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Near Miss of the Day 657: Overtaking driver pulls into path of oncoming cyclist

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

For once, the cyclist who filmed the incident featured in our Near Miss of the Day series today isn’t the one on the receiving end – rather, it was one coming in the other direction who was put in danger by a driver who almost hit the rider head-on.

“I’m still not quite sure how the cyclist managed to avoid being hit,” said Mark, the road.cc reader who filmed the incident in September on the Elham Valley Road, which is just off the main Canterbury to Dover road.

“The footage begins with an exemplary overtake by the first driver – patient and then fully into the opposite lane,” he said. “The second overtake is fine too. But the third (GJ67 FCG) plays follow-the-leader. Notice how far in advance of reaching me the driver commits to an overtake by pulling out from our lane.

“Apart from that incautious approach, all seems fine initially from the perspective of my rear-facing camera. But the road ahead was not clear.

“Within 1 second of the rear of GJ67 FCG exiting the view, you will see an oncoming cyclist come into view to the rear of me.

“In other words, the driver of GJ67 FCG had driven directly at the oncoming cyclist during the overtaking manoeuvre. I’m still not quite sure how the cyclist managed to avoid being hit.

“I am new to having a camera on my bike, and I don’t often see reports to Kent Police mentioned on the NMOTD pages, so I was uncertain what the outcome would be. I was obviously aware that the evidence was restricted to that of a rear-facing camera, but the dangerousness of the driver’s overtake seemed self-evident to me.

“Unfortunately, the Case Review Officer at Kent Police has decided that the video is ‘of little evidential value and the actual pass to the anonymous cyclist is not captured.  The other cyclist has not reported this matter, and I cannot tell if there was any consequence to that rider.’

“The officer concluded, ‘When prosecuting any offence I have to believe I have sufficient evidence to prove the case ‘beyond reasonable doubt’.  I do not believe in this case this threshold has been met’.

“I have asked the officer to clarify what her grounds for reasonable doubt are, but she is refusing to reply to any of my follow-up emails.

“It is dispiriting to me that the bar for video evidence is set so astonishingly high,” added Mark, who has subsequently bought a front-facing camera.

“I cannot conceive of a scenario that would be consistent both with what is captured on the video and with the driver having performed a safe overtake. It was also alarming to discover that the Highway Code’s Rule 162 is merely advisory: ‘Before overtaking you should [not “MUST”] make sure the road is sufficiently clear ahead’. It is baffling that such a fundamental component of safe overtaking is not a legal requirement.”

> 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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