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Near Miss of the Day 647: Driver squeezes cyclist into kerb

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

A driver squeezing a cyclist into a kerb outside Royston Station in Hertfordshire is what we have in our Near Miss of the Day series today, with the rider saying that poor infrastructure was also partly to blame.

John, who posted the video to YouTube, said: “Whilst this was telegraphed right from the point when the van signals to turn right, there was a weary inevitability of at least one of the following drivers not being able to see beyond the end of their bonnet and creating an easily preventable situation.

“This also demonstrates that poor cycle infrastructure, in this case a narrow cycle lane that disappears just where you need it, can cause more problems than it solves.

“Not reported as driver apologised and no damage done apart from a bit of a scratch from my bar end to her quarter panel,” he concluded, adding that the driver will “hopefully be a bit more aware in future.”

> 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 joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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26 comments

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iandusud | 2 years ago
2 likes

An awful but very common bit of driving when a car attempts to overtake cyclist where there is no chance of being able to complete the manouvre. I encounter this regularly but generally manage to anticipate it and take the lane and look over my shoulder at the driver and let them know what I think of them. This is where having a mirror on your bike is very helpful because you can tell by their approach speed what they're going to attempt. 

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brooksby replied to iandusud | 2 years ago
0 likes
iandusud wrote:

An awful but very common bit of driving when a car attempts to overtake cyclist where there is no chance of being able to complete the manouvre. I encounter this regularly but generally manage to anticipate it and take the lane and look over my shoulder at the driver and let them know what I think of them. This is where having a mirror on your bike is very helpful because you can tell by their approach speed what they're going to attempt. 

Last week, coming into work, I was approaching a pinch point / pedestrian refuge on my usual journey.  This is one where I've often had motorists overtake me on the wrong side of the island.

That morning, I was aware of someone coming up behind me; looked over my shoulder and thought they would do the usual.

I didn't change my speed at all, just kept on pedalling.  A quick glance to my right and I could see the car's bonnet drawing level with me.  The island was approaching and I braced myself.

But then <shakes head in disbelief> the bonnet retreated, the car's engine noise changed, and they braked and pulled in behind me, and then overtook slowly and wide once we were both through the pinch point.

It was very unusual behaviour.

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rjfrussell | 2 years ago
5 likes

Forget the near miss-  the most shocking thing here is the idea that that consitutes a cycle lane. 

It just makes life more dangerous, as it is obvs far too narrow, mostly taken up by the slippery yellow lines, and yet may create hostility if cyclists take the sensible course of NOT cycling in it.

Lunacy

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JLasTSR | 2 years ago
1 like

One thing that the video reminded me about is how quickly we accelerate when we go from flat or uphill to downhill. We can double our speed, I have done this when cars are overtaking me and it surprises drivers because suddenly a quick pass can take twice as long. It is because car drivers don't accelerate downhill rather they lift off a bit to carry on at the same speed, so they don't look out for downhill stretches or perceive that the cyclist will change speed. Not saying that was a factor in the video just reminded of my experiences locally and one particular bit that sees me go from 14mph up to 30ish Mph in about 200 yards in a 40 mph zone.

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Flintshire Boy | 2 years ago
2 likes

Think you should have commanded the lane once you saw the van was turning.

You even said yourself - 'this was telegraphed right from the point when the van signals to turn right, there was a weary inevitability of at least one of the following drivers ...........'.

But do certainly acknowledge that that is a totally crappy bike lane!

 

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joe9090 | 2 years ago
8 likes

If that had been me i would have been taking her wing mirror home with me. Its not that she wasnt really looking that time, its that she is completely oblivious to cyclists and their saftey. 

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swldxer replied to joe9090 | 2 years ago
3 likes

DOOR mirror. It's not the 1970's!

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mdavidford replied to swldxer | 2 years ago
14 likes

It's not the 1970s either.

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hawkinspeter replied to swldxer | 2 years ago
6 likes
swldxer wrote:

DOOR mirror. It's not the 1970's!

Didn't ABBA just bring out an album?

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Jenova20 replied to hawkinspeter | 2 years ago
1 like
hawkinspeter wrote:
swldxer wrote:

DOOR mirror. It's not the 1970's!

Didn't ABBA just bring out an album?

To the tune of Money Money Money:

♫ Mirror Mirror Mirror ♫

♫ That's Door Mirror ♫

♫ In UK terms... ♫

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vichycycl replied to joe9090 | 2 years ago
3 likes

She was paying attention. She just thought you should accede to the car once it passed you, on an "unnecessary pleasure ride with a toy vehicle."

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EK Spinner | 2 years ago
11 likes

There is a certain inevitability about this one, poor driving and shocking road markings, even if they didn't suddenly run out at the crunch point.

These stupidly narrow lanes just create conflict and danger. Either riders ignore them and get abuse for not using the lanes that have been provided, or drivers don't move over to pass as they are already in the next lane over so obviously cannot possibly be too close.

It is about time the pepole who sign off on these layouts were held accountable for the mess they create. Instead half the time they get paid to come up with a new design as well as being paid for the original pile of crap.

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Rendel Harris replied to Lance ꜱtrongarm | 2 years ago
7 likes
Nigel Garage wrote:

I wouldn't have reported either, in fact I thought the cyclist was exemplary throughout except for the "oi", which I'd have replaced with "excuse me", as it is more polite and courteous.

By your own admission you belittle people for their height and weight, with distinct racial overtones. It's time you dropped your self-identification as a "courteous" person, you're an unpleasant bully.

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Seventyone replied to Lance ꜱtrongarm | 2 years ago
7 likes

Dear Nigel

I do not quite understand what you are saying. You say that "poor driving was to blame, not poor cycling infrastructure". I'd say both were very poor indeed. You then say "In fact, that painted white line would be better off being removed entirely." Suggesting that in fact you agree we me, and others, that the paint is not helping. So is the infrastructure bad or not?

PS I hope I have met your courteousness standards. This is rather easier to do when your life has not been threatened by a large metal box (due to the accompanying surge of adrenaline).

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Seventyone replied to Lance ꜱtrongarm | 2 years ago
4 likes

You don't see how painting incredibly narrow "murder strips" as I believe the Belgians call them might encourage drivers to drive closer than they otherwise would?

Regarding the anger point there are different things here. There is a physiological response to sudden extreme danger which can result in you using language you would not normally use. I have experienced this a number of times, especially since being hit by cars seriously enough to visit hospital twice (once by someone opening their door on me, once when I rode into the side of someone who pulled out of a side road right in front of me then drove off). This is different from losing your temper.

A quick Google turns up this https://time.com/3956127/scream-screaming/?amp=true link which is about screaming but makes a similar point.

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TriTaxMan replied to Seventyone | 2 years ago
5 likes
Seventyone wrote:

Regarding the anger point there are different things here. There is a physiological response to sudden extreme danger which can result in you using language you would not normally use. I have experienced this a number of times, especially since being hit by cars seriously enough to visit hospital twice (once by someone opening their door on me, once when I rode into the side of someone who pulled out of a side road right in front of me then drove off). This is different from losing your temper.

Quite correct Seventyone it is a reflex action as opposed to anger, anger is something that happens after that. 

So an example is shouting a profanity when a driver crashes into your stationary bike as you are waiting to turn across a lane of traffic.  Anger would be standing screaming and shouting at the driver after it, as opposed to having a calm conversation.

I'm guessing that Nigel has never reacted in any way to any sudden fright that he has received in his life because he is so calm and zen like and has mastered his emotions

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markieteeee replied to TriTaxMan | 2 years ago
4 likes

Maybe if he shouted in the moment he'd be less nasty the rest of the time. 

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Captain Badger | 2 years ago
1 like

You don't think the driver would have behaved differently if there'd been more paint on the road? 

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vichycycl replied to Captain Badger | 2 years ago
2 likes

Not even with bollards.

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quiff | 2 years ago
2 likes

This reminds me why I should have both rear and front cameras! (My front camera is a bit of a faff, so I often use a rear only)  

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brooksby | 2 years ago
4 likes
Quote:

... there was a weary inevitability of at least one of the following drivers not being able to see beyond the end of their bonnet and creating an easily preventable situation

You mean there are drivers who do look beyond their bonnet and not just follow the car in front?  Huh!  Who would have guessed...

EDIT: I'm also not convinced I'd call that an actual 'cycle lane'.  If you have to pay such attention to keep your wheels between the double yellow lines and the dashed white line, and the painted bicycle symbol goes under the yellow lines, then I think I wouldn't bother using it...

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bobbinogs replied to brooksby | 2 years ago
9 likes

Yepp, time and time again we see just how poor the average road planner is when it comes to understanding cycling.  I cannot see how any cyclist would be able to fit within that 'cycling lane', and most experienced cyclists would do everything possible to avoid riding on slippery painted in lines in the wet.  So what happens...we all ride slightly outside the lane whereupon a large number of drivers think "bloody cyclists, moan about the lack of lanes and when they get one they don't even ride in it"...so then they whizz past with an inch to spare to teach us a bloody lesson.  

I really wish Governments (local and central) would just stop with all the "active cycling" tosh and just try riding a bike every now and then.

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Hirsute replied to brooksby | 2 years ago
6 likes

Not as small as one of your local ones.

At those speeds and low differential, I would be taking the lane as there was enough gap between the vehicles to put a quick spurt on.

If only there were some national method of training drivers and seeing if they came up to a standard but alas, it is all intuitive these days.

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brooksby replied to Hirsute | 2 years ago
0 likes
hirsute wrote:

Not as small as one of your local ones.

True; true.

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wycombewheeler replied to brooksby | 2 years ago
3 likes
brooksby wrote:

 

You mean there are drivers who do look beyond their bonnet and not just follow the car in front?  Huh!  Who would have guessed...

 

normally the ones who use bikes most of the time.

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mdavidford replied to brooksby | 2 years ago
4 likes
brooksby wrote:

EDIT: I'm also not convinced I'd call that an actual 'cycle lane'.  If you have to pay such attention to keep your wheels between the double yellow lines and the dashed white line, and the painted bicycle symbol goes under the yellow lines, then I think I wouldn't bother using it...

The bike symbol at the end of the 'lane' is centred on the lane markings, and still manages to disappear under the yellow lines. which is quite some 'achievement'.

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