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Near Miss of the Day 524: “Taking primary' doesn't always work” – Driver close passes Surrey Hills cyclist riding downhill

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

Today's Near Miss of the Day video, in the words of reader Nick who was on the receiving end of a very close pass as he descended Staple Lane in the Surrey Hills, demonstrates that "'taking primary' doesn't always work."

"Having previously submitted footage for NMOTD 232 (yes, I did get a rear-camera for Xmas that year!) I’ve been fortunate to have ‘only’ had a couple of close-passes since - sadly, as with this clip, they were reported to Surrey Police who, like most forces these days, simply do not provide any feedback on if they’ve viewed a video or taken action on it. It’s been over 4 weeks since I reported this, so I feel it’s safe to share," Nick said.

"Anyway, I felt I should share this incident as it really does highlight that, sadly, ’taking primary’ doesn’t always work. To set the scene, I’m approaching the summit of Staple Lane in Surrey about to descend the hill towards the A246. There was a cyclist ahead of me, so to keep a safe distance from that rider I took the centre-line of the carriageway as I start to accelerate down the hill. As I’m descending the hill at speed, I’m largely concentrating on the control of my bike, so I was somewhat stunned that a motor vehicle overtook me at speed and extremely closely. Due to the wind noise I couldn’t hear their approach (had they politely ‘pipped’ I’d have moved across, as the road is quite wide at that point) - generally speaking, on a narrow country lane you don’t really want a car in front, as any on-coming traffic will make them stop and pull-over, thus forcing you to stop also, whereas if they aren’t in front you can usually pass oncoming traffic quite easily - this scenario can be really dangerous on a descent, as you’ll be going much faster, hence my preference to always take primary on such roads (it also improves your visibility to traffic from both directions.)

"Due to my speed down the hill (you will usually go well over 30mph+ on that hill) I was certainly not impeding the driver, nor was I expecting anyone to do anything so stupid - if I had veered off my line the driver would have almost certainly hit me and I would have been severely injured or killed," Nick added.

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

Over the years 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] or send us a message via the 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 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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