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

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.

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.

51 comments

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colinth [191 posts] 3 years ago
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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

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Guyz2010 [304 posts] 3 years ago
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Ten seconds of road rage cost the sucker his job. Fair play to the company for supporting this. May a lesson be learnt...

Think I might have taken the cycle path however sissy it may have been just for my own safety...just my opinion.

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dgcorp [16 posts] 3 years ago
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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.

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LondonByCycle [11 posts] 3 years ago
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Shocking, simply shocking! How close was were the wing mirrors to the cyclist's head? and there must have been no more than two feet between the towed caravan and the kerb as it passed.

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pants [237 posts] 3 years ago
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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.

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paulmcmillan [97 posts] 3 years ago
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Ten seconds of road rage could have cost another guy his life. That's the lesson that needs learnt.

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kie7077 [901 posts] 3 years ago
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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.

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pants [237 posts] 3 years ago
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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.

I guess so, it was so close to diaster. I think my inner buddist just liked the cyclist's zen like approach  1

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Sub5orange [101 posts] 3 years ago
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Nice to see some action but I hope the driver concerned has learned his lesson. There are a lot of agencies out there employing anyone with the relevant driving licences. Would hate if that guy is driving again without an attitude change or with an increased grudge against cyclists. Police should follow this up.

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nbrus [330 posts] 3 years ago
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Use the cycle path...  1

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Mart [110 posts] 3 years ago
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The company did the correct thing. They dicussed it with their employee and bassed on his answers and evidence presented to them acted. The guy deliberately endangered the life of a member of the public and brought the company's name into disrepute.

Now, if only we could get the police to act and to prosecute with such evidence we might be able to change the roads for the better for everyone.

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nivagh [58 posts] 3 years ago
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"We've dealt with it..."
Good, prompt action; it would also be very valuable to run a brief awareness course for their (remaining) drivers to spread best practice and avoid future recurrences, imo. Good behaviour begets good behaviour.

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ron611087 [356 posts] 3 years ago
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On balance I think the company did the right thing but I hope the police still investigate.

The incident is disturbing not just because of the near miss, but because it looks like it was done with intent. The fact that the driver sounded his horn before the pass indicates that he knew what he was doing so this can't simply be attributed to Hanlon's razor.

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jmaccelari [250 posts] 3 years ago
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Good to the company, but I suppose they had to do it. After this incident, if they hadn't of done so, I presume there would have been some liability on their side for any subsequent incidents...

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pepita1 [176 posts] 3 years ago
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The video illustrates what a lot of motorists do to cyclists. Why they do it, we don't know...I'd like to know if the company asked the driver why he did what he did.

I've been passed by a flatbed lorry such as that, though it was unloaded, on the road the snakes up out of Chepstow. There were some cyclists behind me who, after the lorry passed me so closely, came up to overtake me telling me how close I was to being taken out by the lorry.

What I don't understand is why motorists pull this shi*t. What is the f'ing problem? Do they do that to motorcyclists? And I'd like them to get out of their metal cocoon and try it on. One day, I fear I may slap the spit out of a motorist's mouth.

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Bez [608 posts] 3 years ago
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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.

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Shades [325 posts] 3 years ago
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Why do people think they can use their car as a weapon? Is it the detached nature of being inside the car? You wouldn't wave a knife around in front of someone and then think that it was unreasonable to be arrested because you didn't do any harm.

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thereandbackagain [173 posts] 3 years ago
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Trouble with "vows" is that they tend to be like New Year Resolutions. Good on the firm for actually holding an employee to account.

Now I'd like to see the police follow it up.

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mikeprytherch [223 posts] 3 years ago
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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 !

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mrmo [2091 posts] 3 years ago
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My concern is as follows, you now have a car driver who lost his job because of a cyclist. Does the driver think he did anything wrong, or has he been scapegoated in a witch hunt...

Knowing the Forest reasonably well there are a lot of idiots driving there*.

* including the idiot who was towing a trailer full of DH mtbs last sunday!

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Jimmy Ray Will [631 posts] 3 years ago
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I am grateful to Mr Turley for taking decisive action in this matter. Anything else would have been a clear green light for others in his company to do the same.

In my eyes, the good news is that we can all buy our caravans from Forest of Deans caravans.

As for the driver... the best lessons are the hardest learnt. I believe that we have to be less precious about peoples livelihoods... if you mess up badly at work you have to face the consequences. Likewise, if you need to drive for work, then really you should treat your licence with a bit of respect... if not, then take it. We all make choices, sometimes we make the wrong ones and there is no going back. If I employed drivers, I'd make sure they understood what was resting on their ability to follow the rules of the road.

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andybwhite [250 posts] 3 years ago
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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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rggfddne [221 posts] 3 years ago
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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.

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Bez [608 posts] 3 years ago
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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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Simmo72 [642 posts] 3 years ago
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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.

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jellysticks [95 posts] 3 years ago
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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.

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gazzaputt [228 posts] 3 years ago
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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.

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BikeBud [255 posts] 3 years ago
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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.

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BikeBud [255 posts] 3 years ago
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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.

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vbvb [619 posts] 3 years ago
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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.

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