Today’s video in our Near Miss of the Day series shows a cyclist who was subjected to a close pass by the driver of a delivery lorry and then, when he moved ahead of the vehicle afterwards, was then given what he believes was a ‘punishment pass’.
The footage was shot by road.cc reader Phil, who told us: “While cycling to work at around 4am on Tuesday 24 April (the joys of shift work!) I was subject to some pretty terrifying driving by a South East Bakery delivery driver.
“I was riding along Wickham Way towards Beckenham, and despite the road being completely deserted, the driver overtook me on a blind bend, passing much too close for comfort. He then had to give way to a bus at the roundabout less than 50 metres ahead, where I passed him.
“As I cycled along immediately after the roundabout he overtook me again, passing extremely closely. When he was alongside me he deliberately swerved his vehicle towards me, missing me by a matter of inches.
“I have no idea what his motivation was - perhaps he was annoyed that I was in front of him again - but his actions were clearly intended to intimidate and scare me. A slight misjudgement on his part, or a minor change of direction on mine, and I would now be either seriously injured or dead.”
Phil continued: “I submitted the video to the Metropolitan Police, who "regret to inform me" that after considering the evidence they are unable to take any further action.
“I have also emailed South East Bakery (www.southeastbakery.com) to ask:
(a) do they think their employee's standards of driving were acceptable, and
(b) do they think it's appropriate for one of their employees to use a company vehicle to harass and intimidate vulnerable road users.
Phil believes that the roads nowadays are more intimidating for people on bikes than when he began riding, and that often that is the result of deliberate actions on the part of motorists.
He said: “I've been riding for the best part of 40 years, I'm a British Cycling Level 2 coach and an NSI qualified cycling instructor, and if I'm honest, I've never felt so vulnerable and at risk as I do now.
“Drivers have become increasingly impatient and aggressive, and it feels like cyclists have become a target for constant abuse and harassment. I honestly wouldn't let my own teenage kids cycle on the road unaccompanied, and I think that's an incredibly sad state of affairs.
“If nothing else, by sharing this sort of incident we gain some strength from knowing that we're not alone,” he added.
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 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 (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.