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Near Miss of the Day 573: Close pass van driver asks cyclist, “Two feet is enough, isn't it?”

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

“Two feet is enough, isn't it?” That was the question a van driver put to a cyclist when challenged following a close pass on a bend in Marlow, Buckinghamshire.

Alex, the reader who submitted the footage for our Near Miss of the Day series, said in a caption to the video that “he came within 50cm of my bars” – so around one and a half feet.

Unlike some other jurisdictions, in the UK there is no minimum legal passing distance when overtaking a cyclist, with Rule 163 of the Highway Code stating only that motorists should “give motorcyclists, cyclists and horse riders at least as much room as you would when overtaking a car,” accompanied by this picture.

Highway Code Rule 163

However, under the close pass initiative developed several years ago by West Midlands Police and subsequently adopted by police forces across the country, 1.5 metres is generally considered the minimum space motorists should give to avoid being pulled over by police conducting such operations.

In this case, Alex told us that with the overtake happening on a bend, the driver “inevitably cut the corner (with me on it). 

“I caught up with him a minute later as he'd pulled over.  His opinion was that 2 feet is enough room to leave cyclists.  Thames Valley Police disagree and have issued him with an 'official warning' with a reminder of safe passing distances.”

Alex also sent in another clip filmed on the same road, saying: “A few things in this one. 

“Driver lets another vehicle out of a side road – no problem there – but seemingly mainly because it then allows him to cut the corner onto the wrong side of the road. 

“However, I'm already turning and so this puts him in conflict with me – even if I had been going straight on, he'd have cut right across my path.  To make matters worse, he then immediately turns left. 

“I haven't yet had a response from TVP regarding this incident.”

> 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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