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Near Miss of the Day 338: Driver convicted of careless driving for close pass

Our regular feature showing near misses from around the country

Today’s near miss resulted in a conviction for careless driving. The driver was handed eight penalty points and a £250 fine.

Submissions to this feature often come replete with a story of disappointment at the response from police. Others tell us they aren’t even willing to submit the footage because they believe that nothing would come of it.

Conor submitted this footage after suffering a close pass on the Upper Hightown Road in Belfast on June 4. While the process sounds like it was at times a bit of an ordeal, it did result in the driver being charged.

“I contacted the local police station, they asked me to come in to make a statement the next day and then asked me to submit the video on USB drive following this,” he explained.

The Public Prosecution Service (PPS) saw fit to try for a dangerous driving conviction. Conor said he didn't have to do anything further until he was required in court as a witness.

“Although the Police Service of Northern Ireland and PPS felt it was dangerous driving, the magistrate felt that it wasn't – seemingly because I wasn't actually forced off the road. I think there was also a reluctance to convict on dangerous driving as it would have meant loss of employment for the driver.

“The magistrate said it was at the upper end of 'careless' and this wasn't to diminish the seriousness of the offence. She also made reference to a recent local case where a club rider was left paralysed following a collision.

“I was asked on the morning of the court date if I would accept a plea of guilty for careless driving, but I wasn't happy to do this – not least because I had taken a day of annual leave to attend and the defendant hadn't even bothered to show up.

“Thankfully, it wasn't adjourned and he was tried in his absence anyway, otherwise I would have had to come back another day. In the end I wasn't asked/required to give evidence, so sat in the gallery for the short proceedings.

“Overall it was a bit of hassle to submit the video, take a day off work and attend court etc – and I do feel a conviction of dangerous driving wouldn't have been excessive. However, eight penalty points and a £250 fine is not nothing.

“I know there is variation between how police forces deal with incidents like this, but I do feel it's worth pursuing.”

> 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.

Alex has written for more cricket publications than the rest of the road.cc team combined. Despite the apparent evidence of this picture, he doesn't especially like cake.

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16 comments

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Philh68 | 4 years ago
0 likes

It’s hard to tell from the video, is that an oncoming car appearing at the 4s mark?

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giff77 | 4 years ago
1 like

That part of the Upper Hightown used to have a pretty nasty dog leg on it (right left of 90% at each bend). The DOE in their infinite wisdom decided to straighten the road due to boy racers coming from the Belfast side forgetting about the corner on the downhill stretch. They also widened the road on the Glengormley side where this looks like the incident occurred. In my opinion this has made the road faster and therefore more challenging for cyclists to be on. It used to be a great road to cycle. The climb out of Belfast at The Horseshoe was a bit of a challenge!  

Well done Connor on the result. It would appear that the PSNI and PPS is more committed to seeing these close passes being dealt with now days. 

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Mungecrundle | 4 years ago
0 likes

Hope you burned those bibshorts afterwards!

Literally inches from death and the Magistrate thought it wasn't dangerous?

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Hirsute | 4 years ago
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alansmurphy replied to Hirsute | 4 years ago
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hirsute wrote:

Dave Sherry hit by lorry (driver)

https://metro.co.uk/2018/02/07/cyclist-catches-moment-lorry-driver-knock...

 

On the video it appears the first 2 cars that would have witnessed it just carry on, and when the ambulance stops and then cars on Dave's side do, one at the end of the clip is trying to force their way through. Says a lot!

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grumpyoldcyclist | 4 years ago
2 likes

Well done for sticking with it, even though the tosser pleads not guilty then decides not to show. Think that mirrors the level of comptempt they have for the rules that don't suit them. Eight points, might, just might make them think again, particularly when the next insurance renewal comes around.

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Hirsute replied to grumpyoldcyclist | 4 years ago
1 like
grumpyoldcyclist wrote:

Well done for sticking with it, even though the tosser pleads not guilty then decides not to show. Think that mirrors the level of comptempt they have for the rules that don't suit them. Eight points, might, just might make them think again, particularly when the next insurance renewal comes around.

Can't believe you can have up to 12 points on an hgv

https://www.hgvtraining.co.uk/driving-disqualifications/

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Hirsute | 4 years ago
0 likes

Good result. I hope this means they can't drive an hgv for a long while.

 

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ChrisB200SX | 4 years ago
2 likes

Struggling to imagine how that doesn't fall far below the stadnard expected of a carefuly and competenet driver? Given that the driver has passed their HGV licence and being paid not to nearly kill people on public roads?

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CyclingInBeastMode replied to ChrisB200SX | 4 years ago
1 like
ChrisB200SX wrote:

Struggling to imagine how that doesn't fall far below the stadnard expected of a carefuly and competenet driver? Given that the driver has passed their HGV licence and being paid not to nearly kill people on public roads?

quite, that's dangerous all day long and is a few inches from being a KSI so cannot by definition be simply 'careless'. There's also the fact that the driver has chosen to drive that close, they had option not to do so, so it is deliberate, the system has essentially downgraded dangerous as a matter of course especially when we have death by careless which is in itself rather obvious that a death can rarely ever be caused by a careless action and must have been dangerous by defition of outcome in the vast majority of cases where that outcome is far more frequent due to same/similar actions.

Careless driving is when you bump into something/someone at very low speed with a likely outcome of no or very minor injury damage, pull out over a stop/give way line a smidge when the road isn't clear and causes someone to deviate a small amount or have a bit of a fright. This simply isn't!

If you did that to a copper standing by the roadside or even if they were in a jam sandwich that would have a far different outcome/charge! The sooner we delete motoring charges and make these criminal acts come under the against the persons act the better it will be for everyone!

 

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kil0ran | 4 years ago
2 likes

Also - in a landmark development - Hampshire Police are finally (no, rly) accepting camera footage in relation to close passes:

https://hants-snap-police.egressforms.com/

A seemingly definitive statement regarding posting the footage on social media prior to action being taken too on the FAQ page

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Pushing50 replied to kil0ran | 4 years ago
1 like
kil0ran wrote:

Also - in a landmark development - Hampshire Police are finally (no, rly) accepting camera footage in relation to close passes:

https://hants-snap-police.egressforms.com/

A seemingly definitive statement regarding posting the footage on social media prior to action being taken too on the FAQ page

Jesus man!!! I have just choked on my coffee and spilt the rest down my nicely pressed, brilliant white cotton shirt!!!!  

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kil0ran | 4 years ago
2 likes

Maybe, just maybe, the magistrate should be asked to stand at the side of that road as an artic screams past. She might change her mind.

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peted76 | 4 years ago
9 likes

Eight penalty points for a close pass, that must be some sort of record, well done for sticking with it,  that seems actually half proportionate.

 

.. I hesitate to say this out loud.. does this mean the law  might, slowly, possibly, start to think of us as something other than an annoyance to cars. 

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PRSboy replied to peted76 | 4 years ago
0 likes
peted76 wrote:

Eight penalty points for a close pass, that must be some sort of record, well done for sticking with it,  that seems actually half proportionate.

 

.. I hesitate to say this out loud.. does this mean the law  might, slowly, possibly, start to think of us as something other than an annoyance to cars. 

Don't worry, normal service is resumed...

https://road.cc/content/news/268971-targeting-cyclists-will-have-more-be...

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hawkinspeter replied to peted76 | 4 years ago
1 like
peted76 wrote:

Eight penalty points for a close pass, that must be some sort of record, well done for sticking with it,  that seems actually half proportionate.

 

.. I hesitate to say this out loud.. does this mean the law  might, slowly, possibly, start to think of us as something other than an annoyance to cars. 

It depends on where you are (and which officer you deal with - in my experience). Hopefully, more areas will jump on the close-pass bandwagon. To my mind, it's an easy way for police to increase their presence at very low cost (possibly get an intern or two to watch the videos and give a verdict) and also increase road safety. As word gets round, more and more drivers will actually think when overtaking (or not) cyclists.

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