Caravan firm sacks driver who was filmed overtaking cyclist with inches to spare (+ video)

Forest of Dean Caravans takes decisive action after video posted to YouTube

by Simon_MacMichael   March 10, 2014  

Caravan lorry close miss (YouTube user jthefishy)

A Gloucestershire company has sacked a lorry driver who was caught on camera last week overtaking a cyclist in Lancashire with just inches to spare in what some cyclists viewing the video interpreted as a “punishment pass.”

Forest of Dean Caravans confirmed to the website Caravan Times that it had terminated the employment of the driver following the incident on the A59 at Samlesbury in Lancashire last Wednesday morning.

The company’s transport manager, Mark Turley, told the website: "The driver is no longer an employee of ours after talking to him. It was a stupid piece of driving and we've been let down by one of our employees.

"We're unhappy with what happened and shocked with what [the driver] did.

"It's never happened before and we've been transporting caravans for over forty years," he added.

"We've dealt with it, and hopefully now we can move on."

The video uploaded to YouTube, which shows the flatbed lorry that was towing a caravan passing the cyclist and cutting in on him, appears below; if you're at work, you may wish to turn the sound down - unsurprisingly, there's some swearing.

On Friday, the cyclist involved, who gave his name as Jon, told road.cc that he did not want the driver to lose his job, so long as the incident was an isolated one.

He told us: “I’d like to see him get points on his licence and severely reprimanded at work.

“I make mistakes, everyone makes mistakes, and we need tolerance on the roads.

“But I would like to see him get prosecuted, because it was dangerous and it was deliberate.”

Jon believed that the close overtaking manoeuvre, accompanied by the driver leaning on his horn, was prompted by the fact he wasn’t riding on a cycle path that ran alongside the road.

In the description of the YouTube video, he said: “There is an unsuitable cycle track at the side of the road which is a shared one with no rights of way and loads of lamp posts and signs in the middle of it! That is probably why he had a problem.”

The incident has been reported to both Lancashire and Gloucestershire police.

51 user comments

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In my mind this is simple.
If your driving falls below a standard where it becomes dangerous to other road users then you shouldn't be on the road - period! And don't give me any crap about loss of livelihood, that does NOT trump loss of life.
Well done to the company for terminating his employment. Not so well done plod for not taking this further. This sort of nutter should not be driving large lumps of metal in public places.

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posted by andybwhite [188 posts]
11th March 2014 - 10:44

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kie7077 wrote:
pants wrote:
I like what the cyclist is said, obviously the driver have issues but it's never good to see someone lose their livelihood, I'd much rather see a story where the driver apologizes and vows to be considerate with cyclists on the road in the future.

This was almost a death by dangerous driving and you don't think this should have cost him his job!!!!! Gross misconduct, instant dismissal, this kind of driving can not be condoned with a slap on the wrist.

I would expect to fired if I behaved this way, wouldn't you?

The driver can do his apologising when the police talk to him.

Him losing his job doesn't do much for public safety - he can still drive and we don't know he's learned anything from it. I'd rather the police and judiciary took control, made sure he really understood why he's getting this attention, then allowed him to be a productive member of society.

People like him are angry because they've been allowed to slip into bad habits that are only now being challenged. That is everybody's fault.

posted by nuclear coffee [149 posts]
11th March 2014 - 10:48

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Airzound wrote:
There is little reassurance from Forest of Dean Caravans to all cyclists that it won't happen again by another of their employees.

They fired the guy. Their other employees know that this behaviour gets them fired. WTF more do you want as reassurance?

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posted by Bez [371 posts]
11th March 2014 - 10:58

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Last night I was driving home and whilst on a roundabout, it was slow traffic. I checked my mirrors and indicated before moving across a lane but then received a horn blast from a car that was suddenly filling my mirror. Maybe it was my fault, maybe he came shooting up at speed, I don't know but I put my hand up politely to say sorry and carried on. As I continued home I noticed this guy was still driving right up my chuff and waving his fist in anger. I then took a 'strange' route which confirmed he was indeed following me. For 30 minutes this continued. I wasn't overly concerned but didn't want to take him to my house. If need be I would stop and confront him but eventually he turned off.

The roads are full of nutters, people with serious issues who should not be allowed to drive a ton of metal.

'It's the closest you can get to flying'
Robin Williams response when asked why he enjoyed riding so much

posted by Simmo72 [296 posts]
11th March 2014 - 11:58

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nuclear coffee wrote:

Him losing his job doesn't do much for public safety - he can still drive and we don't know he's learned anything from it. I'd rather the police and judiciary took control, made sure he really understood why he's getting this attention, then allowed him to be a productive member of society.

People like him are angry because they've been allowed to slip into bad habits that are only now being challenged. That is everybody's fault.

I agree wholeheartedly with your first paragraph regarding public safety (although I have no sympathy with the loss of employment), but I must disagree with your second. It is not 'everybody's fault' - whilst attitudes and opinions may well need changing, the driver involved is just an aggressive moron who ONLY has himself (herself? who knows...) to blame. There is no excuse for an extended blast on the horn followed by a possible side-swipe. There is absolutely no way the driver could have known that the cyclist wouldn't be hit/wobble under a wheel - it was sheer luck that allowed the cyclist to live! Unbelievable (but sadly incredibly common) disregard for the LIFE of a fellow human being.

posted by jellysticks [80 posts]
11th March 2014 - 11:59

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dgcorp wrote:
My respect to the company involved for this edifying response.
"It's not making mistakes that organisations should be judged upon, but how they deal with them".

Now if whoever employs this grotesque excuse for a human-being (http://www.cyclingweekly.co.uk/news/latest-news/angry-driver-abuses-cycl...) could just see their way to ending his employment, then the world may just feel a smidgen more just, for a change.

Well done to the firm in this one he could have killed the guy.

Just watched that vid on Cycling Weekly. Sorry but the cyclist was shown right up there. Called the fella 'w****r' now either he puts up or shuts up. Cyclist taught a valuable lesson in my book. Off he went tail between his legs.

posted by gazzaputt [179 posts]
11th March 2014 - 12:07

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The Police need to take action. It worries me that this person is still driving and may have an even bigger grudge against cyclists.

posted by BikeBud [100 posts]
11th March 2014 - 12:07

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Don't worry about the person losing the work. The work still exists. Someone else will get it and be happy!

For the firm, not re-using one casual hours driver is the bare minimum. The firm should ask why it happened, what load-specific training, videos or whatever, they ought to give future drivers.

posted by vbvb [234 posts]
11th March 2014 - 12:09

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gazzaputt wrote:
dgcorp wrote:
My respect to the company involved for this edifying response.
"It's not making mistakes that organisations should be judged upon, but how they deal with them".

Now if whoever employs this grotesque excuse for a human-being (http://www.cyclingweekly.co.uk/news/latest-news/angry-driver-abuses-cycl...) could just see their way to ending his employment, then the world may just feel a smidgen more just, for a change.

Well done to the firm in this one he could have killed the guy.

Just watched that vid on Cycling Weekly. Sorry but the cyclist was shown right up there. Called the fella 'w****r' now either he puts up or shuts up. Cyclist taught a valuable lesson in my book. Off he went tail between his legs.

Tail between his legs, maybe so. But who was really in the wrong here? Someone calling you a wanker is no justification for you to then call them a cunt ten times and a punch them in the face. Especially if you were in the wrong in the first place.

The glass is 50% capacity.

posted by mrfree [33 posts]
11th March 2014 - 12:35

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colinth wrote:
Well done to the company for taking decisive and swift action. I would have liked to have seen some action from the police but I'd also quite like the fairies at the bottom of my garden to give me a pot of gold, more chance of the latter I think

I expect that you are right. The employer though can act on what he sees and has acted. He has a civil employment contract with this driver and he has terminated it. The only comeback possible would be if the driver decided that his dismissal was unfair and started a case for unfair dismissal. I don't think that's likely because the driving is so horrendous he won't want to make an issue of it.

That is far far different from the police issuing proceedings in a criminal matter. I think they should though.

Has anyone actually made a complaint to the police though? It would need to be the cyclist involved.

Cycling is like a church - many attend, but few understand.

posted by oozaveared [574 posts]
11th March 2014 - 12:51

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vbvb wrote:
Don't worry about the person losing the work. The work still exists. Someone else will get it and be happy!

For the firm, not re-using one casual hours driver is the bare minimum. The firm should ask why it happened, what load-specific training, videos or whatever, they ought to give future drivers.

I don't think it's a training issue my friend. I presume the driver was qualified to drive the vehicle so to all intents and purposes he was "trained" though we can all use some extra training from time to time.

This wasn't bad training, lack of wareness or anything like that. This was plain deliberate dangerous driving.

Cycling is like a church - many attend, but few understand.

posted by oozaveared [574 posts]
11th March 2014 - 12:54

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I'm still not buying a caravan

posted by ct [39 posts]
11th March 2014 - 12:55

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I had a very similar incident with an Eddie Stobart lorry recently. I got a standard copy paste response.

So it's refreshing to see a company take this sort of thing seriously!

I just wish the police would too, there's clear intent there and it was clearly dangerous not just careless and the rider was incredibly lucky to not to have been killed or seriously injured. I'd be surprised if they do anything though At Wits End

posted by 29erKeith [19 posts]
11th March 2014 - 13:02

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Driver loses his job. GOOD!

posted by Jonny_Trousers [82 posts]
11th March 2014 - 13:16

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Good call from the company, really happy to see they took this seriously. now its a shame the police and the CPS will do bob all, seems to be no body no crime and even this its only a minor crime.

posted by mrchrispy [285 posts]
11th March 2014 - 13:19

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And the proof the driver was sacked is on their site, because they said so, how do you know that for sure...?

posted by southseabythesea [65 posts]
11th March 2014 - 14:13

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Bez wrote:
It's reassuring that there are at least some companies who treat this behaviour with the seriousness that it warrants.

I'm not one for the witch hunts we sometimes see, but this wasn't merely incompetence that could arguably be rectified with training: this was quite clearly done with intent. This was essentially terrorism. Had the dice not rolled lucky double six this should have resulted not in a charge of causing death by dangerous driving but one of manslaughter.

In any case, all credit to Forest of Dean Caravans: this seems absolutely justified and well-advised, and they emerge with their reputation fully intact.

It will be interesting to see how (and whether) the police and CPS respond.

No it wasn't terrorism Rolling On The Floor

All the company is interested in is it's reputation then? Have you carried out a survey then or is this just YOUR opinion? If it were genuinely interested in road safety then it would have had a thorough and robust training programme for it's drivers so this type of driving did not occur. Company has taken path of damage limitation to protect it's business.

Airzound

posted by Airzound [283 posts]
11th March 2014 - 14:14

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Airzound wrote:
No it wasn't terrorism Rolling On The Floor

terrorism the use of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce

Looks like a duck, quacks like a duck...

posted by David Portland [88 posts]
11th March 2014 - 16:36

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oozaveared wrote:
I don't think it's a training issue... he was "trained"... was plain deliberate dangerous driving.

I do agree about the dangerous driving, the individual should be receiving police attention, of course. But writing the thing off as a one-off, mad driver, is a lost chance.

Lothian Buses' drivers are qualified, of course, but still have further ongoing awareness training. They don't have training issues either but the awareness refreshers help, I think. This caravan firm chose and employed a dangerous driver, it seems. Something went wrong there. They rely on just the guy having a driving licence? I think they could do more, if they want to focus on it. Great opportunity.

posted by vbvb [234 posts]
11th March 2014 - 17:28

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Airzound wrote:
Bez wrote:
It's reassuring that there are at least some companies who treat this behaviour with the seriousness that it warrants.

I'm not one for the witch hunts we sometimes see, but this wasn't merely incompetence that could arguably be rectified with training: this was quite clearly done with intent. This was essentially terrorism. Had the dice not rolled lucky double six this should have resulted not in a charge of causing death by dangerous driving but one of manslaughter.

In any case, all credit to Forest of Dean Caravans: this seems absolutely justified and well-advised, and they emerge with their reputation fully intact.

It will be interesting to see how (and whether) the police and CPS respond.

No it wasn't terrorism Rolling On The Floor

All the company is interested in is it's reputation then? Have you carried out a survey then or is this just YOUR opinion? If it were genuinely interested in road safety then it would have had a thorough and robust training programme for it's drivers so this type of driving did not occur. Company has taken path of damage limitation to protect it's business.

How do you know? The owner of this business might be a cyclist, might have had friends or family killed by a dangerous driver, might just be a reasonable guy that was appalled by what he saw. You don't know much about him other than he owns a business that rents caravans and has some drivers working for him. And why shouldn't he also be worried about the reputation of his business, or his insurance rates as well or his other employees. If the driver has this attitude to safet what else is he taking risks with?

Businesses don't only look at the short term. That's their lorry with their caravans on it being driven around by someone who doesn't care being seen by his neighbours and locals. And businesses are made up from people. And some people don't like dangerous drivers.

My wife doesn't. She heads up HR under which comes Health and Safety. The business has a fleet of vans. She has insisted all the vans are fitted with GPS that monitors driving, speeding etc. She has got some of that investment back through lower insurance rates. Yes she did use issues like reputation to justify the policy. But what really motivated her was an intense dislike of bad driving. She firmly believes that people drive more aggressively when it isn't their vehicle or their insurance policy. She introduced a reason for them to care. She has terminated several drivers in the early days. None since. The message has got through. Businesses are run by people.

Cycling is like a church - many attend, but few understand.

posted by oozaveared [574 posts]
11th March 2014 - 17:55

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As others have mentioned, anger on the roads and people driving around with "issues" that should preclude them from being behind a wheel in the first place. Problem is, having a licence is seen more as a right, rather than something that should be earned and kept through good behaviour.

jaunty angle: bikes and communications
http://ragtag.wordpress.com

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posted by ragtag [154 posts]
11th March 2014 - 18:54

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I have emailed lancashire police and my MP simply drawing there attention to the strength of feeling about this incident. I think the more people who do this the more likely they will act.

HMCC

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posted by Beefy [113 posts]
11th March 2014 - 19:48

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One big issue also coming out of this is that there is now a lorry driver with an already extreme dislike of cyclists (as shown by his behaviour) with an even bigger chip towards us. If he is like some people, his sacking will only justify in his own head his prejudices and make it even more likely he will carry this sort of crap out in the future. That is one reason why the sacking is not enough.

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posted by Otis Bragg [113 posts]
11th March 2014 - 20:49

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Never mind the close pass, mi mayger consern is he clerely carnt spel. Lodes of spelin missteaks on all his vidios!

Ticktock

posted by Michael5 [121 posts]
11th March 2014 - 21:04

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.

posted by reilhan [4 posts]
11th March 2014 - 21:37

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gazzaputt wrote:

Just watched that vid on Cycling Weekly. Sorry but the cyclist was shown right up there. Called the fella 'w****r' now either he puts up or shuts up. Cyclist taught a valuable lesson in my book. Off he went tail between his legs.

Eh? Why was the cyclist shown up? For yelling a profanity that any normal person would have done when they've nearly been run over by a lorry?
And what's the "...puts up or shuts up..." comment all about? Why was the cyclist 'taught a valuable lesson'? What valuable lesson? You ride on the road you should expect to be crushed under the wheels of a lorry and trailer driven by a psychopath?

posted by reilhan [4 posts]
11th March 2014 - 21:38

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I can only reply on this as though it was me nearly getting killed which I did nearly 3x in December. I wouldn't give 2 @@@'s about the blokes job. He was a total bastard and he paid - that's life!

Precedent's need addressing in this country in cycling & this goes some way but not in a court of law where they need to start!

posted by yenrod [100 posts]
11th March 2014 - 22:44

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There can be little doubt that was an incredibly dangerous pass, quite deliberate, totally unnecessary and was intended to terrorise or cause fear of death and potentially kill or cause severe injury. I believe this falls within case Law, namely:
R v Howells [2003] 1 Cr App R (S) 61 CA - "Road rage" cases involving furious driving with intent to cause fear or possible injury, but no accident, consumption of alcohol or injury - six to 12 months imprisonment.
https://www.cps.gov.uk/legal/s_to_u/sentencing_manual/dangerous_driving/

I recommend reporting this to the Police. I am not a Lawyer, but Legal advice may be appropriate.

posted by Recumbenteer [146 posts]
12th March 2014 - 11:55

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mikeprytherch wrote:
I had a similar incident to this last week, unfortunately for the driver (but good for me LOL) there was a traffic jam 200 yards up the road so I caught up with him, I ask him why he went past so close whilst on his horn and his reply.... wait for it....

"I didn't want to have an accident"

My response cannot be printed !

Sometimes I'm left speechless by the responses - this would be one such incident!

The best though was "I'm so so sorry, I pulled out too quickly, are you ok?" That one shut me right up!

Last night I would have considered trading a very loud baby for a really nice bike.

posted by notfastenough [3108 posts]
12th March 2014 - 12:45

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Recumbenteer wrote:
There can be little doubt that was an incredibly dangerous pass, quite deliberate, totally unnecessary and was intended to terrorise or cause fear of death and potentially kill or cause severe injury. I believe this falls within case Law, namely:
R v Howells [2003] 1 Cr App R (S) 61 CA - "Road rage" cases involving furious driving with intent to cause fear or possible injury, but no accident, consumption of alcohol or injury - six to 12 months imprisonment.
https://www.cps.gov.uk/legal/s_to_u/sentencing_manual/dangerous_driving/

I recommend reporting this to the Police. I am not a Lawyer, but Legal advice may be appropriate.

Yup, I think an interview under caution for the driver would be a good thing, in the context of it being a road rage/dangerous driving incident. I guess ultimately its up to the victim to pursue this. It's not like the evidence isn't there, and some points on the licence might prevent this guy from ending up with another driving job.

posted by allez neg [4 posts]
12th March 2014 - 13:03

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