That though is very hard to accept. Back in 2012 the Surrey Police charged this HGV driver with dangerous driving and the CPS then accepted a plea to careless driving (a decision keeping the case away from a jury and with which I have greater sympathy now than I did at the time).
Contrast the Metropolitan Police who declined to take any action in respect of this HGV:
So why a close pass and not a case where I have actually been injured? I have exchanged details with drivers on 4 occasions as a consequence of damage to myself or my bike. Each involved momentary inattention at junctions rather than deliberate bad driving. The two drivers inside the Met Police area suffered no consequences and the two outside (one Surrey, one Thames Valley) were both sent on courses. I think the driving in all 4 cases could fairly be categorised as careless driving and none, in my view, justified a private prosecution.
Far more serious was the close overtake gone wrong during a club run just months before my February 2015 incident. An elderly driver collided with the front offside rider in my group and 4 riders went down with the driver failing to stop. He was dealt with, albeit rather leniently, by Thames Valley Police and we were told lost his licence permanently on medical grounds. It is a reminder if any is needed that close overtakes do not all end happily.
Further relevant background is that I had just failed to make any headway at all in relation to the disgraceful decision of the Metropolitan Police not to refer the case of Michael Mason to the CPS. Mr Mason had sustained fatal injuries when run down from behind on Regent Street and I was instructed on behalf of the family to invite the Met to reconsider. I got nowhere beyond a confused and then retracted announcement that they would consult the CPS..
Perhaps for practical reasons a prosecution actually involving injury might have been more promising in terms of likelihood of conviction than a 'near miss'. However I did wish to try to make the point that dangerous driving that did not result in a collision should not be ignored. Quite fortuitously I got the driver's address, something that is not likely to happen again in any near miss case.
This was not of course the first piece of dangerous driving I have encountered but nor was the driver (as he claimed at his trial) a 'scapegoat'. It goes without saying that had he not endangered me I would not have prosecuted him. The fact that similar overtakes are fairly common-place makes it more important that they are tackled. Progress is being made with the Transport Select Committee just reporting that:
I have no regrets over prosecuting a case which (to my mind) involved a classic near miss from a close pass at manifestly excessive speed. In the right circumstances I would encourage another attempt.
The next post on this subject will look at my factual evidence, how strong it was and how it might have been stronger.