Countess nearly hit by car 'dangerously' overtaking lorry while on charity bike ride in Scotland
A countess raising money on a charity bike ride in Scotland was nearly hit by a car that was "dangerously" overtaking a lorry.
Lady Bathurst, 58, is raising money by cycling from Land's End to John o' Groats for the National Foundation for Retired Service Animals (NFRSA).
During her fundraising ride on Tuesday she was cycling on B7076 near Crawford, in South Lanarkshire, when the incident happened around 650 miles into her journey.
The car was captured on GoPro cameras, being used by Lady Bathurst to document her ride, narrowly missing her while overtaking the lorry.
Lady Bathurst said: "It was one of those moments you never forget for all the wrong reasons. I was on the cycle lane and saw two cyclists coming the other way. There was no traffic, and they pointed the way they were going and said 'you're going the wrong way'.
"I laughed and returned the greeting, and at that moment a huge lorry appeared, the front draft of which made me wobble, but as is seen in the video, I didn't leave the cycle lane.
"I did not see it approaching due to its speed, and as I corrected the bike, which had gone towards the outer line, a red car overtaking the lorry, passed me with inches to spare at a phenomenal speed. It felt like a bullet.
"It happened without warning and had I been another two inches to the right, it would have hit me.
"Due to the lorry having pulled out slightly to pass the other cyclists, the red car passed a little more widely than perhaps it would have done normally, which is why it was so close. It was going so fast, that our back-up car had to brake sharply to allow the driver back in front of the lorry as it could also have hit that car too. The lorry also appeared to have to brake."
Lady Bathurst founded the NFRSA last year and aims to provide care and equipment for the former service animals. During her mammoth bike ride, she will be joined for different legs by actor and comedian Ben Miller, TV presenter and writer Nick Knowles, cricketer David Gower and celebrity Jackie Llewelyn Bowen.
The charity's Patron, Sarah, Duchess of York officially started the ride in Cornwall.
NFRSA said in a statement on Twitter: "It was such a happy day going over the border yesterday, but it nearly ended in disaster. Lady B was in the cycle lane, waving to fellow cyclists, just as a woman in a red car dangerously overtook a lorry, nearly hitting her, and causing the support car to swerve. Not a nice experience at all.
"Please motorists – be careful when overtaking on country roads. Whatever the wrongs or rights, Lady B is doing this ride, out of her comfort zone, for no other reason than raising funds and awareness for our retired service animals.
"She was wearing a tabard with reflective edges, and the day was bright and sunny. Cyclists from across the road waved and said hello, Lady B did the automatic thing anyone with good manners would do, which is to respond in kind.
"She did not see the car coming the other way simply because it was going so fast. One second it wasn't there, the next it was. Right. There.
"She was in the recommended cycle lane – it even had pictures of cycles in it for those who claimed it to be a hard shoulder. It was an unfortunate and frightening experience for her and therefore kindness is needed here, not armchair judges who have not taken on such a challenge before.”
Despite the near miss, Lady Bathurst said she was not deterred from completing the challenge.
She said: "It might have knocked my confidence, but I'm determined to carry on and complete my challenge. This isn't about me, it's about our retired service animals and their families, and it is for them I'm doing this.
"It was horrid and frightening for me, the car behind me, and no doubt for the lorry driver, but no one was hurt and so we crack on."
Lady Bathurst started her charity bike ride on September 13 and plans on finishing it on October 3. She has raised £11,920 so far and aims to increase that figure to £20,000.
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