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Near Miss of the Day 779: A new camera angle...but same response from the police

Our regular series featuring close passes from around the country — today it's Gloucestershire.....

road.cc reader Richard is back with another Near Miss of the Day submission (and a new camera angle) after his last one prompted a fair bit of discussion. Or more accurately, Gloucestershire Police's conclusion that the "driving isn't poor enough for me to prosecute" prompted a fair bit of discussion.

The new rider-facing angle gives a real sense of foreboding to the van driver approaching from behind. Not the worst close pass we've seen by any stretch, but interesting how different camera angles can affect the way a piece of driving looks.

> Near Miss of the Day 763: "Driving isn't poor enough" according to police

Richard told us: "Here is my latest submission to Gloucestershire constabulary. One thing I can say for them is that they do give feedback very quickly as you can see from the date.

"I thought your readers may be interested in my new position for the rear-facing camera. It is now on the handlebars as you can see. It was suggested by another road.cc reader but I can't remember who it was now. I was hoping it would give a better impression of the proximity of the vehicle but obviously not enough to convince the officer concerned."

The Gloucestershire Police response? You've probably guessed...

"I have watched the video and the van driver is not close enough to you for me to consider prosecuting the driver."

> 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

Dan is the road.cc news editor and has spent the past four years writing stories and features, as well as (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. Having previously written about nearly every other sport under the sun for the Express, and the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for the Non-League Paper, Dan joined road.cc in 2020. Come the weekend you'll find him labouring up a hill, probably with a mouth full of jelly babies, or making a bonk-induced trip to a south of England petrol station... in search of more jelly babies.

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39 comments

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The _Kaner | 2 years ago
4 likes

Yes, a fixed camera does give a better perspective for the police to judge a close pass...especially on a stretch of clear road, with a solid white line...

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grOg | 2 years ago
2 likes

I have recently fitted a very prominent/obvious GoPro camera to my rear rack, instead of the previous small camera fitted to my seat post; I haven't had one close pass since, whereas before, they were daily occurences.. coincidence?

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Seagull2 replied to grOg | 2 years ago
0 likes

Just had an idea, thanks to your post above - i am going to resurect my brothers defunct old go-pro and mount it on rear of my bike to see whether it deters close passing motorists  !  

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Rendel Harris replied to Seagull2 | 2 years ago
3 likes

My PassPixi camera sign undoubtedly does - and one works just as well for Mrs H, who doesn't actually have a camera.

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Awavey replied to Seagull2 | 2 years ago
0 likes

Well I'm a skeptic on how much difference that stuff really makes, as you are fundamentally relying on a drivers concious observation to notice something different on your bike, process what it is and react accordingly, which if they were concentrating that hard, SMIDSYs wouldnt be a thing anymore. But alot of driving is handled by your subconscious & reflex, so how does that camera or sign filter through.

Plus I also dont like the idea drivers treat cyclists differently, I mean they blatantly do, but surely the point is they ought to treat all cyclists as camera carrying vigilantes, to use the popular press term, and give us all space regardless.

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IanMSpencer replied to Awavey | 2 years ago
0 likes

I'm more skeptical about "I didn't see you" claims.

When there is an incident, not seeing someone has plausibility to the police (or victim) and sounds much better than "I hate the lycra-clad f***ers so I thought I'd give them a fright.'

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andystow replied to IanMSpencer | 2 years ago
4 likes

IanMSpencer wrote:

I'm more skeptical about "I didn't see you" claims. When there is an incident, not seeing someone has plausibility to the police (or victim) and sounds much better than "I hate the lycra-clad f***ers so I thought I'd give them a fright.'

Shouldn't claiming not having seen a cyclist you passed within a metre of be treated as an admission of either careless driving, or a mental or physical inability to drive safely?

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chrisonabike replied to andystow | 2 years ago
2 likes

It's the old incompetence paradox again...  Even though in several charges the "standard of a competent careful driver" (or similar, too lazy to double-check) is mentioned.  The focus seems to be on "did you deliberately go for someone / were aware of them but didn't care" vs. "were you unaware of them".  Rather than "were you not paying attention (and therefore driving incompetently)". The "causing death / injury by dangerous / careless" which I believe were invented to get round the high bar for proving intent - as is the case in charges like manslaughter / assault - seem to have brought some "intent" with them.

It could have just be an accident, after all.  Everyone makes mistakes...

So it seems just driving poorly - and that having consequences - is sometimes fine.  As long as you can persuade the police / court you'd no awareness of the presence of others.  It might even help you to show that.

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Dicklexic | 2 years ago
3 likes

Camera placement and also the field of view can have quite an impact upon how dangerous/exciting (or not!) the action/incident can appear in the footage. It's well known that GoPro type cameras often make things look further away or smaller, and can 'flatten' steep terrain, make waves look smaller etc. etc.

On a related note, I had an interesting response to one of my submissions to South Wales Police a couple of weeks ago. Whilst they decided in my case that the fottage was good enough to take further action (most probably just a warning letter, but something at least) they also added the following note...

"Positive action has been taken. We fully appreciate that your natural instinct is to turn your head and look at a vehicle if it passes you closely but please be aware that because you have a helmet-cam this distorts our view meaning it is difficult to gauge exactly how close it is to you. Please try to keep your head forward as vehicles pass you meaning we then get the best evidence from your footage. Thank you for your support."

I have never even considered this a factor before. From now on I have to try and remain motionless whilst pedalling! 

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Inspector Kevin... replied to Dicklexic | 2 years ago
9 likes

Not to invite a pile on but I agree with them.

It's much harder to figure out how close a vehicle is when you don't have a solid reference. 

For proving close passes a camera fixed to the centre of your handlebars with the top of the wheel in shot shows your road position.  That can be used with the road fixtures to calculate roughly how close away a vehicle is.

(Eg centre lane markings are usually around 3.6m from kerb.  If cyclist is in secondary at 1m from kerb you can show from the position of the rear offside wheels that the vehicle is closer than 1.5m because to pass at a safe distance 1m +1.5m =2.5m so the vehicle MUST straddle the white lines for a pass to meet the minimum distance).

 

HOWEVER head mounted cameras are far better at catching people on their phone.  Ones fixed on the bike don't do it.  If your main issue is close passes though I'd recommend fixing it and also do some reference shots to demonstrate what 30cm 60cm 90cm 120cm and 150cm look like on video.  This is something you can do by cycling past a parked car at the above distances and screenshotting where the car appears at the bottom right of the frame. 

For reference on my Go Pro 9 in superview mode if a vehicle is giving 1.5m the front wheels do not appear in frame until the vehicle has past. In other words of the front wheels can be seen at the bottom of the screen it's too close.  Just make sure you get the test footage with the same FOV you record in and save the test results.  You can then put in above in your statement to provide a distance.

 

 

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wtjs replied to Inspector Kevin Smith SYP | 2 years ago
6 likes

It's much harder to figure out how close a vehicle is when you don't have a solid reference

It's not that hard, but justice, sense and logic have yet to evolve at Lancashire Constabulary. No action on this case

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Dicklexic replied to Inspector Kevin Smith SYP | 2 years ago
0 likes

Yeah to be fair I also completely agree with them, now that I know it is a concern. I do also have a fixed camera facing backwards on the seatpost, which would provide the better perspective for measuring distances. In fact I did also upload footage of the pass from this camera as well, so hopefully that will have given them enough supporting evidence.

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carlosdsanchez | 2 years ago
1 like

I got a 360 camera, so have been experimenting with camera position. This one is below the bar as far to the RHS as I can go without pinching the gear and brake hose.

https://youtu.be/3zyf1l7y5IE

 

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lonpfrb replied to carlosdsanchez | 2 years ago
0 likes
carlosdsanchez wrote:

I got a 360 camera, so have been experimenting with camera position. This one is below the bar as far to the RHS as I can go without pinching the gear and brake hose.

https://youtu.be/3zyf1l7y5IE

It's quite an effective position. I suggest however 3 sec. is rather short so longer would be better to get the sense of space in the field of view. Thanks for sharing this.

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carlosdsanchez replied to lonpfrb | 2 years ago
0 likes

Here is a longer version of the same shot, basically this was from my first ride with the camera and I hadn't really go the hand of the editing software.

https://youtu.be/TtynJJodAQI

 

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lonpfrb replied to carlosdsanchez | 2 years ago
1 like
carlosdsanchez wrote:

Here is a longer version of the same shot, .

https://youtu.be/TtynJJodAQI

Thanks that shows, when the grey BMW passes in the other lane, that the white Audi is fully in your lane and just how close to the nearside curb, and you, it was.
Your ride data at that point, and analysis of the video would show if you were passed above 30mph, so that greater than 1.5 meter was required. Unfortunately adding that ride data would be modified video so no longer admissable. I guess you could supply both to prove that the ride data overlay was the only modification....
Does your camera support data overlay in real time rather than post production? Ant+ or Bluetooth integration with the head unit is a thing

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carlosdsanchez replied to lonpfrb | 2 years ago
0 likes

There is an add on accessory which records gps data, which can then be overlaid in the editing app. You can also use the insta app on your phone to do the same thing, but it's not very well implemented. The screen has to be on and the app open for it to work. I just edit the clip and then run it through the virb edit app to add the data from my Garmin. I also mention in my statement that I have gps data available if required.

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Dicklexic replied to carlosdsanchez | 2 years ago
2 likes

carlodsanchez See my other reply above. I was recently advised by South Wales Police to not move my head (with the helmet camera mounted on it) whilst a car is passing. If you choose this angle I would respectfully suggest sending a 'stationary' shot rather than a panning one, as this may mean the Police are less likely to take further action. You could maybe even send two separate videos, one from the back and one from the front.

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carlosdsanchez replied to Dicklexic | 2 years ago
2 likes

Yes, I wouldn't submit a panning shot like that, I'd just send a fixed front a rear view. Could also send a side view to try and show how close the pass was. Didn't report that one, it took me a while to get the hang of the editing software for the 360 degree video, so I missed the cut off. Also I've now got the camera mounted under the drop of my bar, it's much more visible to passing traffic and suddenly I'm not being close passed any more.

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Smokey66 replied to carlosdsanchez | 2 years ago
0 likes

I have a GoPro Max. Could you please show a pic of where exactly you attached your 360 camera to your handlebars, as well as a description of the type of mount? Thanks 

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carlosdsanchez replied to Smokey66 | 2 years ago
0 likes

Still experimenting with the postion, when I shot the video of the white Audi, I was using the same bracket and mounting position on the right hand side of the bar, but it was underneath rather than on top.

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Smokey66 replied to carlosdsanchez | 2 years ago
0 likes

Thanks Carlos. 

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Sriracha replied to carlosdsanchez | 2 years ago
0 likes

Thanks for posting. I've often wondered whether "360 degree" cameras are the answer, and whether they have enough resolution over the full panorama.

However, given the comments about which angle to submit etc, I now wonder whether whatever footage you could submit would not be rejected (or challenged in court) on the grounds of having, unavoidably, been edited.

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Awavey replied to Sriracha | 2 years ago
3 likes

if they are the answer, theyll need a whole heap more battery to be viable, that first insta360 had about 30-40mins life iirc, because its not designed as a dash cam, its designed for instagram influencers to film cool looking videos of no more than 30secs a time, to post to their site.

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carlosdsanchez replied to Awavey | 2 years ago
0 likes

The newer version will run for about 1 hour 15 minutes @ 5.7k 30fps

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Hywel | 2 years ago
0 likes

I'm pretty sure they just have an email template for these reports.

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Karlt | 2 years ago
3 likes

I think the appropriate response to the Fuzz here is "how fecking close does it have to be?"

In order to answer that question, I'd suggest that we get the copper in question to stand in the middle of the road while someone drives a van past them closer and closer at 40mph until they get the point.

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chrisonabike replied to Karlt | 2 years ago
2 likes

It's simple enough: car doesn't hit you - no victim, so you don't hear back from them.  Behind the scenes it depends on the force but some will say "no crime" so they don't do anything.  Car does hit you - unfortunately there are now no witnesses because the driver says he didn't see you.  Can't proceed.

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lonpfrb replied to chrisonabike | 2 years ago
1 like
chrisonatrike wrote:

It's simple enough: car doesn't hit you - no victim, so you don't hear back from them.  Behind the scenes it depends on the force but some will say "no crime" so they don't do anything. Car does hit you - unfortunately there are now no witnesses because the driver says he didn't see you. Can't proceed.

Camera evidence can demonstrate a close pass, less than 1.5 meters so driving without due care. The camera is an independent witnesses so provided no missed or edited frames will evidence the crime of dangerous driving or manslaughter.

Kent Police do act on video evidence and prosecute. Your Chief Constable may vary though your PCC may not agree with NFA decisions. Unless it's Lancashire...

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wtjs replied to chrisonabike | 2 years ago
0 likes

It's simple enough: car doesn't hit you - no victim, so you don't hear back from them.  Behind the scenes it depends on the force but some will say "no crime" so they don't do anything.  Car does hit you - unfortunately there are now no witnesses because the driver says he didn't see you and you're dead or seriously injured.  Can't proceed

That is indeed how they see it- Win/Win in their opinion.

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