Cycling near misses: ‘You need ceaseless vigilance if you want to stay alive’

Cycling near misses: ‘You need ceaseless vigilance if you want to stay alive’

From close passes to road rage, the near misses experienced every day by those cycling on Britain’s city streets usually go uncounted and unanalysed. The Near Miss project enlisted the help of 1,700 cyclists to change that

Despite very clear right turn arm signal, driver put foot down and overtook me on hatchings to get in front of me for the right turn. [Felt] ignored, unimportant. Like my life and safety has no value whatsoever – Swansea (Female)

A motorist trying to get into a line of traffic simply drove into my path, effectively ignoring my presence on the road. It happens all the time so I’m used to it – Wolverhampton (Male)

An HGV pulled out from a side street and turned right, cutting me up and forcing me to stop at the kerb … [Felt] like he did it on purpose as I was ‘only a cyclist’ so it didn’t matter if he cut me up. I don’t believe he would have done that if it was a car or a motorcycle on the road – London (F)

Tipper truck went past me at a high speed (about 40mph) and came extremely close to me. If I’d had to swerve to avoid a pothole or manhole cover, or the narrowing of the road/kerb, I would have been hit. [Felt] like my heart was in my throat – London (F)

The driver of a large lorry with a cement mixer on the back passed me too closely on the approach to the bridge. […] Worried that if I had not held my line I could certainly have been badly harmed or killed – Hartlepool (M)

[A van attempted] to go around me to turn left (without using an indicator) when pulling away from the traffic lights, despite my being in front of the van, using the cycle zone at the traffic lights. It resulted in the van driver using his horn. With my 9 month old in the bike trailer, incidents like these are very scary experiences – Bristol (M)

I was in the cycle lane. Lorry comes up behind and starts hooting, not once but repeatedly, and revving his engine. I swerved, he got past, I caught him up at the next red lights so it was entirely pointless. [Felt] terrified. I don’t think I should give way to such behaviour but he was in a full size articulated lorry and his behaviour made me think he might just mow me down – Bradford (F)

The cycle lane abruptly disappears. On this occasion I cycled closed to the edge of the cycle lane and the driver of the car adjacent to me got agitated and ensured that he swung left immediately […] I was also recipient of 3 close overtakes by the three vehicles behind. At least one of them was less than 6 inches from hitting my handlebar. I wrote to [the city council] about this over 2 years ago and they wrote back to say that they ran out of money. […] I feel that there is a lot of lip service to sustainable transport however priorities are not being given in areas where there are vulnerable cyclists such as school children – Leicester (M)

Driver came up very close behind on approach to junction, then continued to tailgate me through the junction. When I gesticulated that he was getting too close to me, the driver responded with offensive hand gestures. [Felt] powerless. At risk. At the mercy of a belligerent/ignorant person in control of potentially lethal weapon – Nottingham (M)

Car overtook our group of cyclists constantly beeping his horn in an aggressive manner, just before and on a blind bend. If other traffic had been coming the other way, he would not have been able to avoid them without crashing into our group of cyclists. [Felt] scared, annoyed, fearful for our lives – Colchester (F)

As I approached lights, they went to amber; I knew the guy behind was only a couple of feet off my back wheel, and carried on through the lights – scarily late. And sure enough – the car followed me through. He would have been on red. Very scared indeed – I HATE that feeling of not daring to stop, and then heading out across the junction. No way on earth do I want to be there – Leeds (M)

I was approaching a chicane, within 20m, travelling at 12-15mph; with the signage indicating that I had priority. Oncoming car pulled out, flashed his lights to full beam, ignored three “give way” signs on his side, and blasted his way through. I did a savage emergency stop – almost losing my back wheel from under me. Off-the-scale annoying and scaring. Absolutely terrifying. I was quivering with fear and then the adrenalin recovery for a good 10-15 minutes afterwards. God alone knows what would have happened had I not been so experienced and competent. And lit up like a … Xmas tree, front and back; vivid high vis top – guess that only served to improve his aim – Leeds (M)

The driver behind overtook in the same lane, close and fast, very scary. […] I feel quite acute humiliation at my powerlessness to ensure my wife’s safety – Belfast (M)

You need CEASELESS VIGILANCE if you want to stay alive. I sometimes hate being a cyclist – Leeds (F)

Lanes are very narrow. Cars still try to overtake with oncoming traffic by passing with a foot or less of my handle bars. Happens almost daily by drivers not overtaking properly because they are in a rush. Very unsafe. Accident waiting to happen. Fingers crossed it is not me – Birmingham (M)

A male cyclist over took me at close range and high speed causing me to stop abruptly to avoid crashing into him. I then had to wait for several other impatient cyclists, most of them male to overtake me too – London (F)

[Other cyclist] rode at pedestrians crossing the road at speed while ringing his bell and shouting; did not give way to pedestrians crossing the road and did not give way to traffic on the main road (me), thus cutting me up – London (F)

It was dark, it had just begun to rain and the wind was getting up – tail end of Hurricane Gonzales passing over the north of the UK. [When I] had positioned myself on the road to turn right, and was needing both hands to brake and control the bike in the wind and the rain – my trousers were soaked through at this point – a motorist came fast up behind and close and shouted abusively “use your arm to signal mate” – Tunbridge Wells (M)

As I was making a left hand turn a car behind me tried to overtake me on the corner. Due to oncoming traffic he couldn’t and swerved in towards me and my child on a bike seat. I braked hard and stopped as he swerved in front of me as he swerved too much. If I hadn’t stopped I would have been where he ended up. [Felt] fearful for my child’s safety who was strapped in her bike seat – Newcastle (F)

Motorcyclist came round bend at 50mph+ and appeared to deliberately buzz past us very closely. This was clearly deliberate, so made me feel frustrated and angry that someone is willing to do this – akin to spinning nunchucks around in front of your face for a laugh – Crawley (M)

I was in the lane to turn right at the approaching roundabout. The road was unusually very quiet. A car drove past me on the left side lane VERY close, and then joined my lane in front of me. He undertook me. I was very annoyed and shaken […] it is obvious he was irritated at me for being in his lane and wanted to show it by brushing past me so close on my left side – Reading (F)

Car overtook me on the inside in the left turning lane then cut across me to go straight on. I caught up with the driver at the next lights and spoke to him, pointing out that this was a dangerous way to drive. He swore at me and deliberately swerved his car across me, verbally abused and threatened me. A few minutes later the car passed me again, swerved across me hooting horn. Driver threatened to kill me. I followed him to later lights and photographed his number plate. When he saw this he jumped out of car, pushed me and tried to take phone, which he knocked from my hand. Incident reported to police who are investigating. [Felt] terrified. I am a very experienced cyclist and over 30 years have had a few incidents like this. Would be even more frightening for someone inexperienced – London (F)

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Source: Guardian Transport

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