Home
Our regular feature highlighting close passes caught on camera from around the country – today it’s Essex

The latest video in our Near Miss of the Day Series is a classic of the SMIDSY - "Sorry mate, I didn't see you" - genre, and it's one that left the cyclist concerned very shaken.

It happened last week to road.cc reader and YouTube user Westcliff GoPro, who told us that it happened on the A13 between Leigh on Sea and Hadleigh in Essex.

He said: "The driver was very apologetic, but it really left me shaken.

"If it wasn't for the disc brakes I believe it may have ended differently."

Several years ago the charity Cycling UK launched its Stop SMIDSY campaign to urge motorists to be vigilant for cyclists and for the legal system to take appropriate action against drivers who used it as an excuse in collisions in which a cyclist is killed or injured.

Nevertheless, official casualty statistics show that drivers failing to look out for cyclists remains a major contributory factor to road traffic collisions in which a bike rider is killed or injured.

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.

 

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.

23 comments

Avatar
ChrisB200SX [490 posts] 4 weeks ago
5 likes

Sorry mate, I didn't bother to look properly.

Avatar
brooksby [2488 posts] 4 weeks ago
1 like

"Sorry mate I've got this eye condition where I can only see things with at least four wheels which are at least ten feet long." "..." "Yeah, I kind of rely on them going brumm-brumm a lot."

Avatar
kitkat [470 posts] 4 weeks ago
2 likes
Westcliff GoPro wrote:

If it wasn't for the disc brakes I believe it may have ended differently.

Now it just sounds like trolling. Did the helmet help too?  3

Avatar
burtthebike [1022 posts] 4 weeks ago
8 likes

Seriously incompetent driver, taking completely the wrong line on the turn and cutting the corner to a massive extent.  If he had taken the right line and turned at 90 degrees across the opposite carriageway, he would have been much more likely to have seen the cyclist.

Being sorry is all very well, but people who drive that badly shouldn't be on the road.

Avatar
DrG82 [153 posts] 4 weeks ago
2 likes
burtthebike wrote:

Seriously incompetent driver, taking completely the wrong line on the turn and cutting the corner to a massive extent.  If he had taken the right line and turned at 90 degrees across the opposite carriageway, he would have been much more likely to have seen the cyclist.

Being sorry is all very well, but people who drive that badly shouldn't be on the road.

I was thinking the same, the driver was cutting that corner ridiculously badly. I'd love to see bollards or at least big rubber lumps placed at junctions to stop people cutting corners like this. I couldn't tell you how many times cars have come within inches of my front wheel as I wait to turn right onto a road like this.

Avatar
Judge dreadful [264 posts] 4 weeks ago
2 likes

This happens a lot. The only saving grace for the driver, is that he did actually make an effort to stop and avoid the guy. I've stopped in a situation like that before, and actually still  been driven into, having stopped for a good couple of seconds. 

Avatar
SteveAustin [50 posts] 4 weeks ago
1 like

he obviously did see him, as he didnt hit him, and stopped in time. Quite amazing with the sun being behind the cyclists, could happen to any of us.

Avatar
don simon [1249 posts] 4 weeks ago
2 likes
SteveAustin wrote:

he obviously did see him, as he didnt hit him, and stopped in time. Quite amazing with the sun being behind the cyclists, could happen to any of us.

Not if we drive with more caution...

Avatar
Dave the Drivin... [18 posts] 4 weeks ago
1 like

That is shoddy driving to say the least. Totally wrong line and obviously thought they could quickly nip in without actually checking that the junction was clear.

Avatar
dog_film [21 posts] 4 weeks ago
1 like

Kudos to the cyclist. Not sure I would have been that cool under the circumstances. 

Avatar
ChrisB200SX [490 posts] 4 weeks ago
1 like

Ah, I suspect the driver was looking down the road he wanted to turn into to see if he could cut the corner... forgetting that you actually have to check for oncoming traffic first!
Sacchidic event, because he didn't look properly.

Avatar
mathcore [4 posts] 4 weeks ago
1 like
Avatar
nbrus [457 posts] 4 weeks ago
0 likes

This sort of thing happens a lot ... scary shit. It happens because drivers need to look around and behind them when they make a move and in this case looking in front was their last move ... they might also be distracted for a second or two. Because everything is happening so fast they are scanning around for large vehicles and will often temporarily fail to notice smaller objects such as bicycles in front of them. Luckily they saw him in time to stop.

The only thing you can do as a cyclist is to always expect this type of move and be on the lookout for vehicles that might turn across your path. When approaching a junction slow down and scan around for vehicles that might cross your path and be prepared to take avoiding action such as adjusting your speed so that you reach the junction when other vehicles are less likely to cross your path and have a more time to spot you.

Avatar
alansmurphy [734 posts] 4 weeks ago
0 likes

Saw this about a dozen times in an hour on Sunday.

 

Anyone familiar with Anglesey or the Tour De Mon ride will remember a set of traffic lights (Valley Hotel) about 10 miles from the end. Where the riders come through there is a filter left and a lane for straight on / turn right, a lot of the traffic opposite turns right too. A lot of people are cycling down the inside using the left lane and from my waiting (drinking position) could see that the cars struggle to see past the opposite right turning car. In some ways the cyclists probably shouldn't be filtering but I approached the junction the previous years and probably did the same as you aren't seeing it from every angle. There were stewards sat in a deck chair ready to sweep bodies up rather than identifying the problem and give warnings.

 

In the above example I think this car is partly doing similar. As he approaches down the road he sees the silver car and probably a gap before another car roof in the distance. He's just assumed there's nothing in the 'blind spot' behind/left of the silver car.

Avatar
alansmurphy [734 posts] 4 weeks ago
1 like

Disagree nbrus, my evaluation above.

 

"The only thing you can do" is look to change how people drive. The driver should position their car correctly and have done the looking behind, indicating etc. Then if they take the appropriate line into the turn (following a last check behind) they can see everything that is in front of them, multiple times. The issue here is that the driver has tried to take their foot off the gas to arrive as there is a supposed gap and lazily tried to make the turn at their convenience.

 

Your suggestion above once again, AGAIN, goes down the victim blaming route. Obviously you can retort with, better to brake than be dead, but if you follow that all the way through then none of us would be outdoors. Apply your logic, should every car be on the brakes past every side street, pedestrian, pigeon, lorry et al? The roads would potentially be even more of a mess than they are currently...

Avatar
nbrus [457 posts] 4 weeks ago
0 likes
alansmurphy wrote:

Disagree nbrus, my evaluation above.

 

"The only thing you can do" is look to change how people drive. The driver should position their car correctly and have done the looking behind, indicating etc. Then if they take the appropriate line into the turn (following a last check behind) they can see everything that is in front of them, multiple times. The issue here is that the driver has tried to take their foot off the gas to arrive as there is a supposed gap and lazily tried to make the turn at their convenience.

 

Your suggestion above once again, AGAIN, goes down the victim blaming route. Obviously you can retort with, better to brake than be dead, but if you follow that all the way through then none of us would be outdoors. Apply your logic, should every car be on the brakes past every side street, pedestrian, pigeon, lorry et al? The roads would potentially be even more of a mess than they are currently...

Sorry, but I am not victim blaming. How successful do you think you will be in changing how people drive? What do cyclists do in the meantime while you are campaining for change? Will you manage to convince EVERY driver to modify their behaviour? The way I see it we have to take control of situations where we cannot rely on others to look out for us.  Saying the driver should have done this and that is all well and fine, but they didn't, so what are you going to do to protect yourself? I'm not telling you how to ride, that is your choice, but I will take precautions against bad driving whenever I can.

Avatar
FluffyKittenofT... [1727 posts] 4 weeks ago
3 likes
nbrus wrote:

Sorry, but I am not victim blaming. How successful do you think you will be in changing how people drive? What do cyclists do in the meantime while you are campaining for change? Will you manage to convince EVERY driver to modify their behaviour?

Which is why it ultimately keeps coming back to convincing traffic engineers and politicians to keep cars away from bikes and pedestrians and increase the cost of using them (even more urgent given that terrorists have discovered that the car is indeed a potent weapon).

nbrus wrote:

The way I see it we have to take control of situations where we cannot rely on others to look out for us. Saying the driver should have done this and that is all well and fine, but they didn't, so what are you going to do to protect yourself?

But I think you will find the most popular option by far is not yours but rather "don't cycle".

How many do you think you'll you get to adopt your highly unpopular and completely unsuccessful strategy, rather than the less stressful one ("don't cycle") that most seem to prefer?

Yeah, yeah, you aren't going to get every motorist to change (I think most people can realise that for themselves without you pointing it out repeatedly), but pointing out that the motorist is at fault in these cases isn't really about that, its just the natural healthy response of anyone who isn't instinctively inclined to defend the status quo in all things. Why the need to constantly try and squash that reaction?

It just seems you consistently push for the most conservative view-point in every case, your priority always seems to be getting other cyclists to accept things as they are and internalise the idea that things have to be adjusted to not objected to.

I just don't get why you feel doing that is so important. What do you hope to achieve by it? You aren't teaching people anything, most who cycle are going to naturally shift to a ultra-defensive style over time out of necessity. But promoting it in the overt way you do seems to be a way to try and damp down any desire for change, to get people to know their place.

It's the instinctively conservative attitude behind that that irritates me.

Avatar
psling [255 posts] 3 weeks ago
3 likes

Probably temporarily blinded by the sun reflecting off the disc rotors. Wouldn't have happened with rim brakes.

Avatar
burtthebike [1022 posts] 3 weeks ago
2 likes
FluffyKittenofTindalos wrote:
nbrus wrote:

Sorry, but I am not victim blaming. How successful do you think you will be in changing how people drive? What do cyclists do in the meantime while you are campaining for change? Will you manage to convince EVERY driver to modify their behaviour?

Which is why it ultimately keeps coming back to convincing traffic engineers and politicians to keep cars away from bikes and pedestrians and increase the cost of using them (even more urgent given that terrorists have discovered that the car is indeed a potent weapon).

nbrus wrote:

The way I see it we have to take control of situations where we cannot rely on others to look out for us. Saying the driver should have done this and that is all well and fine, but they didn't, so what are you going to do to protect yourself?

But I think you will find the most popular option by far is not yours but rather "don't cycle". How many do you think you'll you get to adopt your highly unpopular and completely unsuccessful strategy, rather than the less stressful one ("don't cycle") that most seem to prefer? Yeah, yeah, you aren't going to get every motorist to change (I think most people can realise that for themselves without you pointing it out repeatedly), but pointing out that the motorist is at fault in these cases isn't really about that, its just the natural healthy response of anyone who isn't instinctively inclined to defend the status quo in all things. Why the need to constantly try and squash that reaction? It just seems you consistently push for the most conservative view-point in every case, your priority always seems to be getting other cyclists to accept things as they are and internalise the idea that things have to be adjusted to not objected to. I just don't get why you feel doing that is so important. What do you hope to achieve by it? You aren't teaching people anything, most who cycle are going to naturally shift to a ultra-defensive style over time out of necessity. But promoting it in the overt way you do seems to be a way to try and damp down any desire for change, to get people to know their place. It's the instinctively conservative attitude behind that that irritates me.

A like wasn't enough, I had to comment: brilliant.

Avatar
alansmurphy [734 posts] 3 weeks ago
2 likes

Seconded and agree. Most of us that commute and leisure ride probably already adapt as suggested by Fluffy. The issue is that we already have to abide by the laws ourselves, look out for vulnerable road users as well, deal with poor infrastructure and terrible roads and on and on. Not sure what you can do to ultimately protect against millions of heavy metal boxes flying around shoddily at ten times your speed.

Also, have to say, the rider did well and at least the driver realised he was a nob head. Hope it did enough to encourage a change of behaviour for more than 10 minutes...

Avatar
nbrus [457 posts] 3 weeks ago
1 like
FluffyKittenofTindalos wrote:
nbrus wrote:

Sorry, but I am not victim blaming. How successful do you think you will be in changing how people drive? What do cyclists do in the meantime while you are campaining for change? Will you manage to convince EVERY driver to modify their behaviour?

 

Which is why it ultimately keeps coming back to convincing traffic engineers and politicians to keep cars away from bikes and pedestrians and increase the cost of using them (even more urgent given that terrorists have discovered that the car is indeed a potent weapon).

nbrus wrote:

The way I see it we have to take control of situations where we cannot rely on others to look out for us. Saying the driver should have done this and that is all well and fine, but they didn't, so what are you going to do to protect yourself?

But I think you will find the most popular option by far is not yours but rather "don't cycle". How many do you think you'll you get to adopt your highly unpopular and completely unsuccessful strategy, rather than the less stressful one ("don't cycle") that most seem to prefer? Yeah, yeah, you aren't going to get every motorist to change (I think most people can realise that for themselves without you pointing it out repeatedly), but pointing out that the motorist is at fault in these cases isn't really about that, its just the natural healthy response of anyone who isn't instinctively inclined to defend the status quo in all things. Why the need to constantly try and squash that reaction? It just seems you consistently push for the most conservative view-point in every case, your priority always seems to be getting other cyclists to accept things as they are and internalise the idea that things have to be adjusted to not objected to. I just don't get why you feel doing that is so important. What do you hope to achieve by it? You aren't teaching people anything, most who cycle are going to naturally shift to a ultra-defensive style over time out of necessity. But promoting it in the overt way you do seems to be a way to try and damp down any desire for change, to get people to know their place. It's the instinctively conservative attitude behind that that irritates me.

Wow, that was some rant you went on and completely out of context to what I said. Why did you even bother to quote me if you wanted to go and then talk about something I didn't actually say? By all means go and have your rant, but please don't bring me into it. All my post said was that cyclist need to look after themselves as motorists can't always be trusted to look out for cyclists. That was it. But you decided to go off on another one of your massive rants, nice though it was, but nothing to do with anything I said. Please read what is said rather than reinterpreting things with your own spin ... its tiresome to say the least.

My turn:

As I understand it ... you are saying that cyclists are extremely hacked off by ignorant inconsiderate and stupid motorists many of which shouldn't be allowed on the road. You feel that you should be allowed to show your rage on forums, even for small offences, and demand that any motorist commiting any offence that relates to a cyclist, be hung, draw and quartered and that we should all demand this as a basic right. You feel that anyone with a more conservative view should not be allowed to say anything. You feel that rage and anger are the only way to get anything done, so you are an angry person that likes to errupt into fits of rage whenever someone upsets you and you feel this is always the best way to deal with things. You say that there is no need to promote safer cycling style because everyone already knows this and it achieves nothing. You probably think that the angry fixie cyclist (Alliston) that mowed down a 44-year-old mother of two recently and blamed her for the colision had every right to be angry and shout at her as she lay on the ground dying. Be extreme, conservatism is simply wrong.

[ps: this is what it feels like to have someone reinterpret what is said ... nice isn't it?]

Avatar
KINGHORN [18 posts] 3 weeks ago
1 like

Thats why you're supposed to stop and check the lane is clear beofre crossing it, when making right turns! Not just assume. Goes for any manouver, if you can't see, don't do it!

Another similar is when two lanes into a roundabout, the left lane car can't see past the right lane car but still bloody pulls out!

Avatar
brooksby [2488 posts] 3 weeks ago
1 like
nbrus wrote:

You probably think that the angry fixie cyclist (Alliston) that mowed down a 44-year-old mother of two recently and blamed her for the colision had every right to be angry and shout at her as she lay on the ground dying.

"Every right"?  Don't know.  However, I think it's understandable to shout at someone in those circumstances.  I think it's called adrenaline.  I don't imagine for one moment that he knew she was "laying on the ground dying" when he shouted at her...