Near Miss : I could have been the next one on the list!

Ben La France
Ben La France Posts: 4
edited August 2009 in Commuting chat
Location: Stoke Newington Church Street - along Clissold Pk. Going Eastward
Straight road - 30mph speed limit - no danger apparent

When: Sun 23rd Aug. 11pm

A cyclist (me)
and a Bus - 393 (single decker - normal bus)

What Happened:
A classic! -
1. A Bus overtakes a cyclist (me) - A car comes the opposite direction -
2. The bus pulls back in the left lane where the cyclist is (still me) ignoring the cyclist presence
3. The cyclist breaks desperately - trapped between the curb and this "red wall "coming to crash him (me, still)
4. Near miss: litterally 1inch! The cycilst still wonders how he's still alive - people getting off the bus at the next scheduled stop asking the cyclist if he's OK-
5. Cyclist going to the bus driver to talk to him - bus driver shuts the doors and drives away
6. Cyclist catches up with the bus and manages to speak to the driver at a traffic light:
Bus driver: : dismissive attitude "I did not touch you, there is the video to prove it" is the only sentence he said, 3 or 4 times - Cyclist emphasises that was not the point - but the fact that an accident was (very very) nearly avoided
7 When asked, bus driver refuses to decline his identity and drives away

What to do?

I immediatley went on TFL website and filled in an official complaint form -
Still waiting for them to get back to me -

I also went to the local Police station to report this: the police told me that there is nothing to be done since there was NO COLLISION - I insisted I wanted to report - so they eventually handed me a form which I completed on the spot- they said that traffic division will get back to me - well...

1. The fact that there is NO COLLISION - does it mean that there is nothing to be done as the police tried to say: if someones fires a gun at you and misses, is there nothing to be done?:
As cyclists I'm afraid we cannot afford the luxury of a collision - thoughts?

2. the bus driver's attitude: totally dismissive and total lack of sense of responsibilty - wanting to get away -(this is a trend I have noted with bus drivers on different occasions). Is this person ever going to question the way he's driving? Is it safe to cycle in streets where large buses are driven by undertrained people doing overtime to make both ends meet?

3. What can we do about near misses? I am sure many of you have experienced this: I was still shaking in the hours following the incident - and writing this post does not bring back pleasant memories -

I feel a bit left alone (eg. the police's attitude) - Have we got to suffer casualties, sometimes fatalities, to have action taken?

Please advise and share your experiences - as you can imagine I am still very upset about this

Thanks for reading



  • aclucas
    aclucas Posts: 15
    Nothing really useful to add, fortunately not been in that situation. Sorry to hear about the scary situation.

    If the bus does have a video to show what happened it would be worth trying to get a copy... is that possible. I'd try to take it the whole incident up with the bus company. It's not in their interest to have a dangerous driver in their employ.
  • Stuey01
    Stuey01 Posts: 1,273
    that sucks.
    I wouldn't expect much from the police, as there was no collision, though the video may show driving without due care and attention I doubt they will pursue it.
    I would expect more from TFL and really hope you get a positive outcome.

    The attitude of the driver is unbelievable.

    Do you have the names and contact details of any of the passengers that stopped to ask if you were ok?
    Not climber, not sprinter, not rouleur
  • davmaggs
    davmaggs Posts: 1,008
    You've got my sympathy on this mate. The fact is the Police just aren't interested and no matter how many forum posts go up nothing will be done.

    The Police are nearly always reactive and don't have the interest, the databases or the mindset to be proactive. The person behind the desk simply runs through the question in their mind; is it worth 5 hours paperwork for this? when nothing will result from it. Put simply you have to do something very serious or with an easy financial penalty to have any criminal sanction actually applied, never mind get near a court. The Police often don't show up for serious crimes in progress with witnesses and a victim so an 'almost crime' just isn't on their radar.

    As for the usual post about asking for CCTV, that won't happen either. As is obligatory, on the forum my tale:

    Outside of the spooks HQ a van driver deliberately swerved his van into me, causing my body and head to bounce down the length entire side of the van. Couldn't fall off as the curb (under Vaux bridge) held the bike up. Police had no interest and in one of the most filmed places in London didn't bother to pull the CCTV.
  • sarajoy
    sarajoy Posts: 1,675
    That's the sad thing - we come across as grumpy sods but the point is that every near miss for us is a potential death/loss of limbs/nasty flesh wound.

    My boyfriend caught himself shouting at someone who started a three-point turn in front of him and felt bad for causing a scene - but TBH it's a natural reaction when you found yourself staring a nasty crash in the face and narrowly avoiding it!

    All I can hope is that new driving instructors stress the vulnerability of cyclists more.
  • I share your pain! :evil:

    Just last Friday, I was cycling home down a (20 mph limit, speed bumps, pinch points for pedestrians to cross) side road and doing pretty close to 20mph. I heard a car behind me revving as if it was going to overtake - just as I was coming up to a pinch point. So I moved out towards the centre of the road slightly to try and dissuade him as I knew there wasn't the space for him to overtake. But he came past anyway - apparently suddenly realising there was a pinch point so swinging left into me and forcing me to brake sharply and veer off into the gutter to avoid being knocked off, wing mirror skimming very close to my arm. I banged on the side of his car as he went past but he appeared not to notice.

    Luckily for him (and me, I guess, as I was pretty fired up :roll: ) I wasn't able to catch him up to have a less grown up discussion about it.

    It wasn't even as if he hadn't seen me - he clearly had as he had to pull out to overtake me and he was only level with me when he swung back into me - it wasn't even as if he had completely misjudged the length of his car.

    Unfortunately, I'm not sure what you can do about it (ride on the pavement? :P ) other than try and give yourself an escape route when you see something like this starting to happen. Perhaps, with hindsight, I should have done something different but I'm not sure what I could have done other than pulled over to let him past.

    Welcome to the board :?
    Never be tempted to race against a Barclays Cycle Hire bike. If you do, there are only two outcomes. Of these, by far the better is that you now have the scalp of a Boris Bike.
  • Onan
    Onan Posts: 321
    Lucky escape.

    I don't see why there need be a collision for the police to investigate. If you report somebody for dangerous driving, there shouldn't have to be.
    Drink poison. Wrestle snakes.
  • Coriander
    Coriander Posts: 1,326
    I sympathise, but realistically the police won't do anything.

    When a bus driver wouldn't let me off the Elephant and Castle roundabout and then refused to even acknowledge me when I tried to remonstrate with him, I made a note of his route number, the bus number (each bus has an ID number which is shorter than the registration number) and the time before ringing the operating company to tell them what had happened.

    They were very supportive and took my complaint seriously, though they do warn you that they won't tell you what discipline action they will take after they have spoken to the driver.
  • snooks
    snooks Posts: 1,521
    I felt that a lorry driver didn't give me enough room as they overtook, maybe I'm greedy wanting more than 1 foot clearance from a lorry overtaking me at 30mph...TWICE

    I wrote a letter to their company....What did I get back?

    A big fat nutin'

    Guess as long as we're still cycling, they think they are a good driver....Lucky us! :evil:
    FCN:5, 8 & 9
    If I'm not riding I'm shooting
    THE Game
    Watch out for HGVs
  • ride_whenever
    ride_whenever Posts: 13,279
    buses have an emergency engine stop by the door...

    just saying
  • Wallace1492
    Wallace1492 Posts: 3,707
    Not so good, but I too had an incident where a car went through red lights at about 70 mph in a 30 zone and was only about a foot in front of me, I was croosing the junction on a green, and was not as if it had just changed. Reported to Police who said they could do nothing as was my word against his. I did mention if he had swiped at me with a knife and just missed would they still do nothing, even though no other witnesses, they said it was not the same, I said that yes, if car hit me i was dead, but with a knife wound i might survive. They took details but heard nothing.

    Police will only act if multiple witnesses and even then will just be a word with the driver. Not so good when it is a near death experience!!
    "Encyclopaedia is a fetish for very small bicycles"
  • You've done the right thing contacting TfL. You should also contact the bus operator asap with details of the route, time and the bus number and / or reg number if you have them. They'll be able to review the CCTV.

    Unfortunately, the police rarely seem bothered about road incidents unless there is a collision - this is perhaps understandable given resources and the low value put on lifes ended on the road (compare the resources put into gbh and knife crime which injure and fatally injure far less than motorists. Sadly, these near misses are exactly the sort of precursor information that the police should be gathering. The fact that you were not hit was a matter of luck. If the driver continues to drive the way he did without correction then sooner rather than later he will hit somebody. Weren't we all told as kids that prevention is better than cure

    Anyway, sorry for your distress. Hope it doesn't put you off. 8)
    Pain is only weakness leaving the body
  • Hi All,

    Thank you so much for your replies, messages of support and sympathy -
    Unfortunately I did not take IDs of witnesses since I was too busy chasing the driver who drove away. Anyway it seems that this should be on camera - I know 393 buses have loads of cams filming every angle - might be proven useful for a change.

    I am really puzzled by the fact that reaction (often too late) tends to take over prevention -

    I am determined to take this further. I will keep you informed on outcomes.

    Ok time to cycle home now!

  • redvee
    redvee Posts: 11,922
    The First buses in Brizzle have 16 cameras plus another, allegedly. The additional one might be a rumour spread by the bosses to keep the drivers on their toes.
    I've added a signature to prove it is still possible.
  • always_tyred
    always_tyred Posts: 4,965
    You might be suprised by the bus company's response, especially if there is video. If the aim of your complaint is to improve the guy's driving, then there is some optimism.

    I agree with others that the driver's reactions are a common defensive approach. Its not shared by all bus drivers. I had a similar incident, but FAR FAR less severe a few weeks ago, and I ended up having a reasonable chat with the driver about it. Fair play to the guy, he explained how he saw it and acknowledged that (as he did) overtaking me assuming that someone coming the other way would pull over and stop (which they did) was only going to be okay most of the time.

    Forget about the police. Not worth their time, but you have created a statistic!!
  • I think (hope!) TFL will take these sort of reports seriously. I was on a bus half a year ago, and the bus driver was drunk or high or something and drove into a cyclist. The driver couldn't even speak...

    I called TFL and filed a complaint and received a letter back from them sincerely thanking me for getting in touch with them. They said they couldn't disclose what happened but they took serious action...
    Kona Africabike 3 - 20kgs of love and steel
  • symo
    symo Posts: 1,743
    No if a member of the public reports an incident of dangerous/reckless driving then there is a breach of the traffic offences act (or something similar) and Police should have a duty to investigate.

    Take it higher. Address a letter to the chief constable/commander.
    we are the proud, the few, Descendents.

    Panama - finally putting a nail in the economic theory of the trickle down effect.

    I phoned TFL today - They told me it was passed on the bus Company (Arriva) for investigation -

    They also told me that they are not sure if CCTV would be relevant in that case (was it filemed in the right angle?)

    The complaint will be taken into the company's record -

    They also told me that the driver would be notified the complaint and his driving will be monitored.
    According to the Driver's past record - action will be taken -or not - obviously, they will not inform you about the details of the action taken, if any.

  • MrChuck
    MrChuck Posts: 1,663

    I phoned TFL today - They told me it was passed on the bus Company (Arriva) for investigation -

    They also told me that they are not sure if CCTV would be relevant in that case (was it filemed in the right angle?)

    The complaint will be taken into the company's record -

    They also told me that the driver would be notified the complaint and his driving will be monitored.
    According to the Driver's past record - action will be taken -or not - obviously, they will not inform you about the details of the action taken, if any.


    That's probably about the best you can do. It's unfortunate that the Skinhead is right and these things are normalised and just not taken as seriously as they should be, although I suppose you could argue that the police don't have the resources to look into everything.

    Still, not a bad outcome if it makes the driver think twice next time.
  • downfader
    downfader Posts: 3,686
    buses have an emergency engine stop by the door...

    just saying

    Never ever press that button, especially if its a moving vehicle! Its like slamming the brakes on and could seriously injure the passengers.