Road Safety News

Near misses are barrier to more cycling

Friday 17th July 2015

A new study suggests that UK cyclists experience ‘very high’ rates of non-injury incidents or near misses, by comparison with any reported injury rates, and this is leading to a fear of injury which in itself is a barrier to cycling.

The study, by researchers from the University of Westminster, found that the most frightening incidents involve moving motor vehicles, particularly larger vehicles, and that ‘problematic passing manoeuvres are especially frequent and frightening’. Higher near miss rates are experienced in the morning peak and by slower cyclists.

The researchers set out to investigate the occurrence of non-injury incidents among cyclists, in order to generate a rate that can be compared with injury rates. They also analysed factors affecting incident rates, and the impact of these incidents on cyclists.

They concluded that ‘frightening or annoying non-injury incidents’, unlike slight injuries, are an everyday experience for cyclists. For regular cyclists ‘very scary’ incidents are on average a weekly experience, with deliberate aggression experienced monthly. Per mile, non-injury incidents were more frequent for people making shorter and slower trips.

People aged over 55 years were at lower risk, as were those cycling at the weekend and outside the morning peak. Unsurprisingly, incidents involving motor vehicles, especially larger vehicles, were more frightening than those that did not.

The report concludes: “Near miss and other non-injury incidents are widespread in the UK and may have a substantial impact on cycling experience and uptake.”



Comment on this story
Report a reader comment

What's your view - comment on this story:

I confirm that I have read and accept the moderation policy and house rules relating to comments posted on this website.
Your comment:
Your name and location:
Your email:

No it's not Rod, it's about cyclists or cyclist charities exercising their right and power to complain and being listened to by the right people all of whom would support them in their endeavours to become King of the Highway. Unfortunately Rod when it comes to road rage there is plenty of it out there and it cannot be dismissed so easily. It's not just cyclists that are the brunt of it, we recently had a stabbing occur and a 79 year old man dead due to a minor bump.

As regards speed or lack of it the article itself does state that circumstances of frightening or annoying non injury incidents usually happen at peak traffic times and occur to SLOWER CYCLISTS.

You are right it's not about cyclists v motorcyclists but the motorcyclist once again is being disregarded, sidelined as a result of cycle training advice to make more use of the centre of the road in order to exercise greater control (of) traffic. That alone will aggravate many other road users and create aggression towards some cyclists and from time to time road rage.

I have no doubt that given time there will be a greater acceptance of cyclists on the road as a resignation dawns upon the other driving population to an understanding that they are impotent to stem the tide of cyclists power.
Bob Craven Lancs. Space is Safe Campaigner.

Agree (1) | Disagree (4)


This is not about cyclists vs motorcyclists. Its about cycling in an urban environment and the closeness of passes.

Anyone cycling at 15mph in an urban environment could hardly be called an obstruction when the average speed for motor vehicles at peak times is usually no greater than that. When I cycle in an urban environment I am often "held up" by cars that are so numerous that they form complete blocks at certain junctions. This does not induce any "roadrage" at the idea of me being held up.

Can you please stop trying to imply that "roadrage" is somehow "induced" by members of the public using the roads (albeit on cycles) in a completely compliant manner. The factor "inducing" such "roadrage" is the inherent prejudicial and intolerant attitude of the person raging.
Rod King, 20's Plenty for Us

Agree (4) | Disagree (3)

No Rod
Cyclists are actually being recommended to take the position that a motorcyclist should take. However, that does mean that what was a safe position for motorcyclists is now no longer available to them as all such spaces are taken up with cyclists.

Furthermore a motorcyclist can and does keep up with traffic whether its 20 mph or 30 mph and thus does not restrict the even flow of normal traffic. Thus it is hardly ever overtaken as there would be no need to do so. It's not causing any inconvenience to others. A cyclist however in the middle of the carriageway travelling at a speed slower than the traffic around it, or basically behind it is causing an unnecessary obstruction and like the farm tractor or other slow moving vehicle should appreciate the danger of such an obstruction and if making a queue of following traffic should move over or stop and allow the normal flow of traffic to continue unhindered. As per the Highway Code.

Otherwise the cyclist is only going to antagonise other drivers into what may possibly be road rage situations.
Bob Craven Lancs...Space is Safe Campaigner

Agree (6) | Disagree (1)


Cyclists "look after their own safety" by riding at least a metre from the kerb. This usually ensures that drivers do not try and "squeeze" between the cyclist and the oncoming vehicle. In fact its probably the same position that most motorcyclists would take.
Rod King, 20's Plenty for Us

Agree (9) | Disagree (6)

A fascinating study that confirms our idea that the surprise is the fundamental currency of road safety. We have long known that every surprise represents the seed of an accident that would have happened if the circumstances were a bit different so it is worrying to see how many surprising events are happening to cyclists.
Duncan MacKillop. No surprise - No accident.

Agree (6) | Disagree (1)

Looks like we are talking here about rush hour traffic in London with about 25% of traffic now being cyclists. That was according to a report that I read last week. Rush hour is the busiest time on our roads with a lot of pressure on all that drive and ride in large conurbations. Whilst not defending any bad or illegal driving or cycling it's reasonable to presume that most incidents and complaints and apparent aggression is towards all road users and not just cyclists at those times.

From my own observations when a cyclist was overtaken whilst on a cycle lane, with no giving of more space there were fewer complaints about close passing but now with increased numbers the cyclists who are instructed, even recommended, to ride all over the tarmac the complaints are coming in.

As a motorcyclists for many decades I have been the figure of displeasure by other road users and frequently told that it was my fault and that I should look after my own safety. Perhaps cyclists should do the same.
Bob Craven Lancs........Space is Safe Campaigner

Agree (10) | Disagree (5)