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Near Miss of the Day 472: Illegal overtakes at pedestrian crossings

Our regular series featuring close passes from around the country - today it's Hertfordshire...

Today’s video in our Near Miss of the Day series shows two separate incidents in which motorists not only made a close pass on bike riders, but also did so at pedestrian crossings marked with zig-zag lines – which, as road.cc reader John, who submitted the footage, points out in a very detailed analysis is also illegal.

He said: “The Highway Code is quite explicit: ‘You MUST NOT overtake the moving vehicle nearest the crossing’. Though technically in the underlying legislation cycles do not count as vehicles (Laws ZPPPCRGD regs 18, 20 & 24, RTRA sect 25(5) & TSRGD regs 10, 27 & 28) it is hard to interpret the HC as written, in any other meaning than ‘Don’t overtake at pedestrian crossings’. Let alone overtake in a manner that potentially puts people in danger.

“In the first clip, the blue BMW, despite good forward visibility of the me (the cyclist) for some distance appears to make no moderation of speed and no attempt to give sufficient passing margin. Overtaking on the crossing itself whilst a vehicle passes in the opposite direction. Had the driver slightly eased off the accelerator and shown any ability at linking observation to forward planning they could have easily overtaken into a clear space in the stream of oncoming traffic. Whilst the pass didn’t feel incredibly dangerously close it definitely felt like there was little room for error.

“Comments often state that passes sometimes do not look as close on camera as they felt at the time so I subsequently went back to take some measurements. The car tyre goes over the line 76 inches from the kerb. Allow another 7 inches for the mirror = 69 inches. My line of travel is 2 to 3 inches off the points of the zig zag lines which puts the centre line of my bike at around 33 inches from the kerb. I feel this is an entirely appropriate secondary riding position as per RoSPA etc and an old motorcyclist habit of avoiding white lines as they can be significantly different in terms of grip than unpainted tarmac. My handlebars are a whopping 29 inches end to end so with elbows I’m going to claim that the far right hand edge of my roadspace, i.e taken up by parts of me comes to approx. 48 inches from the kerb.

“This places the passing distance mirror tip to elbow at just over 20 inches or around 1/3 of the proposed guidelines of 1.5m.”

John continued: “In the second clip I’m out riding with a friend. We are travelling side by side approaching a pedestrian crossing immediately before a busy roundabout. We are freewheeling the downhill section here as there is a pedestrian waiting at the crossing and we are anticipating that the lights will change. I don’t know what speed we were travelling at but it was quite appropriate given the crossing and the busy roundabout ahead. The white car comes up quite fast from behind in a 30mph limit and the driver sounds the horn. Courtesy beep or “get outta my way” beep? The car then overtakes on the pedestrian crossing as the lights are changing and at the same time as a car approaches in the opposite direction, close passing me before slithering onto the roundabout and taking the first exit to join the queue of traffic in the High Street.

“In both these clips I am wearing a dayglo multicoloured cycling top and bright yellow helmet. The Cycliq rear camera is in medium flash mode. I have a full driving licence, own several motor vehicles on which I pay “road tax” and I carry third party insurance. As far as I am aware I have committed no moving traffic violation in the run up to either incident – well maybe my pedal reflectors are missing. Please also note, no swearing, verbal interaction, gesticulation or ninja style over the handlebar drop kick attempts to the passing vehicles.

“What have I done wrong to cause these drivers to consider that they have the right to put me and others at risk for very little benefit to themselves?

“Both incidents submitted to Hertfordshire Constabulary via their online reporting portal for antisocial driving with request for video footage. No follow up from the Police to date,” he added.

> 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 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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