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Near Miss of the Day 652: Driver overtaking group ride almost causes head-on crash (includes swearing)

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

A Volkswagen Passat driver overtaking club cyclists on a group ride last month almost caused a head-on crash with another vehicle, with the motorist having to slam their brakes on so hard that you can hear the tyres squeal and see smoke billowing around the tyres.

Footage of the incident was filmed on the morning of Saturday 23 October by road.cc user Sevenfold, during a Wylde Green Wheelers group ride heading towards Nether Whitacre in North Warwickshire.

He said: “The white pick-up performed a perfect overtake having sat patiently behind us for a couple of minutes, then the driver of the blue VW Passat decided to overtake as well …

“Reported via Operation Snap with the result being that the driver has been sent a warning letter by Warwickshire Police.,” he added. “The vehicle is also untaxed so this has been handed over to DVLA to follow up.”

Although there’s no forward-facing footage, it’s apparent from how hard the driver had to brake that they had not ensured “the road is sufficiently clear ahead,” as required by Highway Code Rule 162.

Moreover, Rule 163 tells motorists to “Overtake only when it is safe and legal to do so,” and to give motorcyclists, cyclists and horse riders at least as much room as you would when overtaking a car.”

It’s possible that some non-cyclists viewing the video might question why the cyclists are riding two abreast and not in single file.

Despite a widespread misconception among many motorists that riding two abreast is illegal, it is expressly permitted by the Highway Code, and it is also often safer for groups of riders two cycle side-by-side rather than in single file.

Besides reducing the time it takes a driver to overtake the group, riding two abreast can also discourage dangerous manoeuvres – here, for example, had the cyclists been in single file, it’s not hard to imagine the Passat driver trying to squeeze through a non-existent gap between the riders and the oncoming vehicle.

> 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 joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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