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“This shouldn’t be normal, but it is”: Chris Boardman blasts “common criminal behaviour” after overtaking driver “almost kills” cyclists – “protected by hi-vis” – on charity ride

The near miss took place during a ride from Land’s End to John O’Groats to raise funds for retired service animals, leaving the charity’s founder “frightened and shook up”

The “common criminal behaviour” of dangerous drivers around cyclists needs to be eradicated before we “lose a vital transport choice”, says National Active Travel Commissioner Chris Boardman. The former Olympic champion made the comments in response to a video posted on social media today by the National Foundation for Retired Service Animals (NFRSA), which showed the charity’s founder Lady Bathurst, cycling the length of Britain to raise awareness for the foundation, on the receiving end of an extremely close pass by an oncoming driver overtaking a lorry at speed.

The shocking incident – which, as Boardman pointed out, saw three cyclists, supposedly protected by hi-vis clothing, “almost killed” – took place yesterday as Lady Bathurst, the former High Sheriff of Gloucesthershire, crossed the border into Scotland, two weeks into her attempt to ride her e-bike from Land’s End to John O’Groats to celebrate the NFRSA’s first year and to raise awareness of the charity’s work.

However, as the 58-year-old cycled alone on the hard shoulder, waving to two cyclists riding in the opposite direction, a motorist attempted to overtake a lorry driver approaching a bend in the road, missing Lady Bathurst by centimetres at speed and causing her to wobble.

The overtaking driver also manages to pull in front of the lorry just as another motorist, driving a support vehicle as part of the charity ride, appears around the corner.

Drone footage captured by the charity also shows the lorry driver narrowly passing the two cyclists on the other side of the road.

Lady Bathurst close passed by overtaking motorist during charity ride (National Foundation for Retired Service Animals)

“F***ing hell,” the Countess can be heard saying in the video, posted this morning on X, formerly Twitter, by the NFRSA, as she came to a stop on the hard shoulder shortly after the near miss.

“My knees are actually shaking. It was literally inches away. I was waving… and I laughed, and just wobbled out, and she… I very nearly was a dead Countess, not a cycling Countess!”

Posting the clip of the incident this morning, the NFRSA wrote: “It was such a happy day going over the border yesterday – but it nearly ended in disaster.

“Lady B was in the cycle lane, waving to fellow cyclists, just as a woman in a red car dangerously overtook a lorry, nearly hitting her, and causing the support car to swerve. Not a nice experience at all.

“Please motorists – be careful when overtaking on country roads.”

Reposting the video, Lady Bathurst added: “I was riding alone yesterday afternoon, in beautiful Scotland on the NFRSA Charity Bike Ride, when this happened. It was unbelievably frightening and shook me up.

“Please, when overtaking on country roads, be aware of what might be on the other side of the road. Thank you.”

Lady Bathurst close passed by overtaking motorist during charity ride (National Foundation for Retired Service Animals)

> Chris Boardman speaks about losing his mum at the hands of killer driver for the first time

Meanwhile, Active Travel England’s Boardman, who today called on the government to back and provide funding for cycling schemes at a meeting at 10 Downing Street, described the shocking incident as something that “shouldn’t be normal, but it is”.

“Three people – ‘protected by high viz’ – almost killed whilst doing something wholly beneficial for society. This shouldn’t be normal, but it is,” Boardman wrote.

“This is common criminal behaviour and we need to stop it or we will lose a vital transport choice.”

> Near Miss of the Day 873: Impatient driver overtaking tractor close passes cyclist and narrowly avoids oncoming HGV

Despite Boardman’s comments, some social media users responded to the video by arguing that Lady Bathurst should have been wearing hi-vis and that the charity cyclist was lacking “concentration” at the time of the close pass, prompting the Countess herself to intervene in the discussion.

“The top had reflector strips. I wasn’t wearing my coat. Hot!” she said, in response to one social media user who claimed that “cyclists MUST wear hi-vis clothing. It’s a no-brainer.”

“To be honest,” Lady Bathurst continued, “She was going that fast, I’m not sure she’d have seen me if I’d had fireworks coming out of my head!”

Replying to someone who accused her of “showboating”, she said: “Showboating? Really?? I was BEING FRIENDLY and returning a wave from a cyclist on the other side of the road. I was NOT expecting a red missile to narrowly miss me. What is wrong with you?”

Another social media user also attempted to pin at least some of the blame on the charity cyclist, arguing that “you took your eyes off the situation unfolding in front of you to smile and converse with the cyclist across the road instead of moving over to the left of the cycle lane as a precaution. That wave almost cost you your life.”

“I could have been doing a handstand and cartwheels,” Lady Bathurst pithily replied. “The fact is at whatever stage, I was safely within the lines of the bike lane. The motorist overtaking did so in a reckless manner and was doing well over 70.

“I’d argue the stupidity of the driver nearly cost me my life.”

Ryan joined road.cc in December 2021 and since then has kept the site’s readers and listeners informed and enthralled (well at least occasionally) on news, the live blog, and the road.cc Podcast. After boarding a wrong bus at the world championships and ruining a good pair of jeans at the cyclocross, he now serves as road.cc’s senior news writer. Before his foray into cycling journalism, he wallowed in the equally pitiless world of academia, where he wrote a book about Victorian politics and droned on about cycling and bikes to classes of bored students (while taking every chance he could get to talk about cycling in print or on the radio). He can be found riding his bike very slowly around the narrow, scenic country lanes of Co. Down.

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107 comments

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Bungle_52 | 9 months ago
1 like

Just want to point out that the article refers to a hard shoulder, not a cyle lane.

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grOg | 9 months ago
0 likes

The video shows her lacking proper control of her bike, due to waving to the other cyclist, causing her to wobble towards the vehicle overtaking the truck.

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chrisonabike replied to grOg | 9 months ago
5 likes

... I think she shows amazing timing - she literally had to time that perfectly to be inches from the car approaching at maybe 70mph closing speed and still avoid a collision. What a skilled stunt team!

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grOg replied to chrisonabike | 9 months ago
0 likes

What she demonstated was cluelessness; she should have moved left, if she had observed the overtaking vehicle heading towards her, rather than waving to another cyclist like she's riding on a quiet bike path, instead of a high speed road.

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chrisonabike replied to grOg | 9 months ago
2 likes

What she demonstated was helplessness; she should have moved east*, if she (or the organisers) had observed the overtaking habits of British motorists. Unfortunately riding across the UK on quiet bike *paths* is impossible as they don't exist. And "quiet bike route" in the UK has considerable overlap with "High speed road". Of course - it's not the road going fast, it's the drivers.

None of this detracts from the inability of UK drivers to make safe overtakes. Lots of us demonstrate what is known as restlessness (must get in front no matter what, right now) and blindness (to anything further than the next motor vehicle, or indeed anything other than motor vehicles...)

* either a couple of hundred miles (NL from Scotland) or a few hundred more again (Denmark). Germany has more places which are better than the UK but is still AFAIK firmly in the 3rd class category with us. Of course much of the UK is "hasn't even started" and now the PM says he wants to go backwards.

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giff77 replied to grOg | 9 months ago
6 likes

A B-Road is not a high speed road. Personally I drop my speed to 40/50 when driving these roads. 
 

*edit - as a motorist you should not commit to a manoeuvre that would cause another road user to brake or take evasive action.

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TFR replied to grOg | 9 months ago
4 likes

This comment show's how bad your understanding is of the high way code and what constituates safe driving near vulnerable road users.  A load of victim blaming tosh from a moronic waste of space!

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neilmck | 9 months ago
1 like

I've cycled a bit around France (where I live). We have the same type of high-speed roads in the countryside, you do not enjoy cycling on these roads, you survive them. Unfortunately you cannot always avoid them, when I have to cycle them I have one eye continuously in the mirror playing and changing my position on the road so that the cars behind give me the maximum space when overtaking. What I don't do is wave at other cyclists totally unaware of what is happening around me. What happened to this woman happened to me a few years back, I saved my life by immediately throughing myself and my bike into a ditch. It also happened to be the rare occasion I rode in the UK.

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wtjs | 9 months ago
8 likes

I've been away for a week, and this is the first topic I looked into. I can instantly identify 2 or 3 Utter Nutters, one a classic retread on a 'first post'. If the Old-Timers would simply Note and Ignore, these topics would be a lot shorter. As for references to the Hyper-Junk Press's Most Junk Aspect (the sub-primate comments)- why bother? It's simple- the cyclist is completely in the right, the driver is guilty, the police will do nothing because that's what they do about offences against cyclists.

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OldRidgeback | 9 months ago
2 likes

If you want to be depressed, read the comments on the Daily Hate page on this event. Most of the comments seem to think she was in the wrong.

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OldRidgeback | 9 months ago
0 likes

If you want to be depressed, read the comments on the Daily Hate page on this event. Most of the comments seem to think she was in the wrong.

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hawkinspeter replied to OldRidgeback | 9 months ago
6 likes
OldRidgeback wrote:

If you want to be depressed, read the comments on the Daily Hate page on this event. Most of the comments seem to think she was in the wrong.

To be fair, if a person is looking for reliable reporting and ends up reading the Daily Heil, then they're not exactly in touch with reality.

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eburtthebike replied to OldRidgeback | 9 months ago
3 likes

There is a reason it is not allowed to be quoted as fact on Wikipedia.

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eburtthebike | 9 months ago
12 likes

“Please motorists – be careful when overtaking on country roads.”

All roads surely?

"That wave almost cost you your life.”

 I know we are all human and it's common to deny things when in your interest, but the motorisation of society has gone too far when otherwise logical people can make such clearly fallacious statements.  The fault was the driver's and no-one else's, but we have become so conditioned by the perception that the roads are for motorists alone, that many people simply cannot conceive that a driver is at fault when a cyclist is involved.  This view, reinforced by a media so biased that it would be at home in North Korea, is endemic.  No wonder that tories are shamelessly promoting themselves as the party of drivers.

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Flybat | 9 months ago
2 likes

I'm Dutch. I grew up on a bike in a country where everyone cycles and motorists keep an eye out for cyclists and vice versa. I dread cycling in the UK as motorists aren't trained to look out for cyclists and cyclists act like they have every right to be on a busy road. Which they do (most of the time).

One thing you should never forget as a cyclist though is that you are the most vulnerable thing on the road. God forbid you have an accident, but if you do, you can be entirely in the right but still be the one ending up in hospital because the other person was nicely protected in a car.

As for Lady Whatsherface, this kind of feels like she was doing it for effect. Look at how far, I'd say extremely, to the right she is on what is by all accounts a very generous bike lane (for lack of a better word). Maybe drifting to the right because she took her hand off the handlebar? Either way, it's just asking for an accident to happen. Stay clear from other traffic as far you can, other road users might not be as responsible as you are.

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Clem Fandango replied to Flybat | 9 months ago
8 likes

FFS

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Rendel Harris replied to Flybat | 9 months ago
13 likes
Flybat wrote:

Stay clear from other traffic as far you can, other road users might not be as responsible as you are.

I swear some people would say it's your fault for not taking all the precautions possible if you were hit by a car that drove through your front window while you were quietly sitting at home waiting for the road.cc website to load. The driver was overtaking at high speed in the oncoming traffic lane inches off the edge of the cycle lane and it's the cyclist's fault they had a near miss (which in this case should be titled a near death experience) because they didn't stay as far away from it as they could have done?

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Flybat replied to Rendel Harris | 9 months ago
0 likes

I'd say that quote is just common sense and doesn't really apply to living room situations or ram raids and the like. Look at the first still, she's practically making a hard right at that point.

But seriously, apart from the larger cities with their cycle (super)highways, the UK has a massive infrastructure problem when it comes to cycling, in addition to terrible mentality on both sides (yes, cyclists too, refer to the comment sections on here). And who in their right mind would cycle down that road to begin with? As the video shows, it's not very safe at all..

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Cugel replied to Flybat | 9 months ago
3 likes
Flybat wrote:

But seriously, apart from the larger cities with their cycle (super)highways, the UK has a massive infrastructure problem when it comes to cycling, in addition to terrible mentality on both sides (yes, cyclists too, refer to the comment sections on here). And who in their right mind would cycle down that road to begin with? As the video shows, it's not very safe at all..

It's always easy to take a side. One then has the power of a small mob to enhance one's own. Of course, the other side also has mob-power.  

Our Bwitish tradition is the half-arsed dialetic often found in opposing mobs. We do the thesis and antithesis but never seem to get to to the synthesis of a resolution or compromise between the two groups of red-faced hollerers. They just keep at it, louder and louder. Then they pick up their pitchforks and burning brands ..... .

**********

The overtaking car loon in that vid is a dangerous incompetant. The cyclist, going by the vid, is also incompetnt but, of herself, not dangerous except to car loon P&Js, which might get a scratch or a dent. So too is the designer of that road with a cycling murder strip perfect for bringing speeding car loons and inept cyclists into close proximity. Will any of them attempt a synthesis? 

It seems unlikely. The car loon will find 20 reasons for doing what they did, along with 20,000 other car loons in the car loon mob to bray support. The road designer will "design" some more just as bad, if not worse. The cyclist will remain inept and oblivious to all sorts of dangers that are unfairly imposed on cyclists but nevertheless a reality that has to be dealt with in an immediate and practical way, including not just "avoid them" but "anticipate them and have skills to mitigate their effects".

In short, humans can be very stupid and many seem determined to remain in that state.

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giff77 replied to Flybat | 9 months ago
6 likes

No. The road is safe. The overtaking motorist made it dangerous. They weren't happy to sit behind a lorry at 40 mph who was overtaking another road user and were totally fixated on getting past. 

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perce replied to Flybat | 9 months ago
8 likes

Doing it for effect? What a silly thing to say, you sound like another driver apologist. Actually, reading your last paragraph would suggest you are a returnee to this site.

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neilmck replied to perce | 9 months ago
0 likes

Yes it was a silly thing to say and the car driver was 100% at fault, but I hope that my children do not cycle in the manner she does on dangerous, high-speed roads.
On another point, since when was black and dark purple, "Hi-viz"?

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polainm | 9 months ago
12 likes

Just a normal day out on UK roads on a bicycle. Toxic drivers are the majority. Policing not allocated or trained for this, CPS goes for slapped wrists, Judges and juries all drivers. There is no 'war on motorists', it's 'carnage from drivers'. This behaviour is way past out-of-control; it's a widespread mental illness. 

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polainm | 9 months ago
4 likes

Just a normal day out on UK roads on a bicycle. Toxic drivers are the majority. Policing not allocated or trained for this, CPS goes for slapped wrists, Judges and juries all drivers. There is no 'war on motorists', it's 'carnage from drivers'. This behaviour is way past out-of-control; it's a widespread mental illness. 

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Cugel replied to polainm | 9 months ago
8 likes
polainm wrote:

Just a normal day out on UK roads on a bicycle. Toxic drivers are the majority. Policing not allocated or trained for this, CPS goes for slapped wrists, Judges and juries all drivers. There is no 'war on motorists', it's 'carnage from drivers'. This behaviour is way past out-of-control; it's a widespread mental illness. 

Its long been understood that the best method for psychiatrists to employ in getting to see the deeper mental states of humans is to put them in a car then observe them as they "drive" in traffic. The many aspects of their particular human nature variant will emerge, good, bad and indifferent.

As the population goes gradually mad due to the pressures and privations of our slowly disintegrating pseudo-society, more and more of them are becoming "troubled" with a fair percentage well along that road to full-barmpot status, including "dangerous nutter".

Personally I will no longer get in a car with many I know, these days. I've become over-sensitive (or just sensitive) to their incompetance and inability to recognise just how incompetant they are .... with the many possible consequences for themselves, me (the passenger) and who-knows-who unlucky enough to cross their path at the wrong time.

It's astonishing how many fail to look where they're going for long periods; fail to anticipate obvious hazards ahead; have no understanding of basic physics and its relevance to driving. Many are madly aggressive, rude, inconsiderate ... yet convinced they are "right" in some queer imaginary contest of who has precedence and how to get it from those would-be (but lesser-human) usurpers outside their windscreen.

Mention or even hint at their lack of competance and there's an explosion of self-righteous indignation, claims to be a much better driver than everyone else and a long huff of, "You've badly hurt my feelings and I hate you".

So I stay out of their cars. I explain that, amongst other benefits, this will mean I won't be a witness agin' 'em when they inevitably have their next "accident".  More huffery and puffery ensues.

Some friend, me, eh? How very dare I not go along with their kings&queens-of-the-road schtick!! No wonder I yam Cugel-no-mates.  1

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NotNigel replied to Cugel | 9 months ago
4 likes

Can totally relate to that, had many a fall out with close relatives after attempting to explain to them their bad driving habits.  I'm not going to lie, I was probably similar not long ago, putting priority on getting to where I needed to be on time above everything else but since being on this site it has given me a better understanding on being a much less selfish driver.  The hard part is convincing others to do the same.

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M20MAMIL | 9 months ago
8 likes

https://road.cc/content/news/99660-high-vis-clothing-doesnt-make-cars-pa...
 

if only Road CC had published an article describing proper academic research proving the hi-viz fallacy 

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Bradshsi replied to M20MAMIL | 9 months ago
2 likes

It is pretty clear neither you nor Boardman have ever had any training on industrial safety.

The ‘protected by high viz’ shows that like most of the general public you/Boardman don't comprehend the layered approach to safety.

Hi viz is a single safety layer intended to aid situational awareness. (If it was the fallacy as you claim we wouldn't deploy it successfully on hazardous industrial sites).

However if operators in the Hazzard location are not practicing appropriate scanning of the environment, then the high viz safety layer is negated. That was clearly the situation with that driver.

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M20MAMIL replied to Bradshsi | 9 months ago
8 likes

Not industrial safety but surgical safety definitely yes. And we've looked at the Prospect model, from industry. But we wouldn't use a method that had no evidence base, particularly one where there was negative evidence, such as that for hi-viz in cycling safety.

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eburtthebike replied to Bradshsi | 9 months ago
5 likes
Bradshsi wrote:

It is pretty clear neither you nor Boardman have ever had any training on industrial safety.

However if operators in the Hazzard location.........

  Not sure I trust the postings of someone apparently claiming qualifications in H&S when they can't even spell hazard.

What you seem to be saying is that it doesn't matter that hi-viz doesn't work because your manual says that it does.  Never mind reality, just follow the book.

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