Thames Valley Police have apologised for not requesting clearer footage sooner of a close pass in which a driver overtook three cyclists then immediately turned right – with the force explaining in a detailed reply to road.cc that the delay in asking the cyclist who had submitted the video to them to provide a copy in which the registration plate of the vehicle could be identified meant it was too late to issue a Notice of Intended Prosecution within the 14-day period required by law.
A Thames Valley Police spokesperson told us: “On 14 August, we received a report of a road-related incident on Finchampstead Road, Finchampstead, the previous day (13/8).
“A cyclist, a man in his fifties, alleged to have been passed too closely by a black Mercedes Benz car and provided video footage of the incident.
“Upon initial review, the registration number of the vehicle could not be clearly seen despite our attempts to clarify it.
“To pursue allegations of careless/inconsiderate driving, we are required by law to send a written Notice of Intended Prosecution (NoIP) to the registered keeper of the vehicle within 14 days of the incident.
“This is usually accompanied by a request for them to provide details of the identity of the driver at the time.
“When determining what action to take we use the Full Code Test contained within the Code for Crown Prosecutors. This has two stages and both stages of the Full Code Test must be met before we can take action:
1. We must have sufficient reliable evidence to provide a realistic prospect of conviction; and
2. Any action we take must be in the public interest.
“When considering whether a matter meets the public interest test, a number of factors are taken into consideration. One of those factors is whether or not prosecution is a proportionate response to the offending behaviour.
“In determining what the most appropriate response may be, we have a range of outcomes we can apply ranging from no further action to a written warning letter, a driver education course and prosecution. Each case is considered on its’ own merits.
“In this case, we did not initially have sufficiently clear enough evidence to satisfy stage one. A request was made for clearer footage on 2 September and this was provided on the same day.
“However, as the time limit for prosecution had expired, we were unable to pursue a prosecution or request that the offending driver attend a driver education course on this occasion.
“Had the request for clearer footage been done sooner, there is a possibility we could have considered sending the driver on an educational course,” the spokesperson added. “For this, we apologise.”
Below is our original article, published on 29 October 2022.
One of those ones in our Near Miss of the Day series today ... a driver who simply had to make a close pass on three cyclists to get ahead of them, before then turning right a hundred metres or so down the road.
Jim, the road.cc reader filmed the clip told us: “The cyclists have to move out into the centre of the carriageway due to a Royal Mail van being parked half on the footway, half on the carriageway.
“My partner and I were cycling through Wokingham, singe file and another cyclist was catching us from behind.
“The driver elected to overtake all three of us straight into oncoming traffic, causing a driver on the opposite carriageway to react by braking, altering course and flashing their lights.
“I estimate the speed of the driver to be 40mph+ and the distance between us no more than 30cms,” Jim continued.
“The driver then immediately braked, indicated and turned right, making the overtake even more poorly judged (and maybe even deliberate intimidation) and unnecessary,” he added.
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.
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.