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Near Miss of the Day 892: Cyclist squeezes on brakes to avoid overtaking driver — who still ends up hitting cyclist's safety flag

UPDATE: Inspector responds to cyclist saying he had not been informed of report's outcome, citing high demand and limited resources for inability to provide updates to video submitter...

Our latest reader Near Miss of the Day submission is, in reality, barely a near miss, and shows the moment an impatient driver overtook a cyclist and cut across the lane, hitting the rider's safety flag. If it weren't for the cyclist braking hard and swerving away, the driver could very well have ended up running into him.

The close pass happened to Dr Grahame Cooper, also a member of the Bolton Active Travel Forum Technical Review Group on September 2, 2022 at the junction of Blackburn Rd and Belmont Road in Bolton.

As he crossed the traffic lights and made his way straight the driver accelerated from behind to come up level with him, and then cut across to go left at the last minute.

*Warning: The following video contains explicit language.*

"I was in the inside on Blackburn Road, approaching lane the point where Belmont Road peels off to the left, intending to continue up Blackburn Road," Dr Cooper told road.cc.

"The driver of this car came up the outside and swerved across me to turn up Belmont Road. If I hadn't braked heavily and swerved left, the driver would definitely have hit me at about 30mph."

He added: "The police took the case forward for possible prosecution but have not informed me what the outcome was."

road.cc contacted Greater Manchester Police for an update on the case and received a reply a week after the story was published, a contact at the force highlighting that in 2023 they received 5,078 video reports, each requiring a full review by a traffic officer (and sometimes requiring second opinions).

"As you can appreciate we are unable to chase up individual cases through to court, the work for the department with the staffing I have is at capacity," the inspector we spoke to told us. "Should we chase up every investigation it would then be detrimental to the ongoing demand coming in, which would impact on the service we can provide to all the contributors for footage submitted."

In the week before this story was originally published, Dr Cooper called out the Bolton Council for installing "discriminatory" barriers on a cycling and walking route in Bolton, apparently to prevent anti-social behaviour. The council later admitted that no equality impact assessment had been carried out pre-installation, but still believed that it has acted in accordance with design guidance.

He told road.cc: "They have admitted that they have not done that and there is no Equality Impact Assessment. This is particularly important if they are departing from national guidance. Before the barrier was installed, the 3.5-metre-wide path was perfectly adequate for shared cycling and walking use. Now that the barriers are in, there is conflict between the needs of people walking and cycling due to the bottleneck."

> 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 Twitter or 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

Adwitiya joined road.cc in 2023 as a news writer after graduating with a masters in journalism from Cardiff University. His dissertation focused on active travel, which soon threw him into the deep end of covering everything related to the two-wheeled tool, and now cycling is as big a part of his life as guitars and football. He has previously covered local and national politics for Voice Wales, and also likes to writes about science, tech and the environment, if he can find the time. Living right next to the Taff trail in the Welsh capital, you can find him trying to tackle the brutal climbs in the valleys.

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12 comments

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Rendel Harris | 4 months ago
2 likes

Quote:

"As you can appreciate we are unable to chase up individual cases through to court, the work for the department with the staffing I have is at capacity," the inspector we spoke to told us. "Should we chase up every investigation it would then be detrimental to the ongoing demand coming in, which would impact on the service we can provide to all the contributors for footage submitted."

The result of a case and the sanctions applied, court or not, must be recorded on the case file, which will be computerised, so what's stopping an automated email to the complainant stating the outcome being sent?

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quiff replied to Rendel Harris | 4 months ago
1 like

Of course it's possible, but even setting up that automated system requires them to use some resource (police time or money to outsource it). To be fair, I have always managed to get updates on request (from the Met) when I have submitted video footage.     

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Rendel Harris replied to quiff | 4 months ago
0 likes

They are definitely getting better, a few years ago it was absolutely blood out of a stone (in my experience) to get an update from them, there was a lot of hiding behind GDPR. I can see why it would be time consuming to follow up court results, but at least with FPNs/courses it would be a simple matter to add a "send automated email to complainant" feature, my computer expertise is limited to very basic stuff in my voluntary work but I'm pretty sure I could set that up on our (again, very basic, free to use software) systems relatively easily.

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Secret_squirrel | 4 months ago
0 likes

Interesting footage.  Presumably from an Ista360.   Not sure if its the lens -0r 360 processing but it looks less bad at normal speed than it does in slow-mo.

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wtjs | 4 months ago
3 likes

The police took the case forward for possible prosecution but have not informed me what the outcome was

Standard police dodge: claim to be 'taking action' but refuse to tell you what it was. That's because they soon abandoned the 'possible prosecution' and replaced it with 'nothing' for reasons they won't tell you. 

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MattKelland | 4 months ago
0 likes

It looks like the driver assumed the cyclist was going left?

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brooksby replied to MattKelland | 4 months ago
13 likes

Same ol' same ol' - if you ride in secondary then you're "obviously" going to go to the left but if you ride in primary then you're a bl00dy cyclist who deserves *+!!$++ and takes the road away from hard working motorists…

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jpj84 | 4 months ago
3 likes

If he'd been passed by that driver a mile up the road, he'd have had this bike lane to keep him safe https://maps.app.goo.gl/GuXF6FbQMxtpEE6T6

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Backladder replied to jpj84 | 4 months ago
1 like

jpj84 wrote:

If he'd been passed by that driver a mile up the road, he'd have had this bike lane to keep him safe https://maps.app.goo.gl/GuXF6FbQMxtpEE6T6

That's obviously only for cyclists who can't afford a complete front wheel!

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Bungle_52 | 4 months ago
1 like

Classic left hook then. Well done for avoiding the car and thanks for reporting it.

""He added: "The police took the case forward for possible prosecution but have not informed me what the outcome was."

road.cc has contacted Greater Manchester Police for an update on the case, but hasn't received a response yet.""

Well done to Greater Manchester for taking action but disappointing we don't know what happened. Sep 22, it should have been resolved by now. Has Dr Cooper contacted the force for info on the outcome? Surely he would have a better chance of getting a response as the victim of an alleged crime.

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andystow replied to Bungle_52 | 4 months ago
1 like

Bungle_52 wrote:

Has Dr Cooper contacted the force for info on the outcome? Surely he would have a better chance of getting a response as the victim of an alleged crime.

A victim? Nay, a mere witness.

(according to the police)

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Bungle_52 replied to andystow | 4 months ago
4 likes

The witness had to brake sharply and swerve in order to avoid being hit by a car travelling around 30mph. The victim was nowhere to be seen.

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