One less idiot driver, I hope

by abudhabiChris   June 25, 2010  

It has taken a while but I'm pleased to report a small legal success for one cyclist (me).

Nearly two years ago while on a visit back to London I was cycling back from Clapham Junction when I was cut up by a bus. Classic thing - coming up to a bus stop and rather than wait behind for two seconds he comes around but doesn't get past, sandwiching me between bus and kerb. Thanks god there were no railings or I'd have been in real trouble.

I can't do anything until he moves but I give chase and catch him at the next stop. At this point all I wanted was a sorry, but I get the thousand yard stare and he won't even acknowledge me. So I stand in front of him and refuse to move until he opens his window. He won't do it but he gets unhappy and starts to kangaroo hop the bus forward until eventually it hits me and the bike, pushing the bike over. At this point I realise he's gone beyond rational behaviour and try to drag the bike to the side, and as I do that he moves forward, running over my wheel.

Now I'm really annoyed, and amazingly the wheel still functions (it was a WTB SpeedDisc, in case you were wondering) so I catch him again. This time I stay at the side but I point to the wheel and get out my phone to say I'm calling the police as there has been a traffic accident. He still won't acknowledge me and drives off again, at which point I give up and write down his number.

I reported it to the police and the bus company. The company were excellent. They immediately reviewed the driver logs and the on-board CCTV which they said clearly showed the incident. He was disciplined - they told me he and the union rep denied everything until they saw the footage at which point he admitted it. The company paid for a new wheel of course.

I thought the police couldn't be bothered, although I told them there was CCTV footage. But months later they wrote to say they had followed it up and would be proceeding against him. It took ages to appear in court, and had to be rescheduled once from last October to this week.

I had no idea buses had so many external cameras. According to the CPS there were 12 cameras around the bus and they clearly show all the incidents, and he had a copy of the evidence. I would have thought he'd just plead guilty but maybe he thought I wouldn't bother flying back from Abu Dhabi to give evidence - if so it was an epic fail. He didn't even show up in court - I assume he knew he would be done and had just tried to put it off as long as possible.

Bottom line... Proven on all three counts - failure to drive with due care and attention, failure to stop at an accident and failure to report an accident. He'll be summonsed for sentencing, which may be disqualification depending on previous driving record. The world would be a safer place if the only vehicle he's in is a bus, as a passenger. They'll let me know the outcome in a couple of weeks apparently.

11 user comments

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Glad you weren't hurt and that you ended up with both compensation and a result on the legal front.

Amid all the comments about hit-and-run, aggression/road rage and police and corporate disinterest (yes I mean you, Arriva!) it's good to know that due process is done and being seen to be done.

Not so reassuring to see how both the culprit and the union rep are happy to lie about a potentially life-threatening incident. I hope they are never on the receiving end of such treatment.

Simon E's picture

posted by Simon E [2057 posts]
25th June 2010 - 12:44

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Go you! (What more to say?)

(To be fair, I'm *generally* very impressed by bus drivers - especially compared to 4x4 drivers, although that's hardly a tough yardstick ...)

timlennon's picture

posted by timlennon [229 posts]
25th June 2010 - 13:28

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Well done and glad you're not injured.
The guy and union rep disgust me with their behaviour to you. Thank god for CCTV.

I think its just 'some' drivers and 'some' cyclists that ruin it for others with their disturbing behaviour.

I like my bike but it needs a hidden 25cc motor Smile

Fish_n_Chips's picture

posted by Fish_n_Chips [326 posts]
25th June 2010 - 21:25

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Plain Face I can't believe no passengers saw it and called the police!!

posted by David French [49 posts]
26th June 2010 - 19:36

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Simon E wrote:

Not so reassuring to see how both the culprit and the union rep are happy to lie about a potentially life-threatening incident. I hope they are never on the receiving end of such treatment.

Hmm,can't agree there: I do so hope they are on the receiving end of such treatment.

What a first class idiot that bus driver must be - not only being primitive, selfish, dangerous, but also then lying about it, when he must know that there's a good chance it'll all be on camera. No, sorry, I hope some really horrible things happen to him. Starting with a lifelong driving ban.

posted by bikeylikey [173 posts]
29th June 2010 - 8:51

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bikeylikey wrote:
I do so hope they are on the receiving end of such treatment.

I suggest we treat others as we wish to be treated ourselves.

Apart from the temptation to wish for revenge, there is no benefit to anyone if the jerk suffers the same fate. Let's hope he has time to contemplate the error of his ways and seek enlightenment on two wheels aka "On yer bike".

I do agree that driving bans for those who kill or maim are far too short. A driving license is not a right and not a necessity (although if it's so important to you then you should take more care).

Simon E's picture

posted by Simon E [2057 posts]
29th June 2010 - 14:24

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good to hear.. i've had the same overtake/sandwich thing happen twice now near stanmore (where there's a dotted line cycle lane too) and when i challenged the driver at the stop i got the same 'i can't see' you response. he knew what had happened, he knew i was there as he had his indicator on to 'overtake'!

i'll follow up the next one now i know there are cameras on busses.

why do bus drivers think that when pulling out / in they have different rights to other road users?

(edit to say most bus drivers are very good, but it only takes one error like this to kill / injure. glad you weren't!)

posted by james-o [213 posts]
29th June 2010 - 15:01

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Simon E wrote:
bikeylikey wrote:
I do so hope they are on the receiving end of such treatment.

I suggest we treat others as we wish to be treated ourselves.

If you applied this to the bus driver, i.e. that he treats others as he wishes to be treated himself, then 'such treatment' as he dished out to Chris being given back to him would be fair and just, wouldn't it?

If you applied it to the justice system, then judges and mangistrates wouldn't hand out fines and prison sentences on the grounds that they wouldn't want to be treated like that themselves!

It's a matter of justice. My immediate reaction to someone using a gigantic two ton bus as a weapon to intimidate and threaten a defenceless human being, and then lie about it is, I admit, to wish him a disproportionate degree of damage back. As in wishing bike thieves should suffer the fate of being forced to ride an old bike stripped of tyres and saddle, and with a sharp spike instead of a seatpost, over rough ground, for the rest of their hopefully miserable lives. Possibly a little disproportionate to the crime. Maybe.

Having calmed down a bit, though, I still think he should be made to recognise what he's done and take responsiblity for it, which would necessarily involve something uncomfortable happening to him. He was obviously going to lie and cheat further in order to get off scott free, and might well have done if he hadn't been caught out by the cctv cameras.

By the way, well done Chris for pursuing him and making your case, and for staying non-violent yourself. You've done a service not just to yourself but to cyclists everywhere.

posted by bikeylikey [173 posts]
30th June 2010 - 6:23

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bikeylikey wrote:
Simon E wrote:
I suggest we treat others as we wish to be treated ourselves.

If you applied this to the bus driver, i.e. that he treats others as he wishes to be treated himself, then 'such treatment' as he dished out to Chris being given back to him would be fair and just, wouldn't it?

A timely comment from the Dalai Lama:

The only factor that can give protection from the destructive effects of anger and hatred is the practice of tolerance and patience.

here. Justice is not the same as revenge. Although I have an inbuilt desire for revenge it never brings about justice.

Simon E's picture

posted by Simon E [2057 posts]
1st July 2010 - 12:03

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Leave it to the police, judge and Karma.
Where Karma's test is how you respond to seeing the same person suffer-I have seen people suffer who have done wrong to me and others but still feel sorry for them and do not take pleasure seeing them struggle. That is the test of what is Karma. (And probability) Nerd

But just don't put yourself in the firing line -do it by the book-get a witness and take pics.
Don't get upset, go use your smart brain.

CTC membership has 3rd party insurance and legal cover help/advice.

Bus is not worth your life.

I like my bike but it needs a hidden 25cc motor Smile

Fish_n_Chips's picture

posted by Fish_n_Chips [326 posts]
1st July 2010 - 13:49

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bikeylikey wrote:
My immediate reaction to someone using a gigantic two ton bus as a weapon to intimidate and threaten a defenceless human being, and then lie about it is, I admit, to wish him a disproportionate degree of damage back.

Two tons is a light bus! Busses weigh about 7 tons (without passengers).

two wheels good; four wheels bad

posted by cat1commuter [1380 posts]
1st July 2010 - 14:14

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