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Near Miss of the Day 553: Driver on wrong side of the road on rat-run route nearly hits cyclist head-on

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

The latest video in our Near Miss of the Day series shows a driver on a road known for rat-running almost hitting a cyclist head-on – with the motorist subsequently sent on an awareness course by the Metropolitan Police.

The footage was shot on St Andrew’s Road, just off Orpington High Street in the London Borough of Bromley, by road.cc reader Tim, as he commuted to work at 8.40am on 5 October – a time when there was a lot of school run traffic in the area.

“It is a residential back road which is used as a rat run by motorists to miss one set of traffic lights,” he told us. “There are a lot of parked cars and a lot of potholes in the road.

“I had tried to position myself to be as visible as possible to vehicles coming the other way. Despite this, the car steered towards me and came round the bend on completely the wrong side of the road.

“It was only when I looked at the rear footage that I realised just how close the car came to my back wheel. The car made no effort to brake or swerve to avoid me. I reported it to the Met Police with this footage.

“I followed it up last week and was told the driver had been offered a ‘driver awareness course’. I was very surprised by this, given that the car was on completely the wrong side of the road and the driver was not looking where they were going.”

With Tim highlighting how the road in question is used by rat-running drivers, the video also highlights a key benefit of low-traffic neighbourhoods, which are now becoming widespread in a number of boroughs in the capital – but not Bromley.

One striking example from elsewhere in south London of how filters to stop motorists seeking shortcuts can make a huge difference to levels of traffic – and, as a result, the safety of vulnerable road users – can be found in the latest YouTube video from Jon Stone’s London cycle Routes channel, showcasing a ride through quiet back streets from Loughborough Junction to Streatham Hill.

> 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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