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Not-so Near Miss of the Day 401: Driver pulls out on Guernsey cyclist who has no chance to brake

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

Now and again in our Near Miss of the Day feature, we have a video that goes beyond that description, with the incident resulting in the cyclist being knocked off their bike – and that’s what we have today, as a motorist pulled out on a road.cc reader commuting to work on Guernsey. What's more, a painted bike lane surface combined with wet weather meant there was little chance of the cyclist braking in time. But despite the rider sustaining injuries and his bike being damaged, as well as an off-duty police officer being at the scene, no action was taken against the driver.

Here’s what road.cc reader Alex, who submitted the video, told us: “Until this incident I used to commute along a contra-flow bike lane which, at the very end, has priority over a side road which is used as a rat-run for the nearby school.

“Over the years I’ve been knocked off twice before at this junction, and I’ve survived countless near misses, as because of the one way road system motorists seem incapable of looking right for cyclists and just pull out without stopping despite numerous warning signs.

“Indeed, in an effort to make the bike path safer for cyclists and more visible to motorists, it was painted blue late last year by the Traffic & Highways Department but unfortunately all that seems to have happened is that the painted areas are now lethal to cyclists in the wet.

“I was on my way to work on 10 February this year when, once again, a motorist, once again, failed to stop at the yellow line at the junction and pulled out in front of me.

“Given the frictionless state of the wet road surface I had no chance of avoiding the side of his car, which caused over £1,000 of damage to my bike (including a bent fork and cracked wheel rim) and injured my elbow, hip and knee.

“The motorist hung around just long enough to accuse me of not looking where I was going before driving away from the scene without providing his details, leaving me sitting in the road waiting for an ambulance that another motorist had called.

“It turned out that one of the people caught up in the traffic jam was an off-duty police officer, and he called up the station to put out a calling all cars alert in an effort to find the driver. I was told he was later located at home.”

Alex continued: “I’ve long since given up on bothering to report anything to Guernsey Police given my past experiences of the unwillingness of the Criminal Justice Unit to prosecute any offence against cyclists (even with video evidence and when I’ve ended up in A&E), but I felt I was left with no choice in this instance as an on-duty officer arrived shortly before the ambulance and took the SD card from my bike camera there and then.

“Despite being in shock at the time, I do remember laughing as I assured him that nothing would come of giving a statement, but he was confident that at the very least a prosecution for failing to stop at a yellow line was ‘nailed on’, even if failure to report an accident might be difficult to prove given the 24 hour time limit to do so.

“Imagine my lack of surprise, therefore, when I received notification last week from the Criminal Justice Unit that ‘it would not be in the public interest to prosecute the driver’,” he added. “It certainly keeps the road crime stats looking good!”

> 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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