Hello sunshine, hello close pass

The sun is finally here. I have been waiting for such a long time for better weather. Cycling in the wind, rain, sleet or snow is not the best. But I don’t let it put me off. The sun is now beating down, with clear blue skies, and no wind and it makes me feel wonderful. As well as making cycling more pleasant, I think there’s something deeper going on too with, for the first time in months, the body getting a very good dosage of vitamin D.

With the above in mind, it seems that nearly everyone I have interacted with has been good on the roads. Nearly. The nice weather seems to make people more relaxed and content. I doubt this will last for long. A few consecutive days of sun will probably make people sweaty and grumpy and willing to quickly lose their patience if they are held up by 3 seconds, or if they have to turn their steering wheel slightly to give a safe overtaking distance. People sadly do not realise that they are not confined to their hot, sticky cars bound by congestion and delays but can walk the likely 1 mile of their journey or cycle if it is a bit further.

The sun makes people drive with their windows down which I think does actually have an effect on recognising their surroundings. Drivers commonly shield themselves from their surroundings once they enter their sealed metal box. By lowering windows, drivers can hear that there are children playing just metres away from driving their 2 tonnes of metal at 30 mph, or hear the panting of a cyclist as they overtake. It always makes me laugh when people berate me for cycling with headphones on. “You are a danger to yourself”. “You need to listen to the traffic”. “It’s so irresponsible”. “How can you hear what’s happening around you?”. I wonder if they ask themselves the same questions when they are driving along listening to the loud radio filling the enclosed space of their car. The windows silence the surroundings and music drowns anything out for good measures.

So I felt good. Everyone seems to be happy. I was cycling along Northampton Road and a car overtook me leaving the closest of distances. Below is the video. I was so exasperated; as you can hear. When you have well over 2,000 kilogrammes of metal hurtling past you at such a close distance, it makes for a scary time. Imagine if I had hit a pot hole or there was a bit of oil on the road and I slipped out? 99% of the time I record my journeys, and I fortunately had my camera rolling for this one. As can be seen, despite there being a bus stop to my left, I was to the left of the road. In order to overtake, the driver needed to ensure that it was safe and legal to do so. Instead, the driver overtook with less than the recommended distance as stated in the Highway Code.

I was in such shock I immediately went home and loaded the footage on to the PC. I was about to copy the files, cut them and upload to the police but I have decided against. I have reported a few cases before and each time I receive a reply from the police I dread their response. I have made the decision not to go through the hassle of the process. It honestly makes me feel that I have to build a full blown defence in case the specific police officer that calls me is anti-cycling. Please note, there are some gems who had dealt the some previous cases fantastically. But constantly worrying that you are basically going to be accused of wasting valuable police time has put me off. Each time I have reported issues of close passes before, the route I have asked the officer to go down is one of education.  I have stated I don’t want to go down the route of prosecution as I have not felt before my life to be at danger; although it easily could have been.  In the past, I have asked for a letter to be written to the registered car owner stating that if they are caught driving in this manner again they will be issue with a Section 59.

With this instance, as you can see, the driver had their passenger window open. I think my exclamation made him realise how ludicrous his behaviour on the road was. I noticed when I screamed about moving over, he did look look up. The driving wasn’t aggressive.  He didn’t say anything aggressively. He just didn’t control the vehicle in a sensible way. I hope that he pay more attention, and give a suitable passing distance the next time he passes someone on the roads.



  • Hello

    samuelshoesmith30th May 2018
Comments are closed