Too close

Go Dutch

New Member
I've recently returned to cycling after many years and have had a few close encounters with cars and vans lately. Is it something we have to put up with ?, or can we report drivers for aggressive behaviour. In the past the police have told me that unless there's actual contact, damage and/or injury with evidence there's nothing they can do. Any thoughts anyone?
 

derrick

The Glue that binds us together.
Just got to learn to let it go. The police are not interested even when you get hit. When its your time.that will be it. Just ride and enjoy.
 

glasgowcyclist

Charming but somewhat feckless
Location
Scotland
You don't have to put up with it at all.

Which part of the country are you in? Some police forces have a better approach to this than others and even have a dedicated service where you can upload footage of dangerous incidents (there is absolutely no need for there to be damage, injury or contact).

Obviously, reporting bad drivers will be easier if you use a camera so you could consider investing in at least one. I use a Cycliq Fly12 on the front and a Fly6 on the rear. About 70% of the incidents I've reported have resulted in prosecution or a fixed penalty for the offender. Mind you, it's a lottery as to whether you get a cop who can be arsed dealing with your complaint so be prepared to be assertive.
 

KneesUp

Guru
My commute is a 5 to 6 mile round trip depending which way I go. I have done this 5 times a week for several years. I have not completed the journey once without at least one vehicle passing too close.

There are degrees of close though. I would rank them as:

Contact
OMG, if I'd wobbled even slightly there would have been contact
Far, far too close and fast
Far, far too close but a reasonable speed
Too close (sub-types - giving as much room as they can without having to slow down, on the phone, oblivious)
Some room but not enough (sub-types - giving as much room as they can without having to slow down, on the phone, oblivious)
Enough room - thank you
Loads of room - I presume you are a cyclist temporarily reduced to driving
 
I often ride across more than one county / country , when I’m doing a decent length ride, some counties / countries seem to be more accustomed to / tolerant of cyclists than others, in my experience. If you get a proper close pass, or actually hit, and you have a camera for evidence, it’s worth reporting the incident, some police services will actually act on it.
 

Vantage

Carbon fibre... LMAO!!!
The only time I don't get close passes is when I take the bike on an off road route.
It's madness out there. I used a camera for a while but I found I had even more close encounters than without it. Weird.
Different police forces have different policies to crappy driving. Greater Manchester for example don't give a flying sherbet about cyclists whereas other forces might.
 

KneesUp

Guru
On the way in today, 85% of the way to work, I was thinking about this thread, and how maybe I'd exaggerated saying never once had I made it 2.5 miles to work without someone going to close because, God bless 'em, the drivers on my route had been very courteous. I mean, a few did that creeping out of a side road as you approach thing that they don't do to other cars, but no-one actually pulled out on me, and all gave me enough room. Only just, sometimes, but enough.

Then I had a junction to negotiate where you turn right off a large road to a smaller road, which immediately curves left. I was front of the line to turn right, and there was a car following. As soon as we were on the smaller road it tried to pass on the curve, got halfway, saw the Transit coming the other way that the driver could not have seen earlier because the curve makes overtaking blind, and so he cut across me leaving no more than a few inches between the back of his car and my handlebars.

So yeah. Well done impatient bloke in the Toyota. I'm glad you got to the gym car park 400 metres away a millisecond sooner. Don't you worry about me.
 

gbb

Legendary Member
Location
Peterborough
Several factors to consider...
There are close passes and close passes. I get a few but most of them i consider not dangerous, more disrespectful. It may also be the driver has it all under control (in his/her eyes) with what i call disrespectful passes, but it's closer than we'd like. I'm sure Its sometimes a lack of drivers awareness how it feels rather than a dangerous manoever.
Recently back to cycling ?...your reactions to what seems a close pass may dull as time goes by and you get accustomed to closer traffic.
Speed of the traffic makes a huge difference. I can cope with cars inches from me in town traffic if they're doing 20 mph....but a car doing 50 or more, even at 3ft away is too damn close.
Inevitably there are times when it just happens one after the other, sometimes you wonder what's going on. Those times will pass, its a rarity in my experience.
 

fossyant

Ride It Like You Stole It!
Location
South Manchester
Let it go. Bugger all will happen, even if you get hit (experience).
 

nickAKA

Über Member
Location
Manchester
I swear most drivers (having never cycled on the road) aren't even aware how close they are. The aggressive drivers are the real problem. You know the type... they own the road, everyone else is an inconvenience, they have to wait for a couple of seconds on a busy, narrow road and then floor it when a tiny gap appears, giving you the psychotic side eye with bulging forehead veins as they eventually pass (only to be passed by you at the next set of lights assuming they've calmed down enough to forget to block the gutter and stop you) but those people are probably w*nk*rs in every walk of life, a waste of skin and of your ire.

For your own sanity try to let it go. Fit front & rear cameras and report the dangerous ones if it makes you feel better, but it's a hearts & minds job this; the motorist has been convinced by everyone that he is master of all he surveys, they need educating but I wouldn't hold your breath.
 

rugby bloke

Veteran
Location
Northamptonshire
I think there are 2 issues here. The first is that close passes are, unfortunately, and wrongly, a fact of life when you cycle on the road. So you have to learn to deal with them without it putting you off riding. I know I have become hardened and less fazed over the years, and have certainly developed a selection of choice phrases to utter. The second issue is whether to record and report the incidents to the police. I don't have any experience of this, from the advise above it would seem that it very much depends which police area you live in.
 

KneesUp

Guru
[QUOTE="nickAKA, post: 5608303, member: 54394"... they eventually pass (only to be passed by you at the next set of lights assuming they've calmed down enough to forget to block the gutter and stop you) ...[/QUOTE]
There are many reasons I ride a rigid 26" MTB as my main bike. Hopping up and down kerb stones to get around people who do this is one of them :-)
 

lazybloke

Let's go sledding
Location
In a cemetery
100%a agree that if you're not used to traffic, cycling on busy roads can feel terryfying.
To a certain extent you do get used to it, plus all cyclists need to learn road raft skills that block drivers trying to squeeze past at inappropriate places.

But for me, the far more effective solution is to chose a quieter route where drivers are less stressed and can pass more easily. My regular commute could be 11 miles but I always at least 4 to take a better route. Yesterday I added 23 miles.

The worst roads are sometimes a surprise. An unclassified rural 40mph road near me is horrific in rush hour despite being wide and fairly straight. I was much happier yesterday on a narrow winding A-road. Go figure.
 

Johnno260

Veteran
Location
East Sussex
Where I’m which is quite rural I get close passed a lot, some people seem to think it’s a game.

People also don’t like it when I cycle further from the curb on blind corners, I do this to try and stop people passing me on dangerous corners, it’s to protect myself and others.

I noticed I was holding up a Tesla driver on my morning rides, at some lights I got him to wind down his window and I said please beep me if I haven’t heard you, which he does now, I hate these electric cars for the lack of noise.
 
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