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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.

66 comments

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md6 [181 posts] 3 years ago
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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'

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themartincox [553 posts] 3 years ago
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excellent, they gave a driving ban to a driver who was driving whilst already banned!

 41

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usedtobefaster [207 posts] 3 years ago
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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.

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laterrehaute [25 posts] 3 years ago
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Well done Scotland for allowing the video footage as evidence. It has been disallowed in some English courts recently.

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jacknorell [995 posts] 3 years ago
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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...

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cidermart [502 posts] 3 years ago
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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.

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jacknorell [995 posts] 3 years ago
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Driving while banned and still getting less than a year's ban?

Ban for life in these cases...

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bollandinho [66 posts] 3 years ago
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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.

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bikebot [2118 posts] 3 years ago
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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.

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jacknorell [995 posts] 3 years ago
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bollandinho wrote:

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

There, fixed it for you...

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Kim [250 posts] 3 years ago
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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.

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oozaveared [937 posts] 3 years ago
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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.

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jon_boi [5 posts] 3 years ago
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Driving without a licence. Take him out of the gene pool please.

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allez neg [496 posts] 3 years ago
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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

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themartincox [553 posts] 3 years ago
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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

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themartincox [553 posts] 3 years ago
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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

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Dapper Giles [69 posts] 3 years ago
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@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.

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Dapper Giles [69 posts] 3 years ago
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You also kinda wrote it on the internet.  29

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themartincox [553 posts] 3 years ago
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haha I'm 5'7", there's no way i'd stop  3

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kie7077 [936 posts] 3 years ago
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Minimum £500 for careless driving. Not too much to ask considering the cost of running a car for a year.

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shay cycles [403 posts] 3 years ago
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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?

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Simmo72 [673 posts] 3 years ago
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Driving sentences should involve attending compulsory chain gangs fixing pot holes. Ignore the humans rights crap, do it, do it, DO IT.

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BikeBud [256 posts] 3 years ago
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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"?

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pwake [429 posts] 3 years ago
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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'...

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MKultra [393 posts] 3 years ago
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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?

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arfa [855 posts] 3 years ago
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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.

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goggy [157 posts] 3 years ago
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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,

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userfriendly [621 posts] 3 years ago
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So those officers think endangering and physically assaulting a cyclist is perfectly fine but him opting to defend himself is a punishable offence? What the actual heck ... you really should have followed this up again and again until something was done about it.

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Karbon Kev [693 posts] 3 years ago
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excellent result - about time fines were given out, doesn't happen enough

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Hamster [109 posts] 3 years ago
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In self defense training the first principal is usually to avoid an actual physical confrontation.

The second is to ensure you can remain in control of any weapon until the confrontation finishes, being thumped with your own chain whip would be embarrassing/terminal

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