Police appeal leads to arrest of aggressive cyclist who abused driver

Arrest follows appeal by Bath Police; but would abuse of cyclists get similar response?

by Simon_MacMichael   January 22, 2014  

Police car flashing lights (CC licensed by Lee Haywood)

Avon & Somerset Constabulary have arrested a 44-year-old man on suspicion of violence against a person and common assault in relation to an incident that happened before Christmas in which a cyclist is alleged to have abused and spat at a motorist.

Police issued an appeal last month following the incident close to Sainsbury’s on Pines Way on 3 December, which involved a couple travelling in their car with their 11-year-old grandson.

The couple admitted that their vehicle encroached on an Advanced Stop Line reserved for cyclists, but said that this provoked an aggressive response from the cyclist.

The Bath Chronicle, which says a number of names of suspects were provided after it published the police appeal last month, reports that the woman in the car claimed that the bike rider made rude gestures, spat at the car, and even leant inside to pull off the male driver’s glasses, throwing them back in the car.

She said: “Once he started his ranting, there was no stopping him. This continued from the junction with the Lower Bristol Road, into the local car lane leading out of Bath right up to the traffic lights at the junction with Brougham Hayes, when we turned into Brougham Hayes and the cyclist continued on the Lower Bristol Road out of the city.

“There is no doubt that many other motorists would have witnessed what went on and were equally terrified by the bullying tactics of this offensive cyclist.

“On each occasion the drivers tried to speak to the cyclist, but he was not prepared to hear what was to be said and just continued with his vociferous ranting and intimidation.”

Another motorist said that several weeks earlier he had suffered a similar experience in which a cyclist matching the description of the one sought in connection with the incident in December followed him, “ranting and raving.”

While there is no excuse for aggressive behaviour towards any road user the police response to this case has raised eyebrows amongst some in the cycling community; as the road.cc user who sent us this link remarked: "Would the police do anything if you reported every motorist that ‘abuses’ you whilst cycling on the road… I doubt it."

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mrmo wrote:
[url]http://road.cc/content/news/27275-cycling-barrister-captures-death-threat-video…-insufficient-evidence-say-met-cps[/url]

In my mind this is actually a decent parallel to the above.

Consider the police action in the two cases.

Didn't that result in twat-features going to prison?

posted by Peowpeowpeowlasers [37 posts]
22nd January 2014 - 23:59

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mrmo - if the Police seek advice from the CPS it is them alone who make the decision to nfa a suspect, not the Police otherwise why go to the CPS in the first place ?

If there is insufficient evidence the Police can nfa a suspect themselves and dont need the CPS to do it. In the case of the lawyer if the Police went to the CPS it was to get a charge but the CPS obviously thought otherwise.

There appeared to be obvious problems with some of the Police actions from the start which are basically not good enough but thats besides the point when it came to the decision to charge.

If you must break the law, do it to seize power: in all other cases observe it. Gaius Julius Caesar.

stumps's picture

posted by stumps [2452 posts]
23rd January 2014 - 0:05

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mrmo wrote:
[url]http://road.cc/content/news/27275-cycling-barrister-captures-death-threat-video…-insufficient-evidence-say-met-cps[/url]

In my mind this is actually a decent parallel to the above.

Consider the police action in the two cases.

How does that even compare? Two road users, both behaving like idiots, more concerned with arguing with each other rather than paying attention to what is happening on the road, swing handbags at each other and one says "yeah mate, I will kill you" with all the menace of a wet Wednesday at Wimbledon.

If the courts locked up everyone who has ever said "I am going to kill you!" when they have lost their temper, there'd be no one left to run the prisons.

Never in a hurry on a bicycle.

posted by GoingRoundInCycles [134 posts]
23rd January 2014 - 1:28

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GoingRoundInCycles wrote:
mrmo wrote:
[url]http://road.cc/content/news/27275-cycling-barrister-captures-death-threat-video…-insufficient-evidence-say-met-cps[/url]

In my mind this is actually a decent parallel to the above.

Consider the police action in the two cases.

How does that even compare? Two road users, both behaving like idiots, more concerned with arguing with each other rather than paying attention to what is happening on the road, swinging handbags at each other and one says "yeah mate, I will kill you" with all the menace of a wet Wednesday at Wimbledon.

If the courts locked up everyone who has ever said "I am going to kill you!" when they had lost their temper, there'd be no one left to run the prisons.

Never in a hurry on a bicycle.

posted by GoingRoundInCycles [134 posts]
23rd January 2014 - 1:30

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Thank the Lord.

Now all the motorists who were no doubt absolutely terrified and cowered inside can venture out now that The Menace of the Roads has been taken out by the brave G-Men on the foot of tips by the trusty Citizens' Road Red Guard Pioneer Hotline.

But that's not all: now motorists will have more respect for us real cyclists!

Hooray!

posted by Ush [360 posts]
23rd January 2014 - 2:01

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Initialised wrote:
a national bike awareness campaign... I nominate November.
You have to have a pun like the Movember thing. You could have Pedalpril or Cycletember? Or Biketober?

posted by vbvb [169 posts]
23rd January 2014 - 2:27

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I'd advise against naming an event 'Pedalpril', especially one that may involve lycra.

posted by Dr.Galactus [10 posts]
23rd January 2014 - 7:33

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If people think the attitude of our Police is poor, just read this article from the US http://blogs.bicycling.com/blogs/roadrights/2014/01/17/what-really-happe...

posted by JeevesBath [69 posts]
23rd January 2014 - 8:58

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No, the same doesn't happen for cyclists if abused by motorists in Somerset. I know from bitter experience. I didn't have a child on the bike but otherwise my attack was pretty similar although I'd not broken highway law by jumping a red light like the driver in this story.

posted by a.jumper [657 posts]
23rd January 2014 - 9:13

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JeevesBath wrote:
If people think the attitude of our Police is poor, just read this article from the US http://blogs.bicycling.com/blogs/roadrights/2014/01/17/what-really-happened-on-raccoon-mountain/

Is this just classic minority group (ie cyclists) discrimination? Police go through the motions and then turn it back on the accuser.

Shades

posted by Shades [121 posts]
23rd January 2014 - 9:50

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stumps, whether it is the Police, CPS, courts or all is almost irrelevant, as far as most cyclists are concerned the legal system does not work. It is that simple.

Brother in Law was hit by a drink driver and lost a leg, (he was dragged down the road with his leg trapped in the wheel arch). The police screwed up the blood tests so no prosecution for drink driving was possible, and no one bothered prosecuting for anything else. Subsequently transpired the driver had already served two bans for drink driving and has since received another ban.

Yes there are well meaning police officers in the same way that there are corrupt police officers. Police are only people after-all. But taken as a whole, the system simply is not working, driving is seen as a right, which is wrong.

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posted by mrmo [868 posts]
23rd January 2014 - 9:54

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This guy definitely 'crossed the line' but the zeal with which the police have investigated it seems at odds with cyclists experiences listed above. Perhaps a bit media driven and the police feel under pressure to do something? I also think there are probably 2 sides to this story, and we've only heard the motorist's side. There's also a passenger who can back up his story (true or false). Must be some good innocent 'pranks' you can play with motorists to make a point rather than just 'going nuts'? Noting that if any motorist 'red mist' descends it might be to your detriment.

Shades

posted by Shades [121 posts]
23rd January 2014 - 10:14

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A press release is hardly what you would call zeal.

mrmo - it is relevant because your using the article to criticise the Police BUT the article you used was the fault of the CPS not the Police.

If you must break the law, do it to seize power: in all other cases observe it. Gaius Julius Caesar.

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posted by stumps [2452 posts]
23rd January 2014 - 10:36

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The police and the courts will pursue motorists who splash mums and kids on the school run though ....

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2543804/Motorist-facing-court-dr...

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posted by nostromo [65 posts]
23rd January 2014 - 10:59

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I assume the car driver will be receiving a fixed penalty notice for stopping in the ASL given their admission?

posted by bendertherobot [232 posts]
23rd January 2014 - 11:09

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Stumps, as far as the end user, the man in the street, there really is no distinction between the Police, the CPS, the Courts, they are the same thing they are the law.

Whether the police won't investigate, the CPS decides not to is irrelevant.

Your a police officer? and you may see it differently as you are involved and understand the whole system to a far greater extent. To the general public the CPS are invisible. You see the Police and you see the courts.

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posted by mrmo [868 posts]
23rd January 2014 - 11:09

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On the other hand, the public would not be very happy with the CPS wasting tax payers money bringing every complaint to court, even when the lack of hard evidence means that there is virtually no chance of obtaining a conviction. Obviously this is very frustrating for the alleged victims but I don't really see an alternative.

In this case, there would appear to be several other witnesses, a reasonably clear photograph of the alleged offender, possibly DNA evidence obtained from the saliva, fingerprints from the glasses allegedly removed and thrown into the car, the testimony of a probably very frightened 11 year old boy who allegedly witnessed his grandparents being attacked .... and the suggestion in the original article that this may not be the first time that the man under arrest had behaved like such a maniacal knob end to other road users, allegedly.

If the evidence is strong, it will go to court as it should do.

Never in a hurry on a bicycle.

posted by GoingRoundInCycles [134 posts]
23rd January 2014 - 11:30

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bendertherobot wrote:
I assume the car driver will be receiving a fixed penalty notice for stopping in the ASL given their admission?

Not a chance, didn't everyone know "motorists" can do no wrong.

posted by northstar [946 posts]
23rd January 2014 - 11:48

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Presumably, if this is a first offence, the Police will issue a caution. Just as they did to the bloke on the singletrack thread who grabbed a cyclists bars and threatened to shove him off his bike.

posted by bendertherobot [232 posts]
23rd January 2014 - 11:50

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mrmo wrote:
Stumps, as far as the end user, the man in the street, there really is no distinction between the Police, the CPS, the Courts, they are the same thing they are the law.

Whether the police won't investigate, the CPS decides not to is irrelevant.

Your a police officer? and you may see it differently as you are involved and understand the whole system to a far greater extent. To the general public the CPS are invisible. You see the Police and you see the courts.

Your right mate, i do see it differently because we feel the brunt of the "invisible CPS" when we have to tell the public the bad news.

In the end i'm in no way saying we are perfect, far from it, but if the public new a quarter of what happens then they may change their view.

By the way i'm not having a pop at yourself, your entitled to your views and you always give a good balanced arguement on various subjects.

If you must break the law, do it to seize power: in all other cases observe it. Gaius Julius Caesar.

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posted by stumps [2452 posts]
23rd January 2014 - 11:59

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Compare and contrast...
One of the Manchester Cycling Community was biking home recently,
(apols for an errors in this abridged version, if you are reading this, General...)
it's chucking it down with rain, loads of standing water by kerb so he's taking the lane but is getting repeatedly tailgated and beeped by the driver of a white Audi.
Eventually, the bloke deliberately drives him into the kerb and verbally berates him topping off with calling the cyclist a 'Paki'.
Gets home and is persuaded by his girlfriend to report it.
Police are very keen to report it, but they are not arsed about the aggressive and dangerous driving but the racial element.
Share the Road indeed, GMP.

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posted by Joselito [119 posts]
23rd January 2014 - 12:00

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bendertherobot wrote:
I assume the car driver will be receiving a fixed penalty notice for stopping in the ASL given their admission?

depends what state the light was in when he crossed into it.

http://content.met.police.uk/Article/Advanced-Stop-Lines/1400018009433/1...

"Motorists

Do not enter the ASL box when the light is red – this space is reserved for the safety of cyclists.

Crossing the first or second ASL line when the light is red makes you liable for a £100 fixed penalty, three points on your licence, and endangers vulnerable road users.

If the traffic light changes from green to amber and you cannot safely stop before the first stop line, you may cross the line but must stop before the second stop line (Highway Code rule 178)."

posted by Paul_C [116 posts]
23rd January 2014 - 12:28

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stumps wrote:

Your right mate, i do see it differently because we feel the brunt of the "invisible CPS" when we have to tell the public the bad news.

apparently there's a matrix of points for various elements of an incident. The CPS use this to decide whether to prosecute or not. The incident has to have more than so many points before they'll procede.

posted by Paul_C [116 posts]
23rd January 2014 - 12:33

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Not a single rant above, just a good discussion.
Sadly CPS rarely take action for road related incidents, including road related assaults and damage, unless there are witnesses other than those directly involved.
Annoying, unjust even, but it prevents malicious allegations going anywhere.

posted by Owen Rogers [31 posts]
23rd January 2014 - 12:35

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I don't know, maybe the answer is for the CPS/Police to publish guidelines. If I see bad (dangerous) driving I report it to the police, I don't expect anything to happen I just hope it is on file so that if the driver actually has an accident it acts as some kind of marker that it wasn't a one off but the driver has previous.

But am I wasting my time?

We hear that the CPS won't proccede without evidence, but what do they want? It seems video isn't enough? Do they need a dozen witnesses, do the witnesses need to be independent etc.

Then you move on to the Courts, and the juries, how do you get the system to properly punish drivers, or are the sentences about right.

I heard this week that no prosecutions will be brought against the kent? bridge/fog crash last year. First thought dangerous drivers lock them up, second thought the drivers are being given further education. Which is the right approach? Surely when you are given a licence you know the rules, but everyone knows in the real world it doesn't work like that. After the recent bike related police excercises one thing that emerged is how many drivers don't know the law. So is most of the solution simply education rather than punishment????

would the money spent on policing be better spent on prosecuting the media for click baiting? for hunting down "hate" speak on twitter???

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posted by mrmo [868 posts]
23rd January 2014 - 12:47

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Doesn't sound as though the cyclist in this case was particularly endangered, but I think for irate incidents between drivers and cyclists in general there is an inherent imbalance even without the help (or lack of) of the legal system. Cyclists have often just had a near death experience and are at the mercy of the adrenalin feeding their response. The driver on the other hand is in a nice warm cosy shell and has had no threat to their physical wellbeing and would be expected on average to be calmer.
e.g.
Cyclist: "You effing idiotic #*£~~*!!!! you could have killed me!"
Driver: "Sorry mate I didn't see you"

posted by Actium [37 posts]
23rd January 2014 - 12:49

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Joselito wrote:
Compare and contrast...
One of the Manchester Cycling Community was biking home recently,
(apols for an errors in this abridged version, if you are reading this, General...)
it's chucking it down with rain, loads of standing water by kerb so he's taking the lane but is getting repeatedly tailgated and beeped by the driver of a white Audi.
Eventually, the bloke deliberately drives him into the kerb and verbally berates him topping off with calling the cyclist a 'Paki'.
Gets home and is persuaded by his girlfriend to report it.
Police are very keen to report it, but they are not arsed about the aggressive and dangerous driving but the racial element.
Share the Road indeed, GMP.

GMP really don't give a fuck about cyclists, the copper that drove his van into me last week didn't even bother apologising and seemed to be annoyed with me instead because he didn't get to pull someone over.

Operation Grimaldi in full effect.

posted by farrell [1037 posts]
23rd January 2014 - 12:55

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Nob driver meets nob cyclist, there is only one outcome... A good nobbing

posted by Leodis [125 posts]
23rd January 2014 - 14:24

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My god if I/we reported every abusive driver the police would have to employ a lot more officers.Seeing as they are cutting the number of police that would never work.A bit like reporting abuse doesn't work for cyclists now

big mick

posted by big mick [169 posts]
24th January 2014 - 20:46

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nostromo wrote:
The police and the courts will pursue motorists who splash mums and kids on the school run though ....

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2543804/Motorist-facing-court-driving-puddle-drenching-group-primary-school-children-parents.html

I thoroughly approve of that one! Very tired of having to time a run past such puddles before a driver gets the chance to swerve into it for a 'laugh'.

Such a prosecution has happened before - when a couple recorded footage of themselves doing it deliberately and then put it on youtube. Both obnoxious and stupid!

posted by FluffyKittenofT... [516 posts]
26th January 2014 - 15:36

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