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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