Near Miss of the Day 138: Driver of Met Police van in Operation REALLY Close Pass

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

For over a year now, police forces across the UK – including the Metropolitan Police in London – have followed their colleagues in the West Midlands in targeting drivers who fail to give cyclists adequate space when overtaking them.

So it’s a bit disappointing that the driver making a close pass featured in today’s Near Miss of the Day video was behind the wheel of, yes, a Met Police van.

It happened yesterday evening at around 6.15pm to road.cc reader Matthew as he rode his Brompton up Fortress Road, which runs from Kentish Town to Tufnell Park.

The police van can first be seen at the beginning of the clip outside Kentish Town Underground station, with Matthew leaving it behind at the traffic lights.

The driver of the van took a while to reach him, having to get past some slower cyclists first – we don’t know how much room he gave them, although the clip of the overtake on Matthew may give a hint.

What's more, it squeezes past him just after he has pulled out to pass aa line of parked cars, and in so doing crosses into a hatched line zone, governed by Highway Code Rule 130, which says:

Areas of white diagonal stripes or chevrons painted on the road. These are to separate traffic lanes or to protect traffic turning right. If the area is bordered by a broken white line, you should not enter the area unless it is necessary and you can see that it is safe to do so.

Matthew told us: “There I was, trying to power my way up the hill on my Brompton, when ‘Operation REALLY Close Pass’ kicks into effect.

“He had tons of room to his right, and after he flashes his light pops on his hat and doesn’t join the queue of traffic.

“Gives me the impression he was happy to intimidate me and be a bit of a bully on the road.”

He added: “Considering these are the people I report people to, it doesn’t exactly fill me with confidence.”

One other thing that is very noticeable in this clip?

The sheer number of cyclists around on an evening rush hour in London, especially considering this is nowhere near the route of a Cycle Superhighway and that they’re heading towards some of the hillier parts of the capital.

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

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 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.

> What to do if you capture a near miss or close pass (or worse) on camera while cycling

Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.

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