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Near Miss of the Day 269: Quick reacting cyclist avoids being left-hooked

Our regular series featuring close passes from around the country – today it’s London

 

Today’s video in our Near Miss of the Day shows a driver making a left hook on a cyclist at a junction – with police subsequently sending the motorist on a driver awareness course.

It happened on Camberwell New Road in South London to YouTube user MCRCyclist.

He said: “This was the closest I've come to being hit since moving to London. The police sent the driver on an improvement course, which he accepted and offered his sincere apologies for the incident.”

He also provided a summary of his statement to the police: “I was cycling along Camberwell New Road towards the Oval when I first encountered the driver of RA55TNA, as seen in the video, the driver pulled out of the junction at Flodden Road causing me to brake harshly to avoid a collision – if I did not take such action I would have collided with the rear.

“We travelled in the direction of the Oval where both myself and the driver waited (junction of Lothian Road). I placed myself in front of the driver in the green cycling box. When the light went green I proceeded to take primary position in the first lane (travelling towards the Oval) and picked up a steady speed of 18mph. As I approached the junction of Vassall Road I was still in the first lane, which is left turn only for all traffic EXCEPT for cyclists, buses and taxis, I became aware of RA55TNA which was travelling beside me in lane 2 (ahead only lane).

“Without warning the driver indicated and turned across my path (from Lane 2, to Lane 1 to turn left) with the intention of turning down Lothian Road. I had to react instantly to avoid a serious collision by swerving to the left. This instant reaction (as can be seen in the video) saved me from being hit by the driver of RA55TNA. It is impossible, unless the driver of RA55TNA was distracted, not to have been aware of my presence, unless the driver performed the action intentionally.”

> 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’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.

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

Simon joined road.cc 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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30 comments

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matthewn5 | 4 years ago
0 likes

Terrible driving, but the lesson I take from that is to cycle more defensively. Brake when approaching a junction if a vehicle is alongside, so you drop back behind it. I've lost count of the number of times I've had overtaking vehicles suddenly turn left without indicating. Just never let yourself be caught on the left of any vehicle at a junction. You can't rely on them seeing you're there.

It's totally their fault for bad driving, but it's you the rider that is knocked off and hurt and has bike wrecked. Best to assume every driver is an idiot!

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Tribble | 4 years ago
2 likes

Anything less than a driving suspension until after an extended retest is insufficient punishment here. That driver should not be on the road until they learn (or are taught) to look beyond the tip of their own nose.

Kudos to MCR Cyclist for their quick reactions and good handling, but it shouldn't be the responsibility of vulnerable road users to evade the actions of dangerous drivers.

Any bets the driver later narrated this story including the words "they appeared from nowhere".

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dcddcd | 4 years ago
5 likes

Road markings, lanes and all the rest of it are of no use whatsoever if the driver in question is doing one of the many other things that drivers do in vehicles other than drive. Phone, radio, breakfast - you name it.

And it's mental on the roads these days, particularly in a city (says he, living 10 minutes from the Yorkshire Dales).

Concentration and good 'vehicle body language'  interpretation is worth a thousand cycle lanes. As cyclists we'd mostly have been squashed long ago if we didn't 'read' all the traffic around us.

Unfortunately for us the wonders of modern technology make vehicles safer for the occupants every year and, without the feeling of vulnerability, the driver's concentration levels fall.

OP did well to avoid that one.

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mitsky | 4 years ago
1 like
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Judge dreadful | 4 years ago
1 like

I’d definitely have gone after the van and had a word. That was totally unacceptable.

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Zermattjohn replied to Judge dreadful | 4 years ago
7 likes
Judge dreadful wrote:

I’d definitely have gone after the van and had a word. That was totally unacceptable.

You might want to speak to the driver. Having words with the van will get you nowhere.

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quiff | 4 years ago
0 likes

Agree with FrogBucket - even if the cyclist had been turning left, this driving could have resulted in a collision.

However, I don't think there's an issue with the cyclist going straight on from that lane. My commute has a long stretch of road like this - bus lane with side roads. The left arrow on the road indicates a short exception to the bus lane, i.e. indicating that other vehicles may enter what is otherwise a bus lane at that point for the purpose of turning left into a side-road only. However, Rules 182 and 183 still apply, which the driver here clearly flouted:

Rule 182

Use your mirrors and give a left-turn signal well before you turn left. Do not overtake just before you turn left and watch out for traffic coming up on your left before you make the turn, especially if driving a large vehicle. Cyclists, motorcyclists and other road users in particular may be hidden from your view.

Rule 183

When turning... give way to any vehicles using a bus lane, cycle lane or tramway from either direction.

Buses and other vehicles permitted to use the bus lane can therefore continue straight on in that lane. Having said that, I'm always on the look-out for left hooks at these side-roads, and try to ride centrally or to the right of the bus lane at these points.

 

 

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The Giblet | 4 years ago
0 likes

The left turn arrow painted on the road is not regulatory, no offense if you go straight ahead. However if you crash when going straight ahead if the arrow showed left turn only then your argument is reduced.

However in this example legitimate bus lane users can travel straight ahead, how do you think buses continue in the morning peak?

The issue along this road is the total lack of Policing and the ability for non-license holders to drive around with no thought or care that they will ever get stopped. 

This video demonstrates the driver of the van is 100% at fault and had been drivering in a poor way before the left hook.

Camberwell New Road is where you learn how to be aware of everything around you when cycling, much like Luke learns to use the force in Star Wars.

 

 

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brooksby replied to The Giblet | 4 years ago
0 likes
The Giblet wrote:

This video demonstrates the driver of the van is 100% at fault and had been drivering in a poor way before the left hook.

"drivering"??  yes 

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stonojnr replied to The Giblet | 4 years ago
0 likes
The Giblet wrote:

However in this example legitimate bus lane users can travel straight ahead, how do you think buses continue in the morning peak?

Simple,might is right,I doubt double decker buses encounter many left hand hooks on their travels,even from optimistic white van drivers,so no one is going to bug them if they carry on straight over,ditto taxis theyd be going too fast to even attempt it, it's only the cyclists left in danger there hoping people drive sensibly around them,which to me says s***e infra & its a contributory cause in that near miss,even if the driver should wholly take blame for it, its a setup where a tiny mistake could kill you

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Pudsey Pedaller replied to The Giblet | 4 years ago
1 like
The Giblet wrote:

The left turn arrow painted on the road is not regulatory, no offense if you go straight ahead. However if you crash when going straight ahead if the arrow showed left turn only then your argument is reduced.

However in this example legitimate bus lane users can travel straight ahead, how do you think buses continue in the morning peak?

This is correct. Road marking arrows need to be accompanied by the words ‘TURN LEFT’, ‘TURN RIGHT’ or ‘AHEAD ONLY’ to be considered mandatory instructions. Otherwise they are there to inform road users which is the more appropriate lane to use.

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brooksby replied to Pudsey Pedaller | 4 years ago
0 likes
Pudsey Pedaller wrote:
The Giblet wrote:

The left turn arrow painted on the road is not regulatory, no offense if you go straight ahead. However if you crash when going straight ahead if the arrow showed left turn only then your argument is reduced.

However in this example legitimate bus lane users can travel straight ahead, how do you think buses continue in the morning peak?

This is correct. Road marking arrows need to be accompanied by the words ‘TURN LEFT’, ‘TURN RIGHT’ or ‘AHEAD ONLY’ to be considered mandatory instructions. Otherwise they are there to inform road users which is the more appropriate lane to use.

Really? I did not know that. Live and learn, eh?  3

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BehindTheBikesheds | 4 years ago
8 likes

People blaming the cyclist want their head testing, the driver basically aimed his motor at him with zero consideration.

Even IF the cyclist was turning, the motorist was not just in the wrong lane to turn left, he would have struck him anyways. Cutting into another lane when there is another road user there is unlawful, it is an assault.

How police can simply fob this off with yet another driver 'awareness' course is beyond belief, well actually it isn't because they're lazy, inept and discriminate. If this was one of them in the lane either on a bike or in a motor do you think the outcome would be the same, not a fucking chance!

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MarsFlyer | 4 years ago
4 likes

The driver is clearly to blame for a number of reasons:

  • he was turning left from an ahead only lane
  • the cyclist had been travelling with/ahead of him for a long time so he clearly knew he was there and that the cyclist was travelling at a comparable speed.

It therefore looks to me like a deliberate and dangerous act to speed past the cyclist and turn before the cyclist. He should therefore have been prosecuted rather than being let off with an improvement course. 

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bikeman01 | 4 years ago
1 like

Rider remains in turn left lane, van driver probably expected him to turn left. Of course van shouldn't be turning left from the RH lane anyway but two wrongs... 

I see also that there are cycle markings to the right of the bus lane - I bet motorists don't take kindly to anyone actually cycling outside of the bus lane.

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Boopop | 4 years ago
2 likes

On a more positive note, kudos to the other cyclist for asking if MCRCyclist was OK  1

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ktache | 4 years ago
2 likes

I don't think it's just "common practice" that legitimate users of the bus lane can go straight on when in the left lane, I'm reckoning one of those blurry signs makes it clear.  In the submission to the police it was stated "which is left turn only for all traffic EXCEPT for cyclists, buses and taxis" presumably he isn't just making that up.

And still the van was in the straight ahead lane. and never moved from it.

Though having now had a look on google streetview, which is taken from the opposite side of the road so not ideal, I couldn't see any signs allowing this, so I am very willing to be corrected.

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FrogBucket replied to ktache | 4 years ago
0 likes

 

If you look closely at the video you’ll see a cycle lane in the junction lading ahead. Either way, even if the cyclist was turning left it looks like the van would have either hit them or done a super close pass. 

 

ktache wrote:

I don't think it's just "common practice" that legitimate users of the bus lane can go straight on when in the left lane, I'm reckoning one of those blurry signs makes it clear.  In the submission to the police it was stated "which is left turn only for all traffic EXCEPT for cyclists, buses and taxis" presumably he isn't just making that up.

And still the van was in the straight ahead lane. and never moved from it.

Though having now had a look on google streetview, which is taken from the opposite side of the road so not ideal, I couldn't see any signs allowing this, so I am very willing to be corrected.

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OldRidgeback | 4 years ago
3 likes

That's terrible driving. I use that road sometimes and it isn't a good one.

How the driver didn't see the cyclist is hard to imagine.

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BehindTheBikesheds | 4 years ago
4 likes

FUCKING PISS TAKE, plod are the usual disgrace and letting driver off, if not for the cyclists quick reactions this could have been a serious injury or fatality, it's dangerus driving all day long.

Do police actually think their little wrist slaps are working, I'll tell you they aren't, same as juries full of motorists and incompetent judges letting off killer drivers, or ones that maim/seriously injure and too often simply blame the victim.

These drivers who go about assaulting people in the carriage should have trackers fitted to it and any indiscretions of any sort over the following 6 months they get fined each and every time direct from their wages, serious indiscretions like this get immediate straight to court with a heavier fine and a driving ban.

Until someone in authority actually tells the police to sort their fucking shot storm out nothing will change, but you know, cyclists on 'pavements' etc etc.

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KeithBird | 4 years ago
2 likes

I'd say that was deliberate.
There was a passenger, ironically wearing hi-vis sitting on that side so no way they weren't aware of presence.

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lesterama | 4 years ago
3 likes

Dangerous driving. Also poor infrastructure, with the l/h filter overlapping the cycle lane, but no excuse for that move.

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ktache | 4 years ago
0 likes

Stuff happens at around the 1.15 mark, but you can see the inevitible developing from about 50 seconds.  Interesting rear view within main front view editing there.  I couldn't see any indication before the motorist actually started their turn.

I believe the cyclists local knowledge in the straight on for users of the bus lane, I couldn't read the signs, but by the time the bus lane ends the van is to their right and would have made it impossible to change lanes.  The van was always in the straight ahead lane.

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EK Spinner | 4 years ago
1 like

Mmmm, the rider is going straight on from a left turn lane and the driver is turning right (with no signal) from the straight on lane.

Very poor that the bus/cycle lane drops you into the left turn lane so close to the junction. but I think I would be in the outer lane for going straight thru that junction.

 

*** edit to add

I notice unusually the outer lane also has a bike symbol painted on it (jaust as the bus lane ends) but of course this then means crossing a stop line to get into the bike box for the ASL at the lights. Shocking set of road markings

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ChrisB200SX replied to EK Spinner | 4 years ago
3 likes
EK Spinner wrote:

Mmmm, the rider is going straight on from a left turn lane and the driver is turning right (with no signal) from the straight on lane.

Very poor that the bus/cycle lane drops you into the left turn lane so close to the junction. but I think I would be in the outer lane for going straight thru that junction.

 

*** edit to add

I notice unusually the outer lane also has a bike symbol painted on it (jaust as the bus lane ends) but of course this then means crossing a stop line to get into the bike box for the ASL at the lights. Shocking set of road markings

Nope, I commute this road every day. Buses, taxis and bikes go straight ahead in that lane to rejoin the bus lane the other side of the junction. Buses and taxis should only turn left from there but it's nearly impossible most of the time due to traffic in the other lane. The ASL box doesn't show that you have to turn left from that side of it.
You simply must not turn left from the right hand lane.

Looked fairly deliberate to me.
If the cyclist who took the video is reading this, you'll need serious spidey senses on that road in both directions, the cycle lanes don't mean an thing to drivers around there. Oh, and vehicles pulling out from those side-roads when their lights have been red for a while. Good luck!

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EK Spinner replied to ChrisB200SX | 4 years ago
0 likes
ChrisB200SX wrote:
EK Spinner wrote:

Mmmm, the rider is going straight on from a left turn lane and the driver is turning right (with no signal) from the straight on lane.

Very poor that the bus/cycle lane drops you into the left turn lane so close to the junction. but I think I would be in the outer lane for going straight thru that junction.

 

*** edit to add

I notice unusually the outer lane also has a bike symbol painted on it (jaust as the bus lane ends) but of course this then means crossing a stop line to get into the bike box for the ASL at the lights. Shocking set of road markings

Nope, I commute this road every day. Buses, taxis and bikes go straight ahead in that lane to rejoin the bus lane the other side of the junction. Buses and taxis should only turn left from there but it's nearly impossible most of the time due to traffic in the other lane. The ASL box doesn't show that you have to turn left from that side of it.
You simply must not turn left from the right hand lane.

Looked fairly deliberate to me.
If the cyclist who took the video is reading this, you'll need serious spidey senses on that road in both directions, the cycle lanes don't mean an thing to drivers around there. Oh, and vehicles pulling out from those side-roads when their lights have been red for a while. Good luck!

 

It may have become common practice to go straight ahead there, but the lane is clearly marked as left turn only. The driver would be have a strong argument of shared blame since the rider was going straight on and he was trying not to cross into the lane behind him by leaving his lane change late and expecting to follow him around the corner. Doesn't make his driving anything less than atrocious.

My comment regarding the ASL is because strictly speaking you should not cross a solid white stop line to enter it, therefore it can only be accessed correctly from the left lane, though I can't imagine this ever being enforced. Still an awful set of road markings

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levermonkey replied to EK Spinner | 4 years ago
0 likes

[/quote]It may have become common practice to go straight ahead there, but the lane is clearly marked as left turn only. The driver would be have a strong argument of shared blame since the rider was going straight on and he was trying not to cross into the lane behind him by leaving his lane change late and expecting to follow him around the corner. [/quote]

It is not uncommon to have a 'Left Turn' arrow painted on the road and there to be an 'Except for Buses and Cycles' sign by the roadside adding clarification.

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wycombewheeler replied to EK Spinner | 4 years ago
2 likes
EK Spinner wrote:

It may have become common practice to go straight ahead there, but the lane is clearly marked as left turn only. The driver would be have a strong argument of shared blame since the rider was going straight on and he was trying not to cross into the lane behind him by leaving his lane change late and expecting to follow him around the corner. Doesn't make his driving anything less than atrocious.

My comment regarding the ASL is because strictly speaking you should not cross a solid white stop line to enter it, therefore it can only be accessed correctly from the left lane, though I can't imagine this ever being enforced. Still an awful set of road markings

its standard evrywhere that left turn only does not apply to bus lane users, or do you sugest that a bus in the bus lane before the junction heading for the bus lane after the junction should merge into the right hand lane to go across the junction before moving back into the bus lane?

sort of defeats the purpose of the bus lane really?

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FrogBucket replied to EK Spinner | 4 years ago
1 like

 

 

If you study the video you’ll  notice that actually their is a cycle lane going straight ahead. Further, check government issuers advice via Home Office re ASL - simply, cyclists can enter from any direction they please. 

 

EK Spinner wrote:
ChrisB200SX wrote:
EK Spinner wrote:

Mmmm, the rider is going straight on from a left turn lane and the driver is turning right (with no signal) from the straight on lane.

Very poor that the bus/cycle lane drops you into the left turn lane so close to the junction. but I think I would be in the outer lane for going straight thru that junction.

 

*** edit to add

I notice unusually the outer lane also has a bike symbol painted on it (jaust as the bus lane ends) but of course this then means crossing a stop line to get into the bike box for the ASL at the lights. Shocking set of road markings

Nope, I commute this road every day. Buses, taxis and bikes go straight ahead in that lane to rejoin the bus lane the other side of the junction. Buses and taxis should only turn left from there but it's nearly impossible most of the time due to traffic in the other lane. The ASL box doesn't show that you have to turn left from that side of it.
You simply must not turn left from the right hand lane.

Looked fairly deliberate to me.
If the cyclist who took the video is reading this, you'll need serious spidey senses on that road in both directions, the cycle lanes don't mean an thing to drivers around there. Oh, and vehicles pulling out from those side-roads when their lights have been red for a while. Good luck!

 

It may have become common practice to go straight ahead there, but the lane is clearly marked as left turn only. The driver would be have a strong argument of shared blame since the rider was going straight on and he was trying not to cross into the lane behind him by leaving his lane change late and expecting to follow him around the corner. Doesn't make his driving anything less than atrocious.

My comment regarding the ASL is because strictly speaking you should not cross a solid white stop line to enter it, therefore it can only be accessed correctly from the left lane, though I can't imagine this ever being enforced. Still an awful set of road markings

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bikeman01 replied to EK Spinner | 4 years ago
0 likes
EK Spinner wrote:

Mmmm, the rider is going straight on from a left turn lane and the driver is turning right (with no signal) from the straight on lane.

Very poor that the bus/cycle lane drops you into the left turn lane so close to the junction. but I think I would be in the outer lane for going straight thru that junction.

 

*** edit to add

I notice unusually the outer lane also has a bike symbol painted on it (jaust as the bus lane ends) but of course this then means crossing a stop line to get into the bike box for the ASL at the lights. Shocking set of road markings

There's another at the start of the bus lane as well. Piss poor road markings. You'd have to be brave to take up that position.

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