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Near Miss of the Day 818: No action taken as police say cyclist ‘put himself in danger’ by ‘barging to the front and moving into driver’s path’

Our regular series featuring close passes from around the country - today it’s Oxfordshire

Many of the motorists featured on Near Miss of the Day get away with a slap on the wrist. Today’s one, however, only had to suffer a slap on the side of their car.

That’s because Thames Valley Police decided, rather swifty, to take no action against the driver for this bank holiday close pass – because, they argue, the cyclist “put himself in danger” by “barging his way to the front” of a line of cars and moving into the motorist’s path when there “was plenty of room for him to overtake”.

The incident occurred after the cyclist filtered to the front of a queue of traffic at a set of temporary traffic lights in Wallingford on Bank Holiday Monday.

“I’d just stopped on Wallingford bridge to take a couple of photos and encountered a small queue waiting at temporary lights on the other side,” the reader who sent us the footage, BucksCycleCammer, told road.cc.

> Near Miss of the Day 817: “Both drivers gave me a wide pass – shame about the cyclist coming the other way”

“Judging afterwards from the Mini who’d overtaken me whilst stopped, they’d already been there for at least 90 seconds, which may explain some frustration.

“So, I filtered to the front and, after more than another minute, the lights changed,” he continued.

“Since the road narrowed significantly, I moved towards primary which did nothing to deter the driver of the Toyota who passed so closely that I was able to slap the side of his vehicle without extending my arm.”

The cyclist then submitted the footage to Thames Valley Police, who “responded very quickly to tell me they will not take any action because I ‘put myself in danger’ – first by ‘barging my way to the front’, getting really close to the Toyota in the process, and then by moving into his path when there was ‘plenty of room for him to overtake’.”

> Near Miss of the Day 816: Driver surrenders licence after sideswiping cyclist at 50mph 

Responding to the police’s decision to take no action, the cyclist pointed out that filtering is legal and “recommended to increase visibility”, while the usual existence of three-way permanent lights at the junction – “due to the narrow carriageway on two approaches” – highlighted that there “isn’t plenty of room” to overtake and justified his decision to ride in primary position.

According to the cyclist, his reply “only aggravated the matter; I was left in no doubt that this wasn't a discussion, but a lecture.”

He concluded: “Whilst there has been some positive movement from TVP this year, there are certainly still those who retain the old attitudes towards cycling.”

> 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

Ryan joined road.cc in December 2021 and since then has kept the site’s readers and listeners informed and enthralled (well at least occasionally) on news, the live blog, and the road.cc Podcast. After boarding a wrong bus at the world championships and ruining a good pair of jeans at the cyclocross, he now serves as road.cc’s senior news writer. Before his foray into cycling journalism, he wallowed in the equally pitiless world of academia, where he wrote a book about Victorian politics and droned on about cycling and bikes to classes of bored students (while taking every chance he could get to talk about cycling in print or on the radio). He can be found riding his bike very slowly around the narrow, scenic country lanes of Co. Down.

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130 comments

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AlsoSomniloquism | 1 year ago
0 likes

It seems drivers of these big covered pickups struggle with proper driving at temporary traffic lights. 

This should start at the clip but if not, it is 1m37 into the video.
 

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Bungle_52 replied to AlsoSomniloquism | 1 year ago
0 likes

See also NMOTD 786

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CXR94Di2 | 1 year ago
1 like

Nothing to see there. Rider sensitive, driver did his best to keep away. Speeds slow. Police poor choice of phrase 'barging to front'

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ktache replied to CXR94Di2 | 1 year ago
2 likes

It is a very loaded phrase.

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AlsoSomniloquism | 1 year ago
5 likes

All the discussion on the filtering and whose fault, and not one mention about the BOLAS car on double yellows blocking most of the narrow pavement on that side. Nicely done mate, nicely done. 

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JimM777 | 1 year ago
0 likes

The cyclist chose to overtake a line of cars, when he could see that they were stopped in a queue, and when he could not see whether there was a safe space for him to move into if cars came the other way. As it happened, he was lucky that there was a car closer to the kerb that he was able to pull alongside, but it still looks as though he was over the white line. That, quite simply, was poor cycling, and I imagine that the police thought the same. Not that that in some way excuses a close pass by a car.

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AlsoSomniloquism replied to JimM777 | 1 year ago
12 likes

Filtering. 

Quote:

When cyclists should filter traffic

If you will pass only one or two vehicles, it's seldom worth filtering. Take the lane instead, so that vehicles behind you won't squeeze past you.

If there is a queue of traffic that's stationary or moving at around walking pace, then as long as there's space to do so safely, it's worth filtering. As its name suggests, filtering is not one manoeuvre; you will move out of the traffic stream and back in again, possibly multiple times.

Before changing your position on the road, look over the relevant shoulder first. Even in stationary traffic, a cyclist or motorcyclist may be in motion right behind you.

Quote:

Filtering on the right
As a rule, you're better off filtering on the right. Drivers expect to be overtaken on the right and they're more likely to see you in their off-side wing mirror. Oncoming traffic can see you more easily too, so you're less like to have oncoming traffic turn right across you. You'll also have more room to manoeuvre.

Pass with plenty of space and don't feel obliged to stay in your lane. Cyclists can filter past a traffic jam by crossing the dashed white line and riding in the oncoming lane – as long as it's clear. Any oncoming traffic has right of way. Oncoming drivers may pull over to the left to give you room. If not, you need to rejoin the traffic stream (see below).

Be alert, especially where there are junctions to your right: drivers you're filtering past may turn right with little or no warning. Or they may attempt a U-turn. Watch out for road furniture too, such as traffic islands, and for pedestrians crossing the road in between vehicles.

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JimM777 replied to AlsoSomniloquism | 1 year ago
0 likes

You put the stuff in quotes but you give no indication of their provenance?

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brooksby replied to JimM777 | 1 year ago
8 likes

Except for the text in blue ahead of them - it's a link, you know? 

https://www.cyclescheme.co.uk/community/how-to/filtering

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JimM777 replied to AlsoSomniloquism | 1 year ago
0 likes

Having seen the source, it is a website for a company that has a vested interest in promoting bike hire. So I disregard its advice, which is directly contrary to the highway code. The advice to filter to the right when "Oncoming drivers may pull over ..." is simply dangerous.

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chrisonabike replied to JimM777 | 1 year ago
8 likes

It's not from the perspective of the cyclist but the amended Highway Code rule 151 here makes allowance for it (yes, a "should"...):

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/the-highway-code/general-rules-techniques-an...

Rule 151
In slow-moving traffic. You should:
...
allow pedestrians and cyclists to cross in front of you
be aware of cyclists and motorcyclists who may be passing on either side.

More - measured - law analysis here.  This is also a company making money from cycling (unlike the Highway Code which is subsidised by the hard-pressed motorist obviously): http://www.cyclelaw.co.uk/overtaking-and-filtering-whilst-cycling

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JimM777 replied to chrisonabike | 1 year ago
0 likes

What you and others seem to be saying that it's ok for a cyclist to bend the rules and go to pass a line of traffic even if they can't see if the road is clear to do so until they might regain a safe position on their own side. With attitudes like that is no wonder that motorists get pissed off with such cyclists.

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Hirsute replied to JimM777 | 1 year ago
5 likes

Which rules are you saying are being bent ? Clearly not rule 151

 

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JimM777 replied to Hirsute | 1 year ago
0 likes

You're talking bollocks. The 151 is saying what vehicle drivers should do, not saying what cyclists should do.

I've had enough of this. If some of your are so blinkered that you can't even contemplate that a cyclist might be in the wrong, you can go shout in your own echo chamber.

 

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Hirsute replied to JimM777 | 1 year ago
6 likes

So which rules are being bent?

Where do I say that the cyclist is not in the wrong? Or can never be in the wrong?

You said you'd had enough about hi viz but came back and we all had a civilised discussion.
Pretty sure this discussion can be civilised.

Btw I do generally call out cyclists on nmotd if I think they could have done something different.
I haven't actually made a comment on the specific one here.

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Muddy Ford replied to JimM777 | 1 year ago
8 likes
JimM777 wrote:

You're talking bollocks. The 151 is saying what vehicle drivers should do, not saying what cyclists should do.

I've had enough of this. If some of your are so blinkered that you can't even contemplate that a cyclist might be in the wrong, you can go shout in your own echo chamber.

 

Great!, off you fuck then.

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giff77 replied to JimM777 | 1 year ago
9 likes
JimM777 wrote:

What you and others seem to be saying that it's ok for a cyclist to bend the rules and go to pass a line of traffic even if they can't see if the road is clear to do so until they might regain a safe position on their own side. With attitudes like that is no wonder that motorists get pissed off with such cyclists.

Dont think there's any bending going on. It's simply good road craft. Advanced Drivers, Traffic Branch, Motorcycle Tutors and a plethora of road safety bodies will all tell you  that the safest place to filter is the offside. You are visible both directions, you can see the road clearer and the options to pull in. Sadly a lot of motorists don't see it this way and get wound up when you pass them. I once had a guy deliberately accelerate to close the bike sized gap to prevent me dropping into that he nearly shunted the vehicle in front. Do you expect a cyclist to stand astride their bike and waddle it forward 6 inches a time in a mile long tailback or hop off and walk the length of the traffic jam before recommencing cycling?  

 

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AlsoSomniloquism replied to JimM777 | 1 year ago
5 likes

There is no rule to bend. Anyone can overtake at that point. The reason it would be frowned upon by a car is that they are so big they couldn't "squeeze" back in, so would block oncoming traffic. Also, remember the cyclists head is not on his handlebars. So add a couple of feet to the view.

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Hirsute replied to JimM777 | 1 year ago
2 likes

No it's a part of a nation al scheme to purchase a bike. The promotion is done by active travel groups, employers and sites like this.

 

Which country do you live in ?

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AlsoSomniloquism replied to JimM777 | 1 year ago
6 likes

Ok Jim, I suspect the official cycling organisation of the UK is also not good enough because they also have cycling in their title. But they offer the EXACT SAME ADVICE in this video. (longer linked text to be clearer for you.)

They also offer the advice that after filtering, if the road narrows and you don't feel it is safe for a vehicle behind to overtake, then take the lane, exactly like the OP did when he saw the road conditions ahead.

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MattKelland replied to JimM777 | 1 year ago
7 likes
JimM777 wrote:

he could not see whether there was a safe space for him to move into if cars came the other way. 

It's worth remembering that what the cyclist can see and what the camera can see can be two different things.

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Bucks Cycle Cammer replied to MattKelland | 1 year ago
1 like
MattKelland wrote:
JimM777 wrote:

he could not see whether there was a safe space for him to move into if cars came the other way. 

It's worth remembering that what the cyclist can see and what the camera can see can be two different things.

Exactly. And a better idea of what I can see comes from the headcam.

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giff77 replied to JimM777 | 1 year ago
5 likes
JimM777 wrote:

The cyclist chose to overtake a line of cars, when he could see that they were stopped in a queue, and when he could not see whether there was a safe space for him to move into if cars came the other way. As it happened, he was lucky that there was a car closer to the kerb that he was able to pull alongside, but it still looks as though he was over the white line. That, quite simply, was poor cycling, and I imagine that the police thought the same. Not that that in some way excuses a close pass by a car.

From what I can make out the cyclist was pretty much doing the right thing here and was in full control of the manoeuvre and his surroundings. He also pulled in when there was a risk posed by oncoming vehicles. The only bit I would not have done was to weave round to the nearside of the SUV but that's me personally. He did the correct thing by stopping just before that. And whether he was over the line or not he still stopped. 

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Bucks Cycle Cammer replied to giff77 | 1 year ago
1 like
giff77 wrote:

The only bit I would not have done was to weave round to the nearside of the SUV but that's me personally. He did the correct thing by stopping just before that. And whether he was over the line or not he still stopped. 

The reason I continued in front of the Toyota is that otherwise I'd have been at an angle behind him - not in any position to move off in a controlled fashion when the lights changed - and there's no way I was going to wait on the outside of the lane and risk the previous vehicle undertaking.

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NOtotheEU replied to JimM777 | 1 year ago
9 likes

I'm not one of the 'cyclists can do no wrong' brigade and I seem to remember I have supported you when you've said cyclists should be more careful around peds on shared use paths (apologies if it was someone else) but this was as safe as filtering can be.

The camera is much lower than the riders eyeline, they were slow and cautious, gave priority to oncoming cars and stopped before the 'WAIT HERE' sign fully in the eyeline of the front driver. I don't believe there was a white line as these seem to be temporary lights which i would agree need more caution than regular light controlled junctions.

Filtering always looks worse on camera unless it's a helmet cam and even then you don't get the benefit of the riders peripheral vision.

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Bucks Cycle Cammer replied to NOtotheEU | 1 year ago
2 likes
NOtotheEU wrote:

II don't believe there was a white line as these seem to be temporary lights which i would agree need more caution than regular light controlled junctions.

Correct. You can actually see the permanent white line 10 yards or so *ahead* of the temporary light.

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Mungecrundle | 1 year ago
6 likes

Hardly barging a way to the front. Filtering is entirely legal and normal. Who wants to sit behind a stinking diesel pickup on a hot day in a queue of traffic crapping up their lungs with pollutants?

The driver of the car behind the pickup had no problem with leaving distance and not feeling the urgent need to overtake the cyclist at all costs.

The aggressive pickup driver not only put the cyclist at risk, but potentially pedestrians and any operatives working in the carriageway.

Personally, I might not have filtered, but that's my choice not a criticism of the cyclist in the clip.

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AlsoSomniloquism replied to Mungecrundle | 1 year ago
2 likes
Quote:

The driver of the car behind the pickup had no problem with leaving distance and not feeling the urgent need to overtake the cyclist at all costs.

Although that driver felt the need to give the cyclist the Ashley Neal treatment even though the cyclist had already turned off and was out of his way. It might have been a supportive horn use, it probably wasn't.

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g0evt | 1 year ago
1 like

I agree, poor riding. I wouldn't overtake on the outside and over the white line. You don't know when the lights will change ...

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wycombewheeler | 1 year ago
1 like

IMO there is no reason to filter to the front, there are only 5 cars, and it is near certain the 5 cars and the cyclist will go through on the next phase of the lights.

I undecided about whether there is enough space for a safe overtake, as looking at the video at 48 seconds, there is barely 1.5m (police own guidance) from the toyota to the pavement, never mind the position a cyclist would have to take. However I think I would have riddden through there just outside the yellow lines and would have had about 1m from the passing toyota, which I would have felt comfortable with at that speed.

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