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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

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quiff replied to Inspector Kevin Smith SYP | 1 year ago
2 likes

Good reply, and thanks for your hard work. To be fair, I have had positive action taken on every report I have made (6 or 7 over two different forces), so my experience has been good. I just wasn't confident that if I had reported that horn use, any action would be taken. But perhaps the pass was also dangerous - hard to tell from the rear-facing footage.     

Avatar
wtjs replied to quiff | 1 year ago
3 likes

I wonder how many of us would get NFA from our forces for the same footage
It appears I have been insufficiently critical of Lancashire Constabulary, so the message has failed to come across! OpSnapLancs doesn't dispense NFAs - it just doesn't respond at all, and does nothing. The failure to act is not due to ill-written submissions, poor evidence or the absence of a case. The evidence of serious red light offences, dire close passing incidents, years of No MOT, Insurance and VED etc. is immaculate and carefully assembled. LC don't cite No Reasonable Prospect of Conviction - they simply don't respond - to anything

Avatar
BalladOfStruth | 1 year ago
17 likes

"Unless you're a 1970s NYC cabby this isn’t how you use a horn"

Perhaps Sheffield NorthWest NPT can tell Ashley Neal that, he's over in the forums right now telling us that horns aren't loud or aggressive and there's nothing wrong with giving an unsuspecting cyclist a nice, freindly 100db blast directly into their right ear as you drive past...

Avatar
IanMSpencer replied to BalladOfStruth | 1 year ago
4 likes

I'm saying nuffink!

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HoarseMann replied to BalladOfStruth | 1 year ago
3 likes

Ah well, that would be the subtle difference between the 'double pip' notification of presence / move to single file you selfish cyclists, and the 'danger blast'. I think Ashley has a course on that or something 

Avatar
andystow replied to BalladOfStruth | 1 year ago
5 likes
BalladOfStruth wrote:

"Unless you're a 1970s NYC cabby this isn’t how you use a horn"

Perhaps Sheffield NorthWest NPT can tell Ashley Neal that, he's over in the forums right now telling us that horns aren't loud or aggressive and there's nothing wrong with giving an unsuspecting cyclist a nice, freindly 100db blast directly into their right ear as you drive past...

I was startled yesterday when I was driving my convertible with the top down, and as I passed an oncoming pickup truck waiting to turn at a junction, I got a beep right in my ear!

Later I got a message from a friend, "I beeped at you. It was supposed to be a double one. Top down looks good!"

Gee, thanks guy.

Avatar
nosferatu1001 replied to BalladOfStruth | 1 year ago
11 likes

AN is convinced that, any cyclist who doesn't appreciate a "friendly" beep because a) you don't know it is "friendly" and b) you've never had one before is to blame if they react badly 

You absolutely blame the victim , that's the way it works. 
 

Case in point - got beeped after overtaking a car parked in a bus stop and yelled "oi" as he had pushed me into a 40mph road. They then chased me, beeped me further,  and forced me off the road using their car. Both got out, kicked and punched me a couple times, then took a cricket bat for good measure - I used my bike as a defensive device so the poor thing got a couple spokes pulled through.  
 

but yes, next time I get a beep from behind, I'm DEFINITELY going to think it's "friendly" Ashley. Definitely. 

Avatar
fenix replied to nosferatu1001 | 1 year ago
1 like

I really don't mind a bip from a car behind to alert me to their presence. You can't always hear cars.

That car in the video wasn't alerting - it was punishing the rider.

Quite interested in a radar device if they get cheap enough.

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