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Near Miss of the Day 908: cyclist praises swift punishment of driver after shocking close pass but slams "sorry state of affairs" with third-party reporting in Scotland

Although police were quick to deal with this particular incident, the apologetic driver receiving three points and a fine, David Brennan says Police Scotland are behind the times when it comes to dealing with footage of law-breaking driving

A cyclist based near Glasgow has spoken of his frustration at the current lack of a much-promised online road safety portal in Scotland. Although the shocking close pass incident featured in this article was dealt with swiftly, officers had to attend in person, a more time-consuming process that won't allow them to handle many incidents with limited resources according to the cyclist.  

(Warning: strong language)

The near miss, posted on X/formerly Twitter, happened on Balmore Road in East Dunbartonshire on 1 March 2024. The cyclist, David Brennan, said after contacting the police, he was told the driver was "very apologetic", admitting their guilt and accepting three points and a fine. 

"I do actually think there should be more than 3 points for incidents like this, it really was very close", David wrote on X/Twitter.

"...but the fact that it was dealt with quickly, the fact that I don't have to go to court, and the fact that it genuinely sounds like the driver has learned a lesson, then I am happy with the outcome." 

While David was mostly satisfied with how this incident was dealt with, he says he has been told previously that police in Scotland "did not have discretion to give points and a fine except at the time of the incident itself", a reason given for Police Scotland's lack of a third-party reporting system. 

"Yet, it would seem that it is possible as this is exactly what is happening in this case", added David.  

"In fact this is exactly how most forces run their online reporting systems. Most cases are dealt with by points and a fine, as most drivers will take that rather than the expense of going to court (no legal aid for traffic incidents), and risk higher points and fines.

"So it would appear that the system could work in Scotland the same way that it works elsewhere."

We reported in March last year that delays to an online safety reporting system in Scotland was putting cyclists "at risk" according to Cycling UK. Since then, Police Scotland has reportedly dropped the much-promised road safety tool and will not be accepting video footage via an online portal for the foreseeable, meaning "lives could be lost" according to Cycling UK.  

David told road.cc: "Police Scotland have admitted that this system won't allow the upload of footage and that police officers will still need to visit witnesses to get footage and take statements. A very sorry state of affairs!

"I have it on very good authority that they are worried that they would receive too many reports and be inundated."

road.cc has contacted Police Scotland for comment. 

> 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

Arriving at road.cc in 2017 via 220 Triathlon Magazine, Jack dipped his toe in most jobs on the site and over at eBikeTips before being named the new editor of road.cc in 2020, much to his surprise. His cycling life began during his students days, when he cobbled together a few hundred quid off the back of a hard winter selling hats (long story) and bought his first road bike - a Trek 1.1 that was quickly relegated to winter steed, before it was sadly pinched a few years later. Creatively replacing it with a Trek 1.2, Jack mostly rides this bike around local cycle paths nowadays, but when he wants to get the racer out and be competitive his preferred events are time trials, sportives, triathlons and pogo sticking - the latter being another long story.  

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23 comments

Avatar
Paul J | 4 weeks ago
4 likes

Balmore Road along Bardowie, coming into Torrance - shudder. It's a horrible *horrible* road. I don't know why, but that road somehow attracts close passes, at higher rates than other roads. Maybe cause it's a relatively narrow road for an A road, but straight so cars are going fast on it.

Unfortunately, Magnatom doesn't really have a choice (unless he goes out of his way along country lanes behind Baldernock, with significant extra elevation).

Note he was into the 30 zone of Torrance there.

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OldRidgeback | 4 weeks ago
4 likes

That was pretty scary and the driver was lucky to get away with just three points. Hopefully the driver will be better behind the wheel from now on. It's of note how the cars before all make perfectly acceptable passes. Police Scotland has a poor record on addressing motoring offences. At least in this case action was taken. If Police Scotland would take similar actions on a regular basis, I'm pretty sure the benefit to road safety, in terms of reduced crashes, would become apparent within a fairly short time period. That would also reduce the financial implications of road crashes, not the least for Police Scotland. Sometimes it takes 'thinking out of the box' to implement positive change but that seems to be too much to ask from Police Scotland sadly.

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bikes | 4 weeks ago
7 likes

"they are worried that they would receive too many reports and be inundated."

Maybe if the roads were policed e.g. there was a portal system, then the way people drive would change and then there'd much LESS work for police Scotland to do in the long term.

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Flâneur replied to bikes | 4 weeks ago
7 likes

Absolutely, glad magnatom got a result but the Polis Scotland 'process' as described is an absolute load of bollox. Contact PS via 101, arrange a appointment to show footage (said appointment may or may not be kept by PS), AFAIK it's always 2 occifers who attend (not sure if that's due to corroboration or not, I wouldn't have thought so), if they agree to take it further the complainer generally has to put the footage on a pen drive or similar at their own expense, it then appears the occifers (if they can be bothered) go to the registered keeper's address and hope (a) to get someone in and (b) to get whoever opens the door to agree they were the driver (PS say there's nothing they can do if they don't agree which is yet more patent bollox).

Could all be dealt with by one officer in a station viewing footage from a portal and mailing a Notice of Intention to Prosecute/S172 legal notice to name the driver (with 6pts and a nasty fine if they don't) just as happens in nearly every other police force, and, in Scotland, with nearly every detected speeding prosecution.

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mctrials23 replied to bikes | 4 weeks ago
12 likes

We do live in a weird world where "there so many shit and dangerous drivers that if we actually dealt with them it would take up all our time" is an excuse to ignore the danger. 

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chrisonabike replied to bikes | 4 weeks ago
1 like

Could be - but because mass motoring that's an open question.  Or rather - two:

1) What's the ratio of "wrong'uns" (serial offenders) to "moment of madness" / "temporarily distracted" drivers and also the ratio of harms caused by either type?  It could be the second is order(s) of magnitude greater than the first simply because there are so many drivers.  If so it could take up an impractical (e.g. people aren't prepared to pay for it) amount of police and court work to make an appreciable difference.*

2) Even if a large proportion of the issues are caused by a small number of wrong'uns (which would be "low hanging fruit") how easy is it for the police to keep them off the roads (even when assisted by a portal)?  Currently it seems that the punishment for "doing it again" is to be told "don't do it again" again.  If that's not fixed a lot of resources could be used up just picking up the usual suspects over and over.

*  It's possible to get some benefits from "culture change" of course e.g. as with drink-driving - but can that be generalised to other behaviours?  Plus that was a LOT of resources and has taken a generation (or more?) and perhaps "driving high" has actually replaced this?

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bikes replied to chrisonabike | 4 weeks ago
2 likes

I assume lots of countries have introduced portals. Is there no evidence to show that they work? Sure, it costs money to run one but perhaps they pay for themselves in other ways (e.g. fewer KSI's and safer roads which encourages cycling).

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hawkinspeter replied to bikes | 4 weeks ago
1 like
bikes wrote:

I assume lots of countries have introduced portals. Is there no evidence to show that they work? Sure, it costs money to run one but perhaps they pay for themselves in other ways (e.g. fewer KSI's and safer roads which encourages cycling).

The simplest method to determine their success would be to just count the number of warning letters and/or convictions. However, the number may well be lower if the police force in question ignores the submitted evidence (see wtjs for details)

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wtjs replied to hawkinspeter | 4 weeks ago
6 likes

the number may well be lower if the police force in question ignores the submitted evidence (see wtjs for details)

Yes, Lancashire's 'portal' is just an automatic exit to the bin. This is just a slightly different still from the video (awaiting upRide) showing Amazon's LD71 UOM driver hand held mobile offence which should get him 6 points, but which will result in no action here- Mikey has it easy!

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bikes replied to wtjs | 4 weeks ago
0 likes

Can you put these on YouTube for more exposure?

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wtjs replied to bikes | 4 weeks ago
3 likes

You can't have more 'exposure', in the sense of viewability, than a simple weblink like this:

https://upride.cc/incident/cu14umk_fiesta_uwlcross/

If you mean 'more views', I am not interested in a load of car nutters writing stupid comments. I will stay with upRide until and if they shut it down. They are compressing the already compressed videos more than they used to, so they look a bit rough- the one above was only 7.5MB when I sent it to them.

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bikes replied to wtjs | 3 weeks ago
3 likes

I did mean more views. If you made a short compilation video of the worst offences and it got a lot of views, then it would be harder for Lancashire police to continue doing nothing. A public shaming, rather than the quiet, relatively private one here. I believe the comments on YouTube help the algorithm that pushes the video, so you can welcome the nonsense you'll get. Maybe Jeremy Vine would retweet it, and away you go.

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bikes | 4 weeks ago
0 likes

Only 3 points? How much was the fine?

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dubwise | 1 month ago
10 likes

Absolutely gobsmacked that Polis Scotland actually bothered. Wonders will never cease.

But, no doubt normal service will resume shortly.

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Olbol156 replied to dubwise | 4 weeks ago
0 likes

Not my experience of police Scotland. I've reported many close passes over the years and Police always attend and process the incident as required.

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dubwise replied to Olbol156 | 4 weeks ago
4 likes

Really? You are very lucky then or you are a relative of a police officer.

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wtjs replied to Olbol156 | 4 weeks ago
1 like

Not my experience of police Scotland. I've reported many close passes over the years and Police always attend and process the incident as required

Yet another troll alert

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giff77 replied to Olbol156 | 4 weeks ago
6 likes

What region are you?  I've received mixed responses from K division over the years and I've never seen a result beyond an ear bashing. Usually they come back to me with driver not identified by keeper. On a few occasions the driver has been identified and given a tongue lashing. One occasion it took the polis a week to interview me. There was then a shift change and recovery days meaning three weeks had passed so the driver was NFA. Another time they threatened to seize my phone and backed down when I told them they could have a link or flash drive. More often than not I'm told that the threshold hasn't been met while forgetting that they have the power to issue a FPN and points. Another time I ended up with a lecture for my lack of helmet and the risks I was taking. I had to remind the officer that if hit by an artic at 40mph a helmet was the least of my worries.

It makes little odds if it is Grampian, Lothian, Strathclyde or whatever the polis in Scotland can come across as complacent and apathetic regarding driving offences towards cyclists and pedestrians. 

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wtjs replied to giff77 | 4 weeks ago
1 like

the polis in Scotland can come across as complacent and apathetic regarding driving offences towards cyclists and pedestrians

No, No, No! They are complacent and apathetic (and actively hostile if Lancashire Constabulary is anything to go by).

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HoarseMann | 1 month ago
13 likes

One of those where you're lulled into a false sense of security with all those initial great passes by competent drivers leaving plenty of room. You begin to think, ah, things are getting better, this is a great ride. Then BAM! Back to reality.

I think 3 points and a fine delivered quickly, is just as effective as 5-6 points six months down the line. If not more effective, because the police can issue a greater number of those and I'm sure 3 points will cause that driver to take more care in future.

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wtjs | 1 month ago
0 likes

This is a good illustration of the distortion introduced by the 'wide-angle' view- this makes the close pass look worse, and the overtaking vehicle look faster- although it's all bad enough anyway. Compare these 2:

https://upride.cc/incident/pe69ooc_clio_closepassspeed/

https://upride.cc/incident/px12dnd_stagecoach42_closepass/

Naturally, being in Lancashire, nothing was done about either of these

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Safety | 1 month ago
6 likes

Well done David for managing to get a result in Scotland. With Polis Scotlands reported approach to enforcing the law by having to send officers round to peoples houses etc rather than a portal for submitting video evidence. Is it it any wonder they are saying their resources are stretched and need more money.
Yet they have stated they will investigate every alleged verbal or written hate crime. Now I don't condone hate but these close passes are life threatening. Prioritize! If cyclists were an eligible group in the hate bill these drivers would be inside.
Sorry for the rant.

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mctrials23 | 1 month ago
21 likes

Those are the worst passes. Fast, close and with absolutely zero mitigating circumstances. No traffic coming the other way. Pure, shit driving. 

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