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Plea changed to guilty after aggressor learns of existence of footage

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.

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.

47 comments

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Flying Scot [921 posts] 2 years ago
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Call me devils advocate, but that helmet cam looks right left right....the van would be coming from the left.

Did the bike pull out on him?

That said, plainly he didn't hit the van as it appears from behind him.

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arfa [807 posts] 2 years ago
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A man who clearly does not have the appropriate temperament to drive a car let alone try and earn a living from doing so. I hope during his lay off he learns a bit more about the highway code or finds at alternative means of employment

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sonicsol [8 posts] 2 years ago
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Err, rider looks right-left-right and turns right, van comes up behind him quite a while after that, trying to overtake into oncoming traffic, idiot. No devil's advocacy needed

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Scoob_84 [384 posts] 2 years ago
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Who would want to employ an angry thick twunt like that?

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Will Steed [48 posts] 2 years ago
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This guy has serious anger issues. The van is no where to be seen when turning. I'm normally not a fan of these helmet cams as i think the cyclist are sometimes looking for an incident to record but this is different. Glad he got convicted, good work by police, court and employer to get this man what he deserved.

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MrGear [87 posts] 2 years ago
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Imagine if this wasn't caught on headcam...

You'd have a bloke crying "not guilty!" and no justice would be served. This freak would still be terrorizing the streets off the back of his lie.

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tourdelound [159 posts] 2 years ago
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Flying Scot wrote:

Call me devils advocate, but that helmet cam looks right left right....the van would be coming from the left.

Did the bike pull out on him?

That said, plainly he didn't hit the van as it appears from behind him.

I've paused the video as the rider looks left, and there is no van visible from what I can make out.... please correct me if I'm wrong..... it's possible the van was following the rider along the road he is seen to emerge from. Either way it's dangerous driving by the van driver, as well as assault.  39

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snifter83 [16 posts] 2 years ago
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That driver behaved like an animal. A large proportion of these incidents seem to be in London - if I lived there I wouldn't cycle without a helmet camera. Frightening stuff.

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arfa [807 posts] 2 years ago
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One further thought that crossed my mind was that if a person walked up to another and headbutted them, it is a serious assault (more so than a punch if I recall correctly). Because the victim is on a bike, it appears to have been somehow downgraded. Something that our courts need to take a little more seriously in my opinion.

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Evo Lucas [23 posts] 2 years ago
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The van was behind me from just before the corner.

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jacknorell [974 posts] 2 years ago
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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...

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FluffyKittenofT... [1360 posts] 2 years ago
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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?

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allez neg [497 posts] 2 years ago
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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.

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arfa [807 posts] 2 years ago
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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.

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Ush [755 posts] 2 years ago
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Why does he still have a license to operate a motor vehicle on public roads after this?

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paulfg42 [393 posts] 2 years ago
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Idiot got everything he deserved.

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Evo Lucas [23 posts] 2 years ago
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Sound advice.

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bobcdc [22 posts] 2 years ago
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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.

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arfa [807 posts] 2 years ago
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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.

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Beefy [380 posts] 2 years ago
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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.

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stefv [212 posts] 2 years ago
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I've been working abroad for the past six months, but soon I will be back to commuting to London (  102 20 ), and I think I am definitely going to equip myself with a helmet cam from now on.

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jasecd [418 posts] 2 years ago
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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.

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argotittilius [23 posts] 2 years ago
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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.

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Evo Lucas [23 posts] 2 years ago
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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.

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jasecd [418 posts] 2 years ago
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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

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arfa [807 posts] 2 years ago
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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.

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Evo Lucas [23 posts] 2 years ago
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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.

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bobcdc [22 posts] 2 years ago
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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...

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nowasps [491 posts] 2 years ago
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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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denzzz28 [29 posts] 2 years ago
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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!!

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