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More than 1,500 cyclists signed up for first year; report now published

The Near Miss Project, which has catalogued the daily cycling experience of more than 1,500 cyclists across the UK, is to continue for a second year, with cyclists urged to sign up for the initiative.

Led by Dr Rachel Aldred of the University of Westminster and funded by Creative Exchange and Blaze, news that the initiative will carry on follows yesterday’s publication of the first year’s report.

Each of the 1,532 participants kept a diary of a day’s cycling between 20 October and 2 November last year, recording all of their journeys by bike and noting and incidents they found scary or annoying, both ranked on a scale of 0-3.

In all, 3,994 incidents were recorded, with researchers concluding that the average cyclist in the UK will be involved in a “very scary incident” around once a week, and 60 such incidents each year.

- Cyclists experience a "scary" near miss once a week according to study

The slower the cyclist, the more likely they were to be subject to a near-miss, which also partly explains why women experience them more than men do.

The most common time when bike riders experienced a near-miss was at morning rush hour.

The “vast majority” of incidents fell into one of five categories - being blocked, being passed too close, another vehicle pulling in or out across a cyclist’s path, being driven at, and a near left or right hook.

While blocking incidents tended to be viewed as annoying but not so scary, issues such as close passes were much more likely to be seen as very scary.

Participants in the study said they believed most incidents could have been prevented – three quarters could have been avoided if other road users acted differently, and half if the road layout or condition were better, or separated infrastructure provided.

The report gives examples of some of the incidents recorded, which are likely to be familiar to anyone who cycles regularly in the UK.

One bike rider list from Hertfordshire said:

The bus was trying to overtake me all along the street, but it was too narrow, so he followed me really closely and then shot past as the road widened, missing me by inches. I felt very angry after, and very nervous as he followed me.

A Cheltenham cyclist related:

Very narrow country lane. Car approaches from rear, does not slow down from about 40 mph, and passes me very close - within 1 metre. Felt scared and intimidated.

Dr Aldred commented: “Many of these incidents correspond to types of injury collision, so it looks like collecting near miss data could help prevent injuries.

"Moreover, growing evidence suggests such incidents put people off cycling, and so reducing them could increase cycling uptake.

“Given cycling’s multiple benefits, it’s crucial cycling both is safe and feels safe, and near misses are an important part of the picture here.”

Emily Brooke, Blaze’s founder and chief executive, added: "Near misses happen all the time but while each individual one might not feel like more than a frustration or irritation at the time, taken together their ramifications are significant.

“Each one creates an immediate emotional impact and serious cases can stop people cycling."

The second edition of the Near Miss Project will start on 19 October and you can sign up here.

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.