Home
Motorist who twice brake-checked YouTube user Dave Brennan was already serving a driving ban

Helmet camera footage of a driver twice brake-checking a cyclist in Glasgow has resulted in the motorist, who turned out to be serving a driving ban, being convicted on four separate charges – dangerous driving, breach of the peace, driving without insurance and driving without a licence.

On Wednesday, the driver, who pleaded guilty in the face of the video evidence, was fined £375, banned from driving for 48 weeks and ordered to perform 150 hours of community payback.

The incident took place on Springburn Glasgow, on 28 April 2013. It was filmed by Dave Brennan, whose helmet camera videos, posted to YouTube under the name Magnatom, have been used on BBC programmes.

Brennan, who co-founded and helps organise the Pedal on Parliament [POP] ride in Edinburgh - the third edition takes place next month - was cycling back from the Scottish Cycle Show, where he had been distributing leaflets for the second Pedal on Parliament ride.

He has kept the video private until now while legal proceedings were ongoing, with the case concluding at Glasgow Sheriff Court this week.

He told road.cc: “Whilst I wish our roads were safe enough that helmet cameras weren't needed, I think this case demonstrates their power.

“Without the footage the case would never have been brought to court.

“I am though disappointed with the sentencing. Had the driver threatened me with any other potential weapon I suspect the punishment would have been a lot harsher.”

The video shows the driver passing Brennan at speed with very little room to spare, as he apparently sought to undertake other traffic.

The close pass – bear in mind, the wide angle used on some helmet cameras such as this one can exaggerate gaps – prompted Brennan to exclaim loudly, his right arm outstretched in protest.

Initially, that seems to be the end of it. But shortly afterwards, the car slows down, Brennan wondering out loud to himself, “What’s the problem?”

As the cyclist gets closer, suddenly the driver applies the brakes. Fortunately, Brennan reacts in time. Then the driver does it again, this time stopping.

“You mate are on camera!” Brennan told the motorist as he got out of his vehicle. “I don’t care,” came the reply.

The pair continued to exchange words until the sound of a siren prompts the motorist to get back into his car and drive off, although it’s clear from the video that Brennan was still nervous that the motorist might attempt to confront him again.

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.

75 comments

Avatar
md6 [181 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes
themartincox wrote:

excellent, they gave a driving ban to a driver who was driving whilst already banned!

 41

yes it seems the courts are oblivous to the definition of madness as 'doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result'

Avatar
themartincox [500 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

excellent, they gave a driving ban to a driver who was driving whilst already banned!

 41

Avatar
usedtobefaster [172 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

excellent, they gave a driving ban to a driver who was driving whilst already banned!

Yeah I'm always astounded by these types of case. The justice system doesn't seem to appreciate the fact that the driver shouldn't have been there in the first place and so the sentence should be harsher.

Why as part of the sentence can't the car be seized and crushed? Hit these people where it has most effect.

Avatar
laterrehaute [25 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

Well done Scotland for allowing the video footage as evidence. It has been disallowed in some English courts recently.

Avatar
jacknorell [966 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes
usedtobefaster wrote:

Why as part of the sentence can't the car be seized and crushed? Hit these people where it has most effect.

Agree, any other weapon used against a person will be confiscated and destroyed. Cars are no different when used in road rage incidents.

Though selling them for the benefit of road traffic charities would be more appropriate...

Avatar
cidermart [489 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

Our high speed legal process in action again? It takes nearly a year to appear and the Aussies can get it done in a week  7 Still at least they charged him with something.

Avatar
jacknorell [966 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

Driving while banned and still getting less than a year's ban?

Ban for life in these cases...

Avatar
bollandinho [64 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

Driving is seen as a right rather than a privilege and something you need to be qualified to do. Until that's changed, dangerous driving and while banned will never be punished in a way that will stop them.

As someone who lives in Glasgow though, I'm thrilled to see someone be punished for treating a cyclist like this. Well done Dave Brennan.

Avatar
bikebot [1924 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

I believe this is one of the scenarios which the current sentencing review for driving offences was intended for. I seem to remember some of the news coverage late last year making particular mention of dangerous & careless driving whilst disqualified.

It sounds as though the court has done its job in this case within the guidelines it has today, but it does demonstrate that the penalties for such dangerous individuals do need to be stronger.

At the moment, the law can't even disqualify a driver in an effective way as the consequences of ignoring a ban aren't deterring those receiving them.

Avatar
jacknorell [966 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes
bollandinho wrote:

... and something you DO NOT need to be qualified to do...

There, fixed it for you...

Avatar
Kim [228 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

The £375 fine, 48 week driving ban and 150 hours of community payback, does seem rather a feeble response. I would have expected there to have been a far longer driving ban, as this is clearly an individual who is not safe on the roads. This is just an other example of the culture of the Sacred Driving Licence at work, it really is time we put a stop to it.

Avatar
oozaveared [937 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes
laterrehaute wrote:

Well done Scotland for allowing the video footage as evidence. It has been disallowed in some English courts recently.

I think the police should seek out more footage like this. Actually go looking for it. Encourage people to send in helmet cam and dash cam footage.

But to be fair they do have to reject some footage as evidence because some of it for some offences, close pass etc would get disputed due to angle and the type of lens format used which can distort.

This one is pretty clear cut. It's straight in front. The fact is though that this driver didn't get done for the dangerous driving thing in isolation. He got done because the police wanted to do him for other things as well.

Surrey police took up my complaint (no camera_ just a statement from me) and ran with it and got a conviction 6 points (which led to a ban) and £300 fine. It was nice to think they did that for me but it was clear to me that the wheels started moving fast and furiously as soon as the vehicle's driver was identified. It looked to me like they used my statement (they sent an officer round for an extended detailed statement taking session for over an hour), to nail someone they already wanted to nail.

Avatar
cyclingDMlondon [489 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

One thing to remember in caases such as this (and others that we've seen on this site) is that the offence of common assault (see s. 39 Criminal Justice Act 1988) is complete as soon as the victim has cause to apprehend immediate and unlawful personal violence (Fagan v. Metropolitan Police Commissioner [1969] 1 QB 439).

No one has to wait to be smacked around the mouth, before he responds.

I am not saying that there should be _carte blanche_ to beat the f**k out of car drivers, but if you really, truly and genuinely believe that someone is about to hit you, then strike first (not forgetting that the law doesn't give you the right to kill someone for slapping your face. 'Reasonable force' is the principle to remember).

Avatar
cyclingDMlondon [489 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes
Kim wrote:

The £375 fine, 48 week driving ban and 150 hours of community payback, does seem rather a feeble response. I would have expected there to have been a far longer driving ban, as this is clearly an individual who is not safe on the roads. This is just an other example of the culture of the Sacred Driving Licence at work, it really is time we put a stop to it.

I'll bet a month's wages that he ignores the ban.

Avatar
jon_boi [5 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

Driving without a licence. Take him out of the gene pool please.

Avatar
allez neg [497 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

Business opportunity there - camera company making a camera and marketing it for providing admissible, evidential footage after home office / plod / CPS approval

Or a company already making plod - spec cameras branching out into commercially available head cams.

Thus removing questions or possible legal defences regarding lens angle etc

Avatar
oozaveared [937 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes
cyclingDMlondon wrote:

One thing to remember in caases such as this (and others that we've seen on this site) is that the offence of common assault (see s. 39 Criminal Justice Act 1988) is complete as soon as the victim has cause to apprehend immediate and unlawful personal violence (Fagan v. Metropolitan Police Commissioner [1969] 1 QB 439).

No one has to wait to be smacked around the mouth, before he responds.

I am not saying that there should be _carte blanche_ to beat the f**k out of car drivers, but if you really, truly and genuinely believe that someone is about to hit you, then strike first (not forgetting that the law doesn't give you the right to kill someone for slapping your face. 'Reasonable force' is the principle to remember).

You want to be careful about that though. If you have no opportunity to avoid being assaulted and it's imminent then it may work as a self defence plea. That doesn't automatically mean that you'll get away with it. Remember they will have been assaulted "the victim" and you will be pleading that you had to do it.

Juries have a funny attitude to cases like this. ie if you are in your home then Juries almost never convict you unless you have gone mad and sawn through steps to trap people and shot them with an illegal firearm (Tony Martin) even then there was a big campaign to let them off.

Out in the street it's a bit more dicey.

Avatar
themartincox [500 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

i was pondering upon the whole self defence thing this morning, especially in relation to the muppet and his abusive language that was highlighted yesterday.

if, as a cyclist, I am carrying an lump of steel in my pocket - say a chain-whip for example, and I am about to be attacked I have a ready-made self-defence item to hand (which would validly be on my person as a tool) could I then use that to thrash a potential attacker should they stop their car?

its not premeditated as its a usable tool that just happens to be at hand very quickly - i think Im on to a winner  1

Avatar
themartincox [500 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

well i am unbalanced (on cleats) and fearful and just happen to have an item I can use on my person with which to defend myself against an unprovoked attack m'lud

I'm simply responding to the, premeditated - as the driver had stopped and waited, aggression in front of me

Avatar
Dapper Giles [69 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

@themartincox. Your response has to be 'reasonable' so if the attacker had say a tire iron then maybe. If not it's a bit like bringing a gun to a knife fight.

Avatar
Dapper Giles [69 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

You also kinda wrote it on the internet.  29

Avatar
themartincox [500 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

haha I'm 5'7", there's no way i'd stop  3

Avatar
kie7077 [877 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

Minimum £500 for careless driving. Not too much to ask considering the cost of running a car for a year.

Avatar
shay cycles [324 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

In self defense training the first principal is usually to avoid an actual physical confrontation.

As being on cleated shoes, and sometimes a bit breathless from cycling, puts you at a significant disadvantage then avoiding the physical onfrontation is even more important. A bike often offers a way to avoid the confrontation by not stopping and if necessary cycling in a place the driver cannot follow - an option I resorted to last summer to avoid a particularly irate 4x4 driver who wanted to fight because I shrugged when he passed me too close and too fast more than once.

The rider in this case had a camera running and was able to use the footage against the driver - much better than using a chain whip or fists.

The real issue in this story is the lenient treatment of an individual who uses a vehicle as a weapon, threatens assault and is driving whilst disqualified - is it any wonder it gets people worked up?

Avatar
Simmo72 [604 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

Driving sentences should involve attending compulsory chain gangs fixing pot holes. Ignore the humans rights crap, do it, do it, DO IT.

Avatar
BikeBud [205 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

The fact is though that this driver didn't get done for the dangerous driving thing in isolation. He got done because the police wanted to do him for other things as well.

Surrey police took up my complaint (no camera_ just a statement from me) and ran with it and got a conviction 6 points (which led to a ban) and £300 fine. It was nice to think they did that for me but it was clear to me that the wheels started moving fast and furiously as soon as the vehicle's driver was identified. It looked to me like they used my statement (they sent an officer round for an extended detailed statement taking session for over an hour), to nail someone they already wanted to nail.[/quote]

I suspect you have a point there.

On the sentencing, a ban seems ridiculous. Is community payback what was called "community service"?

Avatar
pwake [376 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes
usedtobefaster wrote:

Why as part of the sentence can't the car be seized and crushed? Hit these people where it has most effect.

Because that would probably be a breach of his/her 'Human Rights'...

Avatar
MKultra [396 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

Why did even they have to try him? He has ignored a judge or magistrate who removed his driving licence, why is this not contempt and automatic jail time?

Avatar
arfa [748 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

Just a quick comment for Martin Cox on "tooling up". Courts will wonder why you were carrying such an implement ? Was it for a genuine mechanical need or was it a weapon ? Was it something cyclists normally carry ? Why had you chosen to carry it. If the answers are that it was for anything other than normal mechanical usage then you are in the brown stuff. Also, you have just put your premeditated thinking on the internet.....
As others have said, avoidance is your best bet. Ian Botham famously said that he didn't fight because it was a choice between prison and hospital food, neither of which appealed.

Avatar
goggy [153 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

Many years ago I got knocked off my bike from behind while in a right-only lane by a driver who wanted to skip the traffic queues and go straight. It wasn't an accident. he was hooting at me for several seconds beforehand but I ignored him.

I yelled at him, which prompted him to get out of his car and start shouting at me in a typical anti-cyclist pay road tax tirade of abuse. I picked up my D-lock when he got close, at which point Plod, who had been at a roadside stall getting food throughout the episode (top of Putney Hill anyone?) and said they were going to arrest me for threatening assault with a deadly weapon.

I did, at the time, tell them to bring it on given that the people in the pub opposite had watched the whole episode and would be on my side as witnesses. Much heated argument ensured, I was told that "they would drop it", I told them they were abusing their power and took their badge numbers and wrote a letter to the Met. I got a stock response saying the officers would be investigated. Nothing else happened.

Muppets,

Pages