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Near Miss of the Day 627: Close passes over solid white line

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

A cyclist who submitted video of two close passes made on him by drivers despite a solid white line being painted on the road has expressed his frustration that no action was taken against the motorists other than to send them warning letters.

The footage was shot by road.cc reader BucksCycleCammer, who told us: “Heading down from Windsor to the Great Park, I was subject to several close passes within half a mile. These two were the worst, with the Volvo being no more than a foot away.

“This was reported to Thames Valley Police (TVP) on 16 August, to which they replied by letter dated 18 August. Top marks for speed of response; unfortunately, not so much for the response itself:

After careful consideration of the available evidence and surrounding circumstances, it has been decided that the most appropriate course of action is to officially warn the keepers of [the vehicles] regarding their close passes.

On studying the video evidence it is clear that the drivers did not allow sufficient distance when passing. The Highway Code states, you must give a cyclist as much room as another car when overtaking. It is recommended that you allow a minimum overtake distance of 1.5 metres.

If the drivers commits [sic] any further offences, of a similar nature, then consideration will be given to taking further Police action.

“Having seen this exact wording and punctuation before, it's clear that this is a standard template letter. This in itself would be fine, but it's becoming clear that TVP is also following a standard template response to close passes: of the 16 responses I've actually had to close pass reports this year (most reports have not received any response as yet), every single one has resulted in a warning or 'advice' – including a couple of uninsured and/or non-MOTd vehicles. In contrast, the single report to Devon & Cornwall resulted in notification that a NIP [Notice of Intended Prosecution] was being sent. I suppose that TVP is still slightly ahead of Surrey and Hants, however, who don't provide any outcome at all.

“Given the distance involved in the second instance, I have asked TVP to confirm exactly how close a motor vehicle may pass a cyclist before they will consider taking further action, or whether actual contact is required in order to issue a NIP. On previous form, I'm not counting on a response.”

> 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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