Video: White van man loses job, convicted of assault, after road rage incident caught on cyclist's helmet camera

Plea changed to guilty after aggressor learns of existence of footage

by Simon_MacMichael   April 20, 2014  

White Van Man Has a Bad Day (Veloevol YouTube still)

A white van driver in London had what a cyclist who posted helmet camera footage of a road rage incident to YouTube described as “a bad day” after losing his job and being convicted of assault following.

The video of the incident, which took place in Bedford Street, Covent Garden, was posted to YouTube and Reddit, as well as to the road.cc forum, by Evo Lucas.

The driver beeps his horn as he attempts to overtake the rider, then stops his van and gets out, accusing the cyclist of hitting his van and and appearing to headbutt him. Several passers-by come over to try and calm the driver down.

At the end of the video, he reports the outcome of the episode: “Incident reported to Metropolitan Police and to his employer. The video is also sent to his employer who immediately terminate his employment.

“He is eventually charged with assault. At court he initially pleads not guilty. On learning about the ‘cctv’ evidence he changes his plea to guilty.

“12 month suspended sentence & £500 fine.

“I also received a profuse apology in court post verdict,” he added.

We contacted Evo Lucas for some background to the video, which was filmed late last year with the case going to court recently.

He told road.cc: "I can't say the driver's attitude surprised me much but his actions did. The fact he was endangering me by trying to squeeze past on a narrow street, with parked cars and oncoming traffic really angered me. Turns out he was bottling enough anger for the both of us.

"The fact he directed his vehicle at me was what made me take it further with the police and directly to his employer.

"I looked up the company's details and found the MD was a keen trail rider, after making contact I sent him and his management team the video, whilst informing the MD the police will be involved.

"The MD gave the driver a chance to explain but he made up a load of rubbish (he wasn't aware of the camera) which resulted in him being unemployed within 24 hours of the incident.

"I asked the MD what course of action would he consider 'best to be avoided' and he said a viral video with his company name all over it. I assured him that could be avoided."

That swift action by the company in terminating the driver's employment is the reason its name on the vehicle has been obscured in the video.

Turning to the court case, he said: "At court his lawyer was not aware of the CCTV and changed his plea. I received two apologies post verdict, one in the court and one outside.

"He had no need to apologise me except to make amends. Since court I carry no ill feeling towards the driver but it has hardened my camera stance as without it he would no doubt still feel he could act in this way with impunity," he added.

42 user comments

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May he be plagued by piles the size of beachballs for the rest of his days.

A shame he couldn't be charged with theft of oxygen as well.

posted by allez neg [4 posts]
20th April 2014 - 14:11

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FluffyKittenofTindalos wrote:
So will the last-moment guilty plea get him a reduced sentence?

Seems to be an illustration of the problem with that concept.

If the evidence against you is so overwhelming that you might as well plead guilty, then you get a shorter sentence than you would if it were a less clear-cut case that you happened to lose.

This surely logically means the definitively guilty will, on average, get shorter sentences than the wrongly convicted, no?

The plea bargain (whereby you get a lesser punishment for acknowledging guilt) is an essential part of our justice system, as without it the courts would be clogged with pointless not guilty plea cases.

posted by arfa [484 posts]
20th April 2014 - 14:20

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Why does he still have a license to operate a motor vehicle on public roads after this?

posted by Ush [389 posts]
20th April 2014 - 14:52

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Idiot got everything he deserved.

posted by paulfg42 [374 posts]
20th April 2014 - 15:06

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Sound advice.

Evo Lucas's picture

posted by Evo Lucas [8 posts]
20th April 2014 - 15:37

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At the risk of sounding like a self-righteous person, I recommend any daily commuter or rider of busy routes to have a head cam of some sort. I use one on my daily commute and it adds a layer of piece of mind. I hope one day I wont need it for an event like this. I have recorded a few 'near misses' (which we all eventually face) but nothing road-rage worthy.

posted by bobcdc [18 posts]
20th April 2014 - 15:46

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I'm afraid I continue to resist them but fully understand why people choose to use them. The more that justice is brought to bear on people like this driver and the more publicity it gets, the greater the likelihood of behaviour change.

posted by arfa [484 posts]
20th April 2014 - 16:00

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Would love to see one of these "hard men" get a bloody good hiding! It always seems that they pick there target, I haven't seen any footage of a driver getting out of a car to fight a big bloke yet, doubt I ever will because these people are cowards and if they thought they would come off worse they would suddenly be able to control there temper. I ran anger management classes some years ago and I have yet to see anyone without a psychotic illness who doesn't make a cost benefit analysis before "loosing it". Bully should have got a month or so in prison.

HMCC

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posted by Beefy [113 posts]
20th April 2014 - 16:01

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I've been working abroad for the past six months, but soon I will be back to commuting to London ( At Wits End Crying ), and I think I am definitely going to equip myself with a helmet cam from now on.

Dedicated cycling price comparison | http://www.leadoutbikes.com

posted by mckechan [184 posts]
20th April 2014 - 16:04

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bobcdc wrote:
At the risk of sounding like a self-righteous person, I recommend any daily commuter or rider of busy routes to have a head cam of some sort. I use one on my daily commute and it adds a layer of piece of mind. I hope one day I wont need it for an event like this. I have recorded a few 'near misses' (which we all eventually face) but nothing road-rage worthy.

I have mixed thoughts about this - I agree that it might be helpful after the event, but the worry is that you start to become overly self righteous.

I actually stumbled across Evo's YouTube videos earlier and I fear that he suffers from this. He was clearly completely right in this situation and the driver was a dick who got what he deserved. However a number of Evo's videos show really minor infractions from vehicles, which I cannot understand why they are uploaded. He has many, many helmet cam videos on Youtube and from his profile he clearly identifies himself as cyclist with a camera.

My feeling is that posting every little thing serves no purpose but to obfuscate and polarise the debate about cycle safety. There are a number of these self appointed "camera warriors" on YouTube and while I understand their motives and frustration I think that they get on their high horses a little too easily.

I would rather see far fewer helmet cam videos posted online so the ones of genuine unsafe behaviour are more visible. The media and a large section of the motoring public see cyclists as a homogenous group and while this is incorrect, the continued posting of minor driving infractions does nothing to move the argument on and in their eyes makes cyclists look petty, supercilious and self righteous.

JaseCD

posted by jasecd [144 posts]
20th April 2014 - 16:09

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I view helmet cameras in the same way drivers in many countries use dash cams, it just makes it a whole lot easier to sort things out with insurance companies and even the police. However posting "pointless" minor infractions on youtube is, in my opinion, a bad idea. I don't think the power of videos on the internet should be overlooked though, as the MD of the company was especially cooperative as he didn't want a viral video.

posted by argotittilius [22 posts]
20th April 2014 - 16:39

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jasecd wrote:

I have mixed thoughts about this ....

My feeling is that posting every little thing serves no purpose but to obfuscate and polarise the debate about cycle safety. There are a number of these self appointed "camera warriors" on YouTube and while I understand their motives and frustration I think that they get on their high horses a little too easily.

I would rather see far fewer helmet cam videos posted online so the ones of genuine unsafe behaviour are more visible.

I don't post 'every little thing' and I'm plenty aware of the polarising effect some video cammers clips can have on popular opinion, even to go as as far as to call it out.

Although I agree with your final statement, you have fallen into cliche with "self appointed "camera warriors" on YouTube". We are just people wanting to get about safely. We are not all Traffic Droid.

Evo Lucas's picture

posted by Evo Lucas [8 posts]
20th April 2014 - 16:42

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Evo Lucas wrote:

I don't post 'every little thing' and I'm plenty aware of the polarising effect some video cammers clips can have on popular opinion, even to go as as far as to call it out.

Although I agree with your final statement, you have fallen into cliche with "self appointed "camera warriors" on YouTube". We are just people wanting to get about safely. We are not all Traffic Droid.

Ok Evo, you've got hundreds of videos up there so obviously I haven't exhaustively looked through them. I did however watch 8 or 9 and the majority of them seemed pretty minor - a Range Rover selecting the wrong lane without signalling, a van on the opposite carriageway and far in front of you getting flashed by a speed camera and a few close passes that were no different to what any London cyclist experiences daily.

I'm not saying the drivers were correct in their actions but as I reasoned above I don't see how posting these videos achieves anything.

You say you're not Traffic Droid - I had to google him but I've seen his clips before - but to the casual observer there may not seem to be much difference. As I said before I'm worried that the posting of such minor infractions polarises debate as well as feeding the perception of danger that keeps potential cyclists from getting on their bikes.

What does posting a video like this actually achieve? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SooDrCmEBK4

JaseCD

posted by jasecd [144 posts]
20th April 2014 - 16:58

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We're straying a little off topic here. Ultimately one very ill suited delivery driver who was a hazard to others has been brought to book and I applaud the efforts of others to make the roads safer for all of us. I'll have more of this rather than less.

posted by arfa [484 posts]
20th April 2014 - 17:21

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jasecd wrote:

What does posting a video like this actually achieve?

Discussion about removal of cycle lanes, gutter cycling, lack of indication.
Clip was poorly named I admit. Seems you have broader questions to ponder on why people using bicycles are using cameras.

Evo Lucas's picture

posted by Evo Lucas [8 posts]
20th April 2014 - 17:22

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jasecd wrote:
bobcdc wrote:
At the risk of sounding like a self-righteous person, I recommend any daily commuter or rider of busy routes to have a head cam of some sort. I use one on my daily commute and it adds a layer of piece of mind. I hope one day I wont need it for an event like this. I have recorded a few 'near misses' (which we all eventually face) but nothing road-rage worthy.

I have mixed thoughts about this - I agree that it might be helpful after the event, but the worry is that you start to become overly self righteous.

.. [snip]

Point well taken and you are generally correct about the potential down sides .. too much watering down of the car-bike conflict.

I failed to mention another side of wearing a helmet cam, it also helps keep myself in check. There are temptations to curse at drivers or give the finger. Cyclists can be idiots too. The fact that we're outweighed by many tons by vehicles many times faster makes it a more important defense to me - to me that's the real issue here.

I have a friend in a recent severe collision with a vehicle (now in hospital). I'm not sure a helmet cam could have helped here as they were struck from behind but it wouldn't hurt. There are also good "tail cams" out there also (like the Fly6 - not trying to promote it). As it stands that person is out there still. We have vehicle description, the remains of a mirror broken off, description of the driver. The reports been out on the local stations and papers with reward being offered. I'll give a link but it's in the U.S. .. but the problem is world wide isn't it, so awareness of the problem is something we all deal with.

http://www.wjla.com/articles/2014/03/hit-and-run-lynn-kristianson-remain...

posted by bobcdc [18 posts]
20th April 2014 - 17:46

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jacknorell wrote:
Scary.

No way I would have ridden off in advance of the van after that though, I'd be concerned about being rammed from behind!

After an altercation, I'd advise to stop at the side of the road for a few minutes, both to get the heartrate back to normal and let the dangerous driver get some way away!

And yes, I have a camera as well...

I agree. Had a few of these (no head butts yet!) and always let them drive off first.

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posted by nowasps [246 posts]
20th April 2014 - 19:16

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Dear God,

Please dont let this happen to me, otherwise I might go to jail for beating an angry white van driver and shoving a chainring to his mouth. I will try and stay calm as much as I can but I cant promise not to hurt him if he try to hurt me.

Amen!!

Big Grin

posted by denzzz28 [16 posts]
20th April 2014 - 19:20

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I dont agree with the sentiment that minor infractions shouldnt be posted eedjits like the one in the video posted will no doubt have had many minor infractions that no one has challenged them on before getting to this, which is why even minor infractions should be challenged, I also dont think a lack of indicating before changing lanes is minor it can lead to collisions and if its car v bike could be fatal...

I intend to arm myself with a camera at the earliest possible time and post offending behaviours.

posted by McDuff73 [47 posts]
20th April 2014 - 21:30

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I've been thinking of getting a camera kit for use on my bicycle and motorcycle. It makes sense. If I was to post stuff, it'd only be the really scary close calls.

OldRidgeback

posted by OldRidgeback [2192 posts]
20th April 2014 - 21:51

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Posting 'trivial' infractions is surely no better or worse than all the other trivial videos on any number of topics that get posted on youtube (hate to break it to you, but your cat is really not that amusing!).

At the very least it demonstrates the nonsense of the tired claim that its only cyclists who think 'the highway code doesn't apply to them'. Rule-breaking is commonplace for all road users (including cyclists), but for some reason many motorists are in denial about it.

posted by FluffyKittenofT... [665 posts]
21st April 2014 - 8:08

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Twunt?

Is that a cross between a twat and a cunt?

posted by Quaternions [3 posts]
21st April 2014 - 15:25

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A good result.

Advice is a form of nostalgia. Dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it's worth.

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posted by jmaccelari [151 posts]
21st April 2014 - 15:36

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I cycle in London every week, I love it. you see so much more on a bike = you just have to have patient mind with drivers like this.
Out of intrest what camera are you using Evo? I think its about time i got one of them. I don't doubt that there are many cases were evidence like yours is thrown out or as mentioned many times about the polarising effect they could have on the whoel debate - however I would like reassurance it beings. ,....so I am in the market

Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving.
I thought of that while riding my bicycle.
~ Einstein, in reference to the Theory of Relativity

posted by stealfwayne [59 posts]
21st April 2014 - 20:44

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Have to agree, the Range Rover didn't do anything spectacularly wrong in this instance.....I think posting v. minor incidents just detracts. Practically every ride I have has 70%-80% near passes and every one out of 10 rides has a more (potentially) serious incident. I wouldn't dream of posting (and boring) people with these.

posted by Gourmet Shot [15 posts]
22nd April 2014 - 0:09

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stealfwayne wrote:
Out of intrest what camera are you using Evo? I think its about time i got one of them.

I use Contour cameras. They don't look like a camera and they just work. Of course Gopro and Virb have better (and more expensive) products on the market.

Evo Lucas's picture

posted by Evo Lucas [8 posts]
22nd April 2014 - 14:14

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McDuff73 wrote:
I dont agree with the sentiment that minor infractions shouldnt be posted eedjits like the one in the video posted will no doubt have had many minor infractions that no one has challenged them on before getting to this, which is why even minor infractions should be challenged, I also dont think a lack of indicating before changing lanes is minor it can lead to collisions and if its car v bike could be fatal...

I intend to arm myself with a camera at the earliest possible time and post offending behaviours.

Just a small point, but surprisingly indicating is not a legal requirement.

Specifically in the highway code signals section ...

https://www.gov.uk/general-rules-all-drivers-riders-103-to-158/signals-1...

It says "should", this means it is a recommendation. MUST means it is a legal requirement. Where it says MUST in the highway code the relevant section of the RTA is referred to underneath.

This explained in the introduction of the highway code.

https://www.gov.uk/highway-code/introduction

posted by BigglesMeister [16 posts]
22nd April 2014 - 19:22

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One criminal conviction can make one unemployable, or at least un-re-employable, for many years at least until the offence is expunged. With a serious bodily offence like assault this can be never. This can mean your life is thereafter on a very sticky wicket. House ownership and marriage become very problematic.

This van driver was a twunt, and if he actually attempted to hit you with his van then this is attempted manslaughter so perhaps he should "go straight to jail", but if it was a question of a close pass and then anger when you (justifiably) made contact with his van to indicate that he was too close, then his retribution was severe.

Every time a driver drives dangerously a cyclist could die. I shout at drivers often. But I am not sure how often I would want them to get a criminal record, even when they shout back.

Contra the opinions expressed about, I think that YouTube shaming sounds like quite a good thing to do. I would like drivers to see their behaviour in a different light, to come to feel ashamed of it. But as soon as the police and criminal records are involved... I feel sorry for them in their ignorance. A lot of car drivers seem to genuinely believe that 'bikes should not be blocking up the road.' They really believe it!

Ignorance of the law is no excuse, they say, but it does arouse my sympathy.

posted by timtak [25 posts]
23rd April 2014 - 8:16

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Well done to the company involved.

tired old fart

posted by tired old fart [82 posts]
28th April 2014 - 11:11

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paulfg42 wrote:
Idiot got everything he deserved.

I believe that he is still breathing, and so no - he didn't.

'It is well enough that people of the nation do not understand our banking and monetary system, for if they did, I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning' (Henry Ford)

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posted by cyclingDMlondon [211 posts]
9th June 2014 - 9:13

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