Near Miss Spectrum Overview
Until now, collisions have been the only motor vehicle - cyclist incident data that law enforcement, traffic planners and government road safety funding agencies had to understand the threats cyclists face on the roads. Unlike collisions, near-misses are orders of magnitude more frequent and, according to academic research, the top reason cyclists stop cycling and potential cyclists don't start. Collisions are the worst possible lagging indicator that all cycling safety measures have failed. Collisions represent severe trauma, injury and death. Preventing collisions should be the focus rather than exclusively focusing on the catastrophic failure of all cycling safety measures. Focusing on near-misses helps prevent collisions.
Now, cyclists can provide the most accurate picture of the risks they face by riding with a camera and submitting all of their near miss incident reports to our free Incident Management System (IMS). Cyclists' incident reports can be used to charge drivers for criminal near misses, send drivers non-punitive and educational 3 foot warning letters and generate near miss data for mapping all near miss incidents to prevent collisions!
Criminal Near Misses
Our groundbreaking work has resulted in our Near Miss Spectrum. We previously defined the concept of a criminal near miss which represents one end of the spectrum. You always know a criminal near miss when you see one, as documented by the first video compilation of our members’ criminal near miss incident videos below. Criminal near misses include assault, when the driver intentionally meant to threaten a cyclist with bodily injury, and reckless driving when the driver showed a disregard for cyclists' safety, such as endangering cyclists due to distracted driving.
We have also secured legal precedents charging drivers for assault that all cyclists can leverage if their local law enforcement refuses to cite a driver.
Criminal near misses should always be submitted to law enforcement to charge the driver, and to our IMS so cyclists can track, map, update and analyze all of their near miss incidents, search for repeat offenders, establish potential patterns of dangerous driver behavior, and generate near miss data to map dangerous locations - before collisions occur!
Three Foot Violations
In the middle of the spectrum is the hand signed 3 Foot Warning letter that we helped the California Highway Patrol (CHP) create when we were previously called 3FootCycling.com. On 10/5/15 the California Highway Patrol (CHP) Golden Gate Division issued their “Three Feet For Safety – CHP Focusing on Keeping Cyclists Safe” press release in which they praised our partnership.
“We have also partnered with 3footcycling.com, a nationwide advocacy group dedicated to informing the public about bicycle safety laws across the country. In partnership with 3footcycling.com, Golden Gate Division has developed warning letters that are sent to drivers seen violating the Three Foot Law and other bicycle-related laws. The letters are not punitive, but rather work to educate drivers about being safe around cyclists.”
We are proud of our partnership with CHP GGD, and our work with CHP's Research and Planning Department. You can view their press release on our About Us page.
When a cyclist calls the Castro Valley CHP, and tells them that a car came within 3 feet, i.e. they were “buzzed,” CHP will send the driver a hand signed copy of this letter which you can view below. Drivers take notice when law enforcement demonstrates they take cycling safety seriously by sending one of these hand signed letters! This is the best non-punitive and educational tool to change drivers’ behavior - before collisions occur! Cyclists also submit these 3 foot violation incidents to our IMS so they can identify repeat offenders, establish potential patterns of dangerous driver behavior, and generate near miss data to map dangerous locations.
"Pre" Near Misses
At the other end of the near miss spectrum we have defined “imminent” or “pre” near misses. Once again, you always know one when you see one so please watch our video compilation below. Cyclists do not submit these careless / negligent incidents to law enforcement but they do enter them into our IMS to generate near miss data to map dangerous locations for local traffic planners and engineers.
Please join our free membership and help make cycling safer in your community by entering all of your near miss incidents in our free Incident Management System.
You always know a criminal near miss when you see one!
We showed this video compilation during our presentation to the California Transportation Commission - Technical Advisory Committee.
You can read our post for more information.
Be sure to view this in full screen!
This is the hand signed 3 Foot Warning letter
You always know a "pre" or "imminent" near miss when you see one!
Our members do not report these "pre" or imminent near misses to law enforcement. They do enter them into our free Incident
Management System so we can generate near miss data to identify potentially dangerous areas for traffic planners to consider road safety improvements.
Be sure to view this in full screen!