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Near Miss of the Day 651: “If I’d continued to go straight on, I would have gone under the wheels of this lorry”

Our regular series featuring close passes from around the country - today it's South Yorkshire...

This may well be the most frightening incident we have ever posted to our Near Miss of the Day series – and one in which the cyclist, who was almost taken out by a lorry driver ignoring stop markings at a junction, while on the wrong side of the road too, happens to be a senior police officer who is committed to making the roads safer for all and is encouraging all cyclists to submit footage of near misses.

The video was posted to the Twitter account of South Yorkshire Police’s Sheffield Northwest Neighbourhood Policing Team, which is led by Inspector Kevin Smith – the cyclist who filmed the incident, which happened on 11 February this year at the junction of Hoar Stones Road and Mill Lee Road, near the village of Low Bradfield and close to the Strines.

He has been unable to share the video until now due to it being sub judice, but the driver has now been convicted of dangerous driving and given 200 hours of community service and ordered to pay £100 compensation, £85 costs and a £95 victim surcharge, as well as being banned from driving for 12 months and required to take an extended retest afterwards before regaining a driving licence.

He told road.cc: “The circumstances are that it was the first day I’d got back on my bike after a particularly nasty bout of Covid. I was doing a short loop which was extremely hard work. 

“On my return I was enjoying the beautiful scenery when I saw the HGV travelling up the hill at some speed. I was planning to turn left anyway, but began to brake based on the speed it approached. The road was still wet and there was still snow on the ground in certain places, so it was somewhat sketchy. 

“Fortunately I had scrubbed off enough speed that I was able to put myself into the gap between the lorry and the dry stone wall which was literally centimetres. I did fall off sideways as you can see.

“If I had continued to go straight on, rather than turning left, I would have gone under the wheels of this lorry – just as if I had lost traction and slid off I would again have been underneath.”

“Over the past year I have worked extremely hard to try and improve SYP’s response to dangerous driving, and we are likely to move over to the Nextbase portal this month. 

“I am hoping that this will be the biggest step that we have taken to improve consistency and reduce the current system which is very much variable. 

“As you’ve reported on, we’ve also been rolling out close pass operations and improving on them to try and make motorists more aware of their responsibility towards vulnerable road users.”

He praised the officer who “did all the hard work” in ensuring the case went to court, and added: “I am all about trying to get everyone the same access to justice I have as a police officer.

“The closer we get to having all cyclists confident of submitting this kind of thing, the safer the roads will be.”

Inspector Smith has been featured on road.cc before, most recently in September this year when Great Britain’s most successful Paralympian, Dame Sarah Storey, who is the active travel commissioner for Sheffield City Region, joined him and other officers on a close pass operation targeting drivers who endanger cyclists – with almost one in five motorists they encountered on their ride pulled over.

> Dame Sarah Storey joins South Yorkshire Police on close pass operation – and almost one in five drivers get pulled over

> 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

Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.

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