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Simon Keen sent footage of an extremely close pass but claims Hertfordshire Police won't act unless someone is hurt...

A cyclist has accused police of failing to act after a driver passed him so close he claims he was almost knocked off his bike.

Simon Keen approached road.cc with two videos of drivers coming dangerously close to him on one commute in September, in Batford, Harpenden.

He alleges when he sent the footage to Hertfordshire Police with his concerns, they told him they won’t prosecute or educate drivers unless someone is injured. Road.cc has contacted Hertfordshire police to confirm or deny this, but the approach would be in stark contrast with a recent West Midlands Police initiative to prosecute close passing drivers in an innovative close pass initiative.

Cycling UK lauds West Midlands Police’s new close-pass initiative

Keen described the second of two close passes a “very close shave, with a car overtaking me at night approaching a blind bend and almost hitting me and an oncoming car.”

He says: “Having reported this to Hertfordshire police, which in itself was a challenge, I have been told that neither Herts police nor Bedfordshire police (where I live) will prosecute or even have a word with drivers.

“They will not consider videos as providing any evidence and will only get involved if someone is hurt,” he said.

Keen’s two close passes can be seen in the following videos. In the first instance a driver pulls out of a side road as Keen passes, which he says felt like the driver was driving directly at him. In the second incident, a different driver attempted to overtake Keen on a blind bend, with oncoming vehicles.

Warning: video below contains swearing.

He describes the incident in an email to police, seen by road.cc.

He said: “The driver had had time to overtake me when the road was clear and also made no attempt to pass me with any clearance. This incident was far worse as he only just missed me.”

Keen says it is unlikely the two drivers didn’t see him, as his bike had bright lights front and rear, as well as a Fly6 with flashing red light on the rear, he was wearing a white cycling jersey and reflective backpack, with reflective paint on his tyres and saddle bag.

Police in Camden, North London, are undertaking a similar decoy close pass initiative as West Midlands, and today sent a driver for prosecution for passing within six inches of one of their officers.

Over the summer Hertfordshire police did a crackdown on pavement cycling in Baldock and Letchworth. 

Sergeant Alan Clarke, of the Letchworth and Baldock safer neighbourhood team, said: "We have had increasing reports of people, predominantly adults and teenagers, cycling on pavements."

"Cycling on pavements is dangerous, anti-social and unpopular with cyclists who obey the rules of the road - as well as pedestrians who have to negotiate bikes using the pavement."

"This kind of behaviour is unacceptable, frequently causes collisions and can be very intimidating for people trying to use the footpath."

It is unclear whether anyone had been injured by pavement cycling.

We will update the article when we hear from Hertfordshire Police.

85 comments

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unconstituted [2355 posts] 9 months ago
10 likes

You have to get wrecked before they'll do their job? No wonder cycling in the UK feels like the Wild West.

Useless goons.

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robertoegg [110 posts] 9 months ago
4 likes

This is totally true of Surrey Police as well.

In fact, I was advised that my credibility as a witness could be compromised in future due to having contacted them on more than one occasion.

This is footage of the car htting me from behind, but, because I didn't have footage of the actual car against the rear wheel, no further action was taken except a note to advise the car driver of their obligations to other road users.

A fucking joke if I'm honest.

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CtX_zhbXgAA8C6q.jpg:large

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Yorkshie Whippet [597 posts] 9 months ago
3 likes

 I wonder how quickly the police would deal if a cyclist taking a drink puts the bottle through a window whilst trying to create some space.

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bobinski [259 posts] 9 months ago
1 like

There is a saying in law, "you cannot fetter a discretion" , in other words introduce some arbitrary reaon not to do something that applies...always.

 

You should ask for written reasons as to:

Why they wont prosecute on your witness account and the video you have provided. I would suggest you ask no more than this at firstand when you get it post their response.

There may be good reasons not to rely upon some video evidence most of the time, but all of it, most important, all the time?

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psling [229 posts] 9 months ago
3 likes

Blimy, now that second one is a dangerously close pass for both the cyclist and the oncoming vehicles. You can clearly see from the headlight beam pattern just how close the car is. More than careless, downright dangerous.

(Having said that, the first manoeuvre although poor wouldn't have bothered me; the driver did seem to know what he was doing and did give the cyclist plenty of room).

Can't wait to read the police response to Road.cc (but think I may have a very long wait).

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PaulBox [644 posts] 9 months ago
5 likes

Strangely, if you pass one of their off-duty officers on a dual carriageway going a bit quick and he decides to report you to their traffic section, they will take the time to drop you in all kinds of sh!t with your employer's car fleet management. W@nkers... 

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fullers1979 [59 posts] 9 months ago
3 likes

Simple answer to this.....they don't have time to investigate it! 

Without sounding harsh there are far more serious crimes than this that they also don't have time to investigate. This is the world we now live in.

The police service has been so stripped of finances and resources that they have to draw the line somewhere. Whilst every victim will feel their individual circumstance is the most important thing going on unfortunately to the police it's unlikely to be the case. 

Yes there will be horror stories when things get missed and something isn't done when it should've been but this isn't one. There are thousands of near misses every day, if each driver was prosecuted, yes the roads might be a safer place but you wouldn't have a police force in your area to do anything else! 

Simple maths at the end of the day, demand is (and I can't emphasise how much) massively greater than resources! 

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Stumps [3465 posts] 9 months ago
9 likes
PaulBox wrote:

Strangely, if you pass one of their off-duty officers on a dual carriageway going a bit quick and he decides to report you to their traffic section, they will take the time to drop you in all kinds of sh!t with your employer's car fleet management. W@nkers... 

Simple answer is, dont be a speeding w@nker and you wont get your arse kicked.

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Applecart [72 posts] 9 months ago
2 likes

I hope they don't prosecute because:
1. it wasn't closer than the mandatory distance.
2. it will hopefully discourage utter twats like this who go around with cameras shouting at motorists and giving all the rest of us a bad name.

I'm a lifelong keen cyclist, ever since I was a kid and many years before the current boom. I do hundreds of km per week and I have never had cause to shout at a motorist. This is because I do my damnedest to stay close to the kerb, to make myself visible, to not cycle two-abreast, to always presume that a car has not seen me and will not assess my speed correctly.

Please, get a life and ride safely. The guy should have slowed down when he saw the van turning instead of steaming through. Yes, the driver made an error of judgement. You however are a 12-stone piece of meat on a 9kg frame, versus a couple of thousand kilos of van. Regardless of what situation you are in, you are not a car and you do not have right of way due to basic physics and common sense. Back off.

Internet cycle justice warriors (CJWs) are going to increase tension and screw things up for all of us. Drivers are not out to get you. They generally can't see you and become nervous as they don't know what you are going to do, because they don't want to kill you! Grow up!

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vonhelmet [843 posts] 9 months ago
7 likes

The first was pretty much business as usual.  The second was absolutely outrageous.

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Applecart [72 posts] 9 months ago
0 likes

I could continue!

In accidents, what is the number one reason drivers give? Answer: "I didn't see him." Remember that if you are cycling, and always, always presume that they haven't seen your skinny ass.

Secondly if they have seen you, the next misjudgement is to under-estimate the cyclist's speed. Case in point here, the van driver did think this guy would be so fast and pulled out. It's so bloody simple! Wake up!!! Cyclists need education too, clearly ffss

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SouthCraven [15 posts] 9 months ago
0 likes

What a load of rubbish. The police get more than enough money. As do the NHS. It's just that they waste it willy nilly because it's somebody else's money ie ours!
It's about time we held our public services to account more instead of just saying they need more money. The amount of waste is incredible.

Have you ever noticed how absolutely anybody can have their prescription delivered? Who do think pays for that? I could go on but it drives my blood pressure up.

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vonhelmet [843 posts] 9 months ago
24 likes
Applecart wrote:

I hope they don't prosecute because:
1. it wasn't closer than the mandatory distance.
2. it will hopefully discourage utter twats like this who go around with cameras shouting at motorists and giving all the rest of us a bad name.

I'm a lifelong keen cyclist, ever since I was a kid and many years before the current boom. I do hundreds of km per week and I have never had cause to shout at a motorist. This is because I do my damnedest to stay close to the kerb, to make myself visible, to not cycle two-abreast, to always presume that a car has not seen me and will not assess my speed correctly.

Please, get a life and ride safely. The guy should have slowed down when he saw the van turning instead of steaming through. Yes, the driver made an error of judgement. You however are a 12-stone piece of meat on a 9kg frame, versus a couple of thousand kilos of van. Regardless of what situation you are in, you are not a car and you do not have right of way due to basic physics and common sense. Back off.

Internet cycle justice warriors (CJWs) are going to increase tension and screw things up for all of us. Drivers are not out to get you. They generally can't see you and become nervous as they don't know what you are going to do, because they don't want to kill you! Grow up!

4 paragraphs of bollocks.  Good work.

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Bobbinogs [249 posts] 9 months ago
17 likes
Applecart wrote:

I could continue!
...

Please don't, you've said more than enough crap for now.

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robertoegg [110 posts] 9 months ago
11 likes
Applecart wrote:

I hope they don't prosecute because:
1. it wasn't closer than the mandatory distance.
2. it will hopefully discourage utter twats like this who go around with cameras shouting at motorists and giving all the rest of us a bad name.

I'm a lifelong keen cyclist, ever since I was a kid and many years before the current boom. I do hundreds of km per week and I have never had cause to shout at a motorist. This is because I do my damnedest to stay close to the kerb, to make myself visible, to not cycle two-abreast, to always presume that a car has not seen me and will not assess my speed correctly.

Please, get a life and ride safely. The guy should have slowed down when he saw the van turning instead of steaming through. Yes, the driver made an error of judgement. You however are a 12-stone piece of meat on a 9kg frame, versus a couple of thousand kilos of van. Regardless of what situation you are in, you are not a car and you do not have right of way due to basic physics and common sense. Back off.

Internet cycle justice warriors (CJWs) are going to increase tension and screw things up for all of us. Drivers are not out to get you. They generally can't see you and become nervous as they don't know what you are going to do, because they don't want to kill you! Grow up!

 

you didn't watch to the end did you?

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robertoegg [110 posts] 9 months ago
9 likes
Applecart wrote:

I could continue!

 

...to the end of the video clip before you posted a load of nonesense?

 

Why, please do. Then feel free to defend the car driver who very nearly destroys a bloke cycling along...

Avatar
HalfWheeler [600 posts] 9 months ago
19 likes
Applecart wrote:

I hope they don't prosecute because:
1. it wasn't closer than the mandatory distance.
2. it will hopefully discourage utter twats like this who go around with cameras shouting at motorists and giving all the rest of us a bad name.

I'm a lifelong keen cyclist, ever since I was a kid and many years before the current boom. I do hundreds of km per week and I have never had cause to shout at a motorist. This is because I do my damnedest to stay close to the kerb, to make myself visible, to not cycle two-abreast, to always presume that a car has not seen me and will not assess my speed correctly.

Please, get a life and ride safely. The guy should have slowed down when he saw the van turning instead of steaming through. Yes, the driver made an error of judgement. You however are a 12-stone piece of meat on a 9kg frame, versus a couple of thousand kilos of van. Regardless of what situation you are in, you are not a car and you do not have right of way due to basic physics and common sense. Back off.

Internet cycle justice warriors (CJWs) are going to increase tension and screw things up for all of us. Drivers are not out to get you. They generally can't see you and become nervous as they don't know what you are going to do, because they don't want to kill you! Grow up!

Hard to know where to start there's so much nonsense. So divorced from reality in fact that I doubt you are a cyclist at all. Only someone staggeringly uninformed of the reality on the ground and devoid of any sympathy would post a comment  like yours. 

My advice to you is buy, or even borrow a bike, and go out for a ride and act like a saint on the road (it's not hard; stop at red lights, be seen, be aware, say 18 inches from the kerb etc). Within the hour you'll have had a near miss and it won't have been your fault.

Avatar
oldstrath [758 posts] 9 months ago
13 likes

[quote=Applecart]
I hope they don't prosecute because:

1. it wasn't closer than the mandatory distance.
2. it will hopefully discourage utter twats like this who go around with cameras shouting at motorists and giving all the rest of us a bad name.
I'm a lifelong keen cyclist, ever since I was a kid&nbsp;and many years before the current boom. I&nbsp;do hundreds of km per week and I have never had cause to shout at a motorist. This is because&nbsp;I do my damnedest to stay close to the kerb, to make myself visible, to not cycle two-abreast, to always presume that a car has not seen me&nbsp;and will not assess my speed correctly.<br />
<br />
Please, get a life and ride safely. The guy should have slowed down when he saw the van turning instead of steaming through. Yes, the driver made an error of judgement.&nbsp;You however are a 12-stone piece of meat on a 9kg frame, versus a couple of thousand kilos of van. Regardless of what situation you are in, you are not a car and you do not have right of way due to basic physics and common sense. Back off.<br />
<br />
Internet cycle justice warriors (CJWs)&nbsp;are going to increase tension and&nbsp;screw things up for all of us.&nbsp;Drivers are not out to get you. They generally can't see you and become nervous as they don't know what you are going to do, because they don't want to kill you! Grow up!</p>

[/quote]
What a heap of confused drivel.

1. There is no 'mandatory distance', but if there were, this would be closer than it.

2. Did you actually watch the video? If so, please tell me what a right turning van has to do with anything. The issue was simply a standard impatient numpty pushing past with no space.

3. Your "advice" to stay very left and not double up just encourages this stupdly dangerous driving.

4. "Stay safe" is dandy, but quite what you think the cyclist could have done to avoid this idiot driving is beyond me. Other than riding in primary, which you would say is wrong because it upsets the almighty drivers.

5. Are you, in fact, L Willo returned from the grave?

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Jimnm [224 posts] 9 months ago
1 like

It happens to me everyday, they pass exceeding the speed limit and I have had my arm touched on several occasions with their mirror. Not a lot you can do. The cops don't give a shit. I just live with it  7

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HalfWheeler [600 posts] 9 months ago
2 likes

Re Herts Police. 

Now this is what you call irony;

https://twitter.com/HertsPolice/status/781524328923922432

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Housecathst [587 posts] 9 months ago
8 likes
robertoegg wrote:
Applecart wrote:

I could continue!

 

...to the end of the video clip before you posted a load of nonesense?

 

Why, please do. Then feel free to defend the car driver who very nearly destroys a bloke cycling along...

Willos back with a new name, or just another daily mail refugee

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Jharrison5 [123 posts] 9 months ago
14 likes
Quote:

This is because I do my damnedest to stay close to the kerb, to make myself visible...

Contradiction.

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OnTheRopes [175 posts] 9 months ago
3 likes
HalfWheeler wrote:

Re Herts Police. 

Now this is what you call irony;

https://twitter.com/HertsPolice/status/781524328923922432

 

Good link easy to add a tweet to Herts Police

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DrG82 [132 posts] 9 months ago
0 likes

Not sure why this bloke was yelling at the first pass ~40 seconds in, it does make him seem like one of these self appointed "cycling safety campainers" who makes a mountain out of everything and puts everything on a youtube channel.

I do obviously agree with the second pass being far too close.

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FluffyKittenofT... [1582 posts] 9 months ago
6 likes

Edit - decided not to feed the troll. No point upsetting the applecart.

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garuda [30 posts] 9 months ago
4 likes
unconstituted wrote:

You have to get wrecked before they'll do their job? No wonder cycling in the UK feels like the Wild West.

Useless goons.

Oh thank god. I was planning on burglarizing homes this weekend, and as long as no one gets hurt then I'll be free to enjoy a life of crime and ill gotten wealth.

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Argos74 [434 posts] 9 months ago
7 likes
Applecart wrote:

I could continue!

//i.imgur.com/4FzZyuc.jpg)

 

Obvious trowel is obvious.

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Fifth Gear [108 posts] 9 months ago
3 likes

Thames Valley Police also refuse to take action and are now saying they are only interested in the "Fatal Four", so they think  that the offence of driving without a seatbelt is more serious than someone who endangers a vulnerable road user. Hants Constabulary are even worse.

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hawkinspeter [678 posts] 9 months ago
2 likes

That must be L Willo. Sounds just like his brand of trolling.

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WillRod [191 posts] 9 months ago
1 like

I wouldn't have reacted the same way as the cyclist in the first clip. You could see the van pulling out and then just ease off or apply a little bit of brake just to fall in behind and avoid getting squeezed.

 

In the second instance, the driver should be done for careless driving. Any over-reaction driver or cyclist could have ended in tragedy. And not investigating if there is no injury! The whole point is to prevent the injury, not to panic react when it all goes wrong. Prevention is better than cure, just look at the driver who got a slap on the wrist 8 times for mobile phone use but was only given a real punishment when he killed a cyclist while on the phone!

 

On a more practical note, try contacting your police and crime commissioner and MP. About all you can do other than vigilante actions  1

 

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