago
4 likes

janusz0 wrote:

I can only think of one circumstance when I've thought it advisable to use the horn when I'm driving a car or riding a motorcycle:  When an oblivious driver starts reversing towards you, without any sign that they know that you're there.  Horns are so close to unecessary, that something more subtle is needed to replace them - a Baidu self driving taxi perhaps?

The highway code lists that as illegal:

You MUST NOT use your horn

while stationary on the road

 

That said, the actual law is different (as is often the case):

99.—(1) 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

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ChrisB200SX | 1 year ago
13 likes

110 overtakes and 20 needed a talking to. That is a damning indictment of the state of driving standards in the UK. More than 18% needed a talking to.

9% were so bad they ended up in court.

Shows why there are so many KSIs on UK roads and how much the situation could be improved.

Avatar
jh2727 replied to ChrisB200SX | 1 year ago
3 likes

ChrisB200SX wrote:

110 overtakes and 20 needed a talking to. That is a damning indictment of the state of driving standards in the UK. More than 18% needed a talking to.

9% were so bad they ended up in court.

Shows why there are so many KSIs on UK roads and how much the situation could be improved.

I'm guessing they were only interested in close passes and ignored all the overtakes on blind bends - an overtake on a blind bend, where there is every chance of a head on collision with a combined speed of 100 mph or more, is nothing short of dangerous driving.

I my experience - a lot more than 20% of drivers will overtake on a blind bend on a national speed limit country road.

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Inspector Kevin... replied to jh2727 | 1 year ago
11 likes

You'd lose that bet. We did a number of vehicles for overtaking on double white lines. 
 

I can tell you without shadow of a doubt that at no time does Sarah Storey cycle up that gradient at less than 10mph. We were pushing 20 on some of them. (Uphill I tellsya) and people still couldn't wait 10 seconds for a safe overtake. 
 

 

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wtjs | 1 year ago
8 likes

Wow! It really helps being a celebrity offended against around Sheffield. You'd get a commendation from Lancashire Constabulary for driving like that. No disrespect to Inspector K and Dame S who are doing a great job.

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quiff replied to wtjs | 1 year ago
3 likes

I thought that. While it's great they took action on that, I wonder how many of us would get NFA from our forces for the same footage. 

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AlsoSomniloquism replied to quiff | 1 year ago
4 likes

Same issue with when Insp Kev showed his near miss with the lorry driver. We raised then that how much was down to it being a Police Officer reporting this rather then a regular pleb. 

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Inspector Kevin... replied to AlsoSomniloquism | 1 year ago
9 likes

100% access to justice and knowing how to write an amazing statement have an influence. But that shouldn't be the way which is why I've put so much backing behind our portal. If you find My last viral post which was the 5 point "chap swerves at group of cyclists" you will notice I do a bloody good job with footage sent to us from the public too. 

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Inspector Kevin... replied to quiff | 1 year ago
9 likes

so cynical 🤨 

As posted - the reason we put the videos up is that you can point your local PC to the fact that this has been dealt with in a court and found to be careless driving. 
 

That means local forces who want to use a "no reasonable prospect of conviction" will have to work a bit harder. Because the footage shows it can and should result in one in similar circumstances. 
 

Anyway - I was wondering why the post had suddenly got more interest so at least I've worked that out. I'm guessing the 0 follower "what abouters" also mean another outlet has picked it up. Deep joy 

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