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

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."

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.

38 comments

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GoingRoundInCycles [133 posts] 3 years ago
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Quote:

Would the police do anything if you reported every motorist that ‘abuses’ you whilst cycling on the road… I doubt it."

If these allegations are true then the perpetrator went way beyond verbal abuse into the territory of assault and threatening behaviour in the presence of a minor.

Yes, I personally believe that the police would take action against a motorist who allegedly threatened, spat on and assaulted a cyclist, especially if that cyclist was transporting a no doubt terrified child in a child seat at the time.

But I am willing to be proved wrong.

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TheOldCog [113 posts] 3 years ago
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Hmm - South Wales Police not interested when a van driver did worse to me, was it because I was on a bike?

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mrmo [2094 posts] 3 years ago
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I know a few people who have had bottles and cans thrown at them, police record it and that is the last they ever heard of it.

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jimmyd [114 posts] 3 years ago
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Seems to be one rule for some and another for other people!

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georgee [180 posts] 3 years ago
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The police called me up for harrassment for posting the details of K9 kapers up on bike radar after I was driven at and then chased around Kingston upon Thames with 2 tons of metal by them.

So no, the police wouldn't give a toss.

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Guyz2010 [304 posts] 3 years ago
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Deserves what he gets....again another pillock cyclist giving the honest ones (me) a bad name.
What he should have done was engaged his brain instead of his core!  8

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Initialised [324 posts] 3 years ago
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Maybe if we reported every act of dangerous driving, aggression and abuse from motorist to cyclist with video evidence, a VRM, and GPS track showing exact time and location of the incident then follow up through the Police Complaints Commission, followed by legal action and national press en-mass when nothing has been done instead of brushing it off and not bothering to report it or chase it up after the fact and just moaning on YouTube, web forums and googlemaps extensions then something might get done.

How about a wide campaign for a month in which as many cyclists as possible report every single bit of motorised abuse, with time location and VRM? At the same time get Halfords to sponsor a national bike awareness campaign by renting billboards, bus and bus stop space. I nominate November.

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mrmo [2094 posts] 3 years ago
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http://road.cc/content/news/27275-cycling-barrister-captures-death-threat-video…-insufficient-evidence-say-met-cps

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

Consider the police action in the two cases.

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Peowpeowpeowlasers [522 posts] 3 years ago
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mrmo wrote:

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

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?

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Stumps [3496 posts] 3 years ago
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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.

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GoingRoundInCycles [133 posts] 3 years ago
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mrmo wrote:

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

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.

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GoingRoundInCycles [133 posts] 3 years ago
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GoingRoundInCycles]
http://road.cc/content/news/27275-cycling-barrister-captures-death-threa...…-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.

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Ush [990 posts] 3 years ago
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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!

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vbvb [620 posts] 3 years ago
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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?

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Dr.Galactus [18 posts] 3 years ago
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I'd advise against naming an event 'Pedalpril', especially one that may involve lycra.

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JeevesBath [195 posts] 3 years ago
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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...

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a.jumper [850 posts] 3 years ago
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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.

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Shades [344 posts] 3 years ago
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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-happe...

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

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mrmo [2094 posts] 3 years ago
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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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Shades [344 posts] 3 years ago
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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.

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Stumps [3496 posts] 3 years ago
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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.

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nostromo [55 posts] 3 years ago
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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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bendertherobot [1457 posts] 3 years ago
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I assume the car driver will be receiving a fixed penalty notice for stopping in the ASL given their admission?

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mrmo [2094 posts] 3 years ago
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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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GoingRoundInCycles [133 posts] 3 years ago
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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.

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northstar [1107 posts] 3 years ago
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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.

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bendertherobot [1457 posts] 3 years ago
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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.

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Stumps [3496 posts] 3 years ago
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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.

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Joselito [160 posts] 3 years ago
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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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Paul_C [512 posts] 3 years ago
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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)."

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