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Near Miss of the Day 909: this time it's another cyclist as rider who recorded incident says he doesn't know how cyclist coming towards him "didn't end up in the canal"

This Near Miss of the Day is a rare one, but highlights the need for extra precautions to be taken when cycling on narrow bidirectional paths

While the vast majority of our Near Miss of the Day entries involve drivers of motor vehicles committing close pass offences on cyclists, occasionally we're sent rarer examples of cyclist-on-cyclist near misses. This particular incident comes from a canal path in Sale, Greater Manchester, leaving the cyclist who recorded it amazed that there were not more serious consequences. 

On a weekday morning last month, Bob Sweet was commuting on The Bridgewater Way in Sale, when another cyclist brushed past him with inches to spare. A female cyclist was approaching from the other direction, and somehow manages to avoid colliding with the passing cyclist.  

"How she didn’t end up in the canal I really don’t know", Bob told road.cc. 

"The overtaking cyclist appears to have a helmet mounted camera. Perhaps he will post his version of the video.

"The path is only 1.8 metres wide, shared use, bidirectional, which really is not wide enough."

Bob adds that the path is also shared use and unlit at night: "nice for a leisure ride, but not really suitable for commuting", he added. 

As well as highlighting the need for everyone to take greater care on shared use paths, it could perhaps be said that the clip raises the point that more spacious, high quality infrastructure would allow cyclists to commute more safely in this area. 

The Bridgewater Way, promoted by the Bridgewater Canal Trust, is part of a regeneration project that will incorporate a 39-mile shared use route along the Bridgewater Canal when it is fully completed. 

The Trust says the work will include "improving the canal towpath by creating new access points and, where possible, widening the surface to allow cycling and make the towpath a safer and more appealing route." 

> 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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40 comments

Avatar
quiff | 1 month ago
3 likes

I'm not that keen on three abreast on the Embankment superhighway, but on a towpath?!

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andystow | 1 month ago
3 likes

Wow, that was bad! Clearly a solipsist, just giving no thought to others (because other people aren't real.)

Our main bike path through town is much wider than the one shown, about three metres, but still if I'm cycling along approaching a pedestrian or cyclist going slower than me ahead, and I see that at the point I'd pass them we'd be close to an oncoming pedestrian on the other side, I'll slow down behind them and wait to pass. Sometimes that doesn't stop a cyclist behind me from weaving through all three of us, though. Then I have to pass him (always a him) a minute later.

I like how ebikes enable more "butts on bikes", especially the one that lets my wife ride with me, but the class 3 ebikes we have here are really starting to get to me. That's 750 W with a throttle, so no need to pedal, up to 28 MPH (45 km/h.) They pass at full speed going uphill without pedalling.

If you're using it for transportation, 30 MPH is enough to just use the roads. If you're using it for exercise or leisure, at least pretend to pedal.

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Wheelywheelygood | 1 month ago
0 likes

She didn't end up in the drink because the devil looks after his own

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Car Delenda Est replied to Wheelywheelygood | 1 month ago
4 likes

bile

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a1white replied to Wheelywheelygood | 1 month ago
4 likes

WTF is wrong with you?

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Barraob1 | 1 month ago
4 likes

Dressed like a part time cyclist and cycles like a motorist

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Andrewbanshee | 1 month ago
1 like

Many canal paths seem to be part of the NCN too. They need a 2 tiered system. Leisure route and commuter suitable route.
I used to cycle from Nottingham to Loughborough, much of which was on the canal path. I slowed down whenever near anyone, people on cycles too.
People walking, walking with dogs, cycling could all behave appallingly by blocking etc.

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chrisonabike replied to Andrewbanshee | 1 month ago
0 likes

Canal paths are flat so make for easy cycling. BUT...

They're also frequently narrow*, meandering, don't go near amenities and lack social safety. And have hazards like ... a canal you can fall in, slippery, muddy, uneven surfaces, narrow / low bridges. Oh, and are popular with slow-moving pedestrians, anglers, people with boats, waterfowl etc. And the canal authority seems pretty unsympathetic.

The ones I've been on, very few are good for cycle commuter use. So I'd go for half your idea - a 2 tier recommendation system where only some are recommended as leisure routes for cycling and the others are not recommended for cycling at all! Those simply show the need for proper cycle infra**. I know, it's still a dream in the UK where few understand and fewer care.

* Some paths would be very difficult to widen due to "history" and "buildings / other water in the way".

** Cycle plus *separate* pedestrian path. Or even only cycle path where there won't be many cyclists and even fewer pedestrians, like they do in countryside in NL.

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marmotte27 | 1 month ago
1 like

Not a cyclist, but an e-biker.

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chrisonabike replied to marmotte27 | 1 month ago
0 likes

Bit "no true Scotsman" here?

The overtaker certainly doesn't seem to be that socially concerned though.

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marmotte27 replied to chrisonabike | 1 month ago
4 likes

Close passes are "might is right", "my speed is more important than your safety." Maybe it's just me, but the entitlement seems generally to be worse when the power isn't actually earned.

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chrisonabike replied to marmotte27 | 1 month ago
3 likes

Yes, it's simply I can get through there with at best no thought about others.

Also agree it can feel like "now the thoughtless motorist types are invading the cycle paths".

I've no way of knowing but this one seems to have excessive power-assist and/or speed.

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wtjs replied to marmotte27 | 1 month ago
1 like

Not a cyclist, but an e-biker

Exactly my first thought - centre of the foot on the pedal, feet splayed out like a standard non-cyclist riding a bike badly

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hawkinspeter replied to wtjs | 1 month ago
2 likes

wtjs wrote:

Not a cyclist, but an e-biker

Exactly my first thought - centre of the foot on the pedal, feet splayed out like a standard non-cyclist riding a bike badly

A non-cyclist riding a bike? That's unpossible!

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chrisonabike replied to hawkinspeter | 1 month ago
1 like

They were innocently sitting on it when - like an each-uisge - it ran away with them to their doom! Not into the water - but into infamy (being called a "cyclist")...

It does look like there is some devilry involved though, they're going like they're wearing seven-league boots.

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Rendel Harris replied to marmotte27 | 1 month ago
3 likes

marmotte27 wrote:

Not a cyclist, but an e-biker.

Yes, they have a small electric motor giving pedal assistance, they're not proper cyclists, let's not let them in our gang! Admittedly this guy is a cockwomble; having just returned from my morning 25 km around central London I can definitely testify that there are plenty of close-passing cockwombles on unpowered bikes too, everything to do with bad manners, selfishness and entitlement and nothing to do with power that "isn't naturally earned". Honestly, what is it with this desperate desire to "other" people who don't do things exactly the same as you, is it just to give yourself a feeling of superiority, I'm a proper cyclist and they're not? This seems to be a prevalent thing on here now, let's sneer at people who do things differently. It's tiresome. Looking at my records for the year to date, in five and a half months I've cycled just under 4000 km on my unpowered bikes, 2500 km on my electric assist bike and a bit over 2000 km on my indoor trainer. It seems according to some people on here I must actually be three separate people, because you can't possibly do and enjoy all those things and still be a "proper" cyclist…

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mdavidford replied to Rendel Harris | 1 month ago
3 likes

Next you'll be telling us that you *shudder* drive a car as well. Begone devil!

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Rendel Harris replied to mdavidford | 1 month ago
2 likes

mdavidford wrote:

Next you'll be telling us that you *shudder* drive a car as well. Begone devil!

How dare you, I'm pleading for tolerance but tolerance must have limits!

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Mr Hoopdriver replied to Rendel Harris | 1 month ago
2 likes

Die heretic angel

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John D | 1 month ago
0 likes

You cant really have a near miss or close pass between cyclists as they are not required to give each other the 1.5 metres space, seems like a non story to me.

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Hirsute replied to John D | 1 month ago
15 likes

Of course you can have a near miss - cyclist coming the other way is on your side and misses you by cm.

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TempleOrion replied to John D | 1 month ago
7 likes

Duh, someone hasn't thought this through 🤣 Your effort counts as a non comment that's for sure...

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Bungle_52 replied to John D | 1 month ago
0 likes

Serious question. I've always assumed that the 1.5m applies to all road users, can I ask what it is that makes you think that it doesn't apply to cyclists?

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Rendel Harris replied to Bungle_52 | 1 month ago
3 likes

Bungle_52 wrote:

Serious question. I've always assumed that the 1.5m applies to all road users, can I ask what it is that makes you think that it doesn't apply to cyclists?

Because the section of the Highway Code that mentions it only applies to drivers. The only rules mentioned in the Code for cyclists regarding overtaking say you should not pass pedestrians, horses or horse drawn vehicles "closely" (no distance specified) and that you should leave a metre gap when passing parked cars. There's nothing in the Code or in law specifying the gap one cyclist must leave for another.

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Bungle_52 replied to Rendel Harris | 1 month ago
1 like

Thank you.

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mdavidford replied to Rendel Harris | 1 month ago
3 likes

That said, the original suggestion that there being no rule about it means you can't have a near miss is still total nonsense. If I rattle a pool ball in the pocket and it doesn't drop, that's a near miss, even if I haven't violated any Baizeway Code in the process.

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Rendel Harris replied to mdavidford | 1 month ago
1 like

Of course, and the absence of a rule doesn't mean a close passing cyclist couldn't be prosecuted under careless cycling laws, specifically the "reasonable consideration for other persons using the road" requirement in the RTA. I can think of one or two young men who use the Chelsea Embankment of a morning who seem to take delight in buzzing other cyclists as close as possible, even when the whole width of the lane is available, who could do with a slap on the wrist to encourage them to mend their ways...

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Bungle_52 replied to Rendel Harris | 1 month ago
0 likes

Rendel Harris wrote:

Bungle_52 wrote:

Serious question. I've always assumed that the 1.5m applies to all road users, can I ask what it is that makes you think that it doesn't apply to cyclists?

Because the section of the Highway Code that mentions it only applies to drivers. The only rules mentioned in the Code for cyclists regarding overtaking say you should not pass pedestrians, horses or horse drawn vehicles "closely" (no distance specified) and that you should leave a metre gap when passing parked cars. There's nothing in the Code or in law specifying the gap one cyclist must leave for another.

Me again, sorry. I've just checked in the highway code and found this in the intro to the rules for cyclists.

Quote:

Rules for cyclists (59 to 82)

Rules for cyclists, including an overview, road junctions, roundabouts and crossing the road.

These rules are in addition to those in the following sections, which apply to all vehicles (except the motorway section). See also You and your bicycle.

Doesn't this mean that anything that applies to drivers (including rule 163) also applies to cyclists but not vice versa?

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Rendel Harris replied to Bungle_52 | 1 month ago
2 likes

That's a bit nonsensical (the code's language, not you) because clearly there are rules that apply to drivers and not to cyclists, most obviously Rule 178 forbidding drivers from entering advance stop zones for cyclists. Speed limits also, as we know, don't apply to cyclists but they are mentioned in the "following sections" as well. The language of the close passing rule is quite clearly only aimed at motorists and in the same rule there is explicit permission for cyclists and motorcyclists to filter between lanes of slow-moving traffic, where obviously 1.5 metre passing distances cannot be observed.

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Bungle_52 replied to Rendel Harris | 1 month ago
0 likes

Sorry not convinced. Rule 178 for example specifically says it applies to "motorists including motorcyclists". My reading of the highway code remains that cyclists should give 1.5m when overtaking other cyclists. I'm afraid, for now, we'll have to agree to disagree on this one. I think we can agree, however, that the e-cyclist in the video is riding (driving) irresponsibly.

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