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Near Miss of the Day turns 100 - Why do we do the feature and what have we learnt from it?

Our regular feature highlighting close passes reveals some common issues faced by cyclists on the UK's roads...

Last week saw the 100th video posted on in our Near Miss of the Day series – a suitable landmark to look back at some themes that have emerged, plus reiterate why we decided to run it in the first place.

What are we learning from the series?

Unsurprisingly, London is the single most common location, with around one in five submissions.

Several of those highlight that even when dedicated cycling infrastructure is provided, motorists can still present problems for riders.

Van drivers jumping red lights at junctions with separated Cycle Superhighways is an issue we’ve seen more than once, for example, then you also have Quietways being anything but.

London buses and black cabs have also featured – recently, we had a video of a close pass by a bus driver that resulted in prosecution, and a particularly nasty incident involving an abusive and aggressive cabbie hasn’t made it onto the site yet because the Metropolitan Police are investigating.

In many cases, the readers involved tell us they haven’t submitted footage to the police force responsible for the area the incident took place in because when they’ve done so in the past, no action has been taken.

But, like that incident with the London bus driver mentioned above, some do result in a prosecution – not enough of them, as is borne out by your views in the comments, but it shows that some forces at least take the issue seriously.

On that issue, we are aware of some cases where police have requested footage after it’s been featured on the site and our followers on social media have pushed them to take action, so keep pushing.

Granted 100 is a tiny sample size, but those are just the published submissions, and like you, we see many other similar videos on social media.

So, what are some of the other themes we have seen cropping up?

Impatient drivers who simply have to get in front of a cyclist, regardless of whether it is safe to overtake, or if there is a red traffic light 100 yards up the road, or if they plan to turn left immediately afterwards.

Drivers joining a roundabout who fail to see that there is already a cyclist navigating it.

People driving a lorry a tractor with a trailer, or who has a caravan attached to their car, and who pull in too early after an overtake.

Motorists who overtake someone on a bike – and put themselves at risk of a head-on collision with a vehicle coming in the opposite direction.

Why do we publish Near Miss of the Day videos?

As to why we felt the need to start this series, and why we continue to publish these videos (and will keep on doing so), here's what editor Tony Farrelly has to say.

"We’re frequently asked in the comments on Near Miss of The Day (NMotD) videos what’s the point of running them? 

"The point is to make a point about driving standards and the lack of consideration for vulnerable road users on UK roads. It’s also to show solidarity with our fellow cyclists, because as beezus fufoon pointed out commenting on NMoTD 31 real life through a lens doesn’t always look as scary as it actually is.

"In our view it’s worth acknowledging that for the person on the receiving end of a near miss or close pass it was a damn scary experience and one pretty much any regular cyclist in the UK can empathise with. 

"We’re not trying to put anyone off cycling - we love it and it hasn’t put us off, you all clearly love it too and it hasn’t put you off. And yes, at the moment close passes and near misses are a fact of life of UK roads - but that doesn’t make them right. Pretending they don’t happen isn’t going to help anyone - it’s certainly not going to help solve the problem. 

"We recognise that changing attitudes towards less vulnerable road users amongst all road users – including cyclists – is something of a water-on-stone exercise and that NMoTD is more than likely going to run to a big number before the stone starts to crumble, but it’s not something that is happening in isolation. Attitudes are changing, particularly police attitudes - led by the trailblazing work of the West Midlands Police and Cycling UK’s great Close Pass Mats initiative. 

"Incidents highlighted in NMoTD are already regularly picked up by local news outlets and regional television and radio news and they’ve been the starting point for discussions on local radio stations and newspaper websites about how road users treat each other – so the water is starting to make a mark on the stone."

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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