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Bike rider was dragged along by helmet strap in attack in Stoke Newington last year

A London motorist faces jail after being convicted of assaulting a cyclist in an incident in July last year.

Daniel Watkiss, aged 30 and from Fawcett Estate, Clapton, was also convicted of dangerous driving following the incident on Green Lanes in Stoke Newington, but was cleared of affray, reports courtnews.co.uk.

James Falle was riding his bike in primary position to keep safe due to traffic islands creating pinch points when Watkiss began revving the engine of his BMW X5 4x4 and accelerating behind the rider.

He said that he raised his hand up by instinct and hit the vehicle’s wing mirror then lost control of his bike and fell off. The driver claimed he had damaged the wing mirror and asked him for £50. When Mr Falle refused to pay, Watkiss assaulted him.

“He reached across the bike towards me and tried to put his hands in my pocket,” he told Snaresbrook Crown Court.

“My wallet was in my pocket and I took my hands off my bike and brought them round to knock his hands away in a circulation motion.

“He took a big swing at me with his right fist and hit me either across the helmet or side of my neck or a bit of both.

“The next thing I knew he had grabbed my helmet and pulled me across my bike and into the road.

“The strap on my helmet was strangling me; I couldn't breathe at this stage. I was trying to undo the helmet with one hand but that was impossible while I was still being dragged forward,” he added.

While Watkiss accepted he had shouted at the cyclist, he denied hitting him and claimed his hand had become caught in the helmet’s strap.

His partner, Chantelle Willock, also stood trial on charges of affray and assault but was acquitted.

Watkiss will be sentenced on 7 August.

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.

29 comments

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Redvee [238 posts] 2 years ago
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Highly unlikely but I wish the judge would don his black cap come 7th August.

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pikeamus [48 posts] 2 years ago
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While Watkiss accepted he had shouted at the cyclist, he denied hitting him and claimed his hand had become caught in the helmet’s strap.

How exactly did his hand get caught in the strap while he was not hitting him?

I hope this prick gets a stiff sentence. Can a judge impose a driving ban if someone is convicted of assault? Because that definitely seems necessary as well.

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ribena [179 posts] 2 years ago
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Can the government please recall all drivers to re-sit an amended driving test which clearly explains what the "primary road position" for cyclists is.

It seems that if this is taught to cyclists, but not to drivers, these incidents will continue.

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bikebot [1916 posts] 2 years ago
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"... he denied hitting him and claimed his hand had become caught in the helmet’s strap."

That happens to me all the time, it's really annoying. I'll be just riding along minding my own business, and then suddenly some strangers hand gets caught in my chin strap. They really should design them better.

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Shades [294 posts] 2 years ago
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Good, although if the motorist had just driven away after knocking the cyclist off, without any witnesses, registration or helmet cam footage, nothing would have happened and, even then, the driver would probably have got off pretty lightly. He's been done for assualt; shame they didn't put dangerous driving in there as well.

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bikebot [1916 posts] 2 years ago
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Shades wrote:

He's been done for assualt; shame they didn't put dangerous driving in there as well.

They did, he was convicted.

That's probably the most surprising thing about the story, the CPS for once actually stuck with dangerous driving rather than water it down to careless. That's now another case that can now be referred to by anyone finding themselves in a similar position dealing with the CPS in the future.

Trying to intimidate a cyclist off the road isn't carelessness.

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goggy [153 posts] 2 years ago
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"He said that he raised his hand up by instinct and hit the vehicle’s wing mirror then lost control of his bike and fell off. "

Err... I think we all know what that means, and of course would all react "instinctively" in this manner....  44

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georgee [162 posts] 2 years ago
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Who's in for the sweepstake.

I'm going with £200 fine and £50 victim surcharge, no points or ban as it wasn't a driving offence.

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EK Spinner [61 posts] 2 years ago
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Georgee, I think the second paragraph includes the line "...also convicted of dangerous driving ..."

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georgee [162 posts] 2 years ago
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Good point, i'll add 3 points into the mix but no ban as his car will be deemed essential for doing not much.

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notfastenough [3679 posts] 2 years ago
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I'll have a go. 12 months suspended sentence, £500 fine, 3 month ban and a retest.

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Hensteeth [78 posts] 2 years ago
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Sounds like a good reason to not wear a helmet. Someone elses hands caught in strap and strangling you. What was that debate about helmets again??!  4

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farrell [1950 posts] 2 years ago
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bikebot wrote:

"... he denied hitting him and claimed his hand had become caught in the helmet’s strap."

That happens to me all the time, it's really annoying. I'll be just riding along minding my own business, and then suddenly some strangers hand gets caught in my chin strap. They really should design them better.

It's a little known fact that it is this helmet chin strap phenomenon that inspired the design of the Large Hadron Collider.

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Paul_C [462 posts] 2 years ago
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georgee wrote:

Who's in for the sweepstake.

I'm going with £200 fine and £50 victim surcharge, no points or ban as it wasn't a driving offence.

should hammer him with the prosecution's costs.

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farrell [1950 posts] 2 years ago
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notfastenough wrote:

I'll have a go. 12 months suspended sentence, £500 fine, 3 month ban and a retest.

And what about the motorist?

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notfastenough [3679 posts] 2 years ago
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farrell wrote:
notfastenough wrote:

I'll have a go. 12 months suspended sentence, £500 fine, 3 month ban and a retest.

And what about the motorist?

A commendation presented by one J Clarkson.

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userfriendly [562 posts] 2 years ago
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ribena wrote:

Can the government please recall all drivers to re-sit an amended driving test which clearly explains what the "primary road position" for cyclists is.

It seems that if this is taught to cyclists, but not to drivers, these incidents will continue.

You're confusing our government with one that gives a toss about citizens.

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thereverent [406 posts] 2 years ago
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“He reached across the bike towards me and tried to put his hands in my pocket,” he told Snaresbrook Crown Court.

The police could have gone for attemped robbery as well.

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Argos74 [392 posts] 2 years ago
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Quote:

He reached across the bike towards me and tried to put his hands in my pocket,” he told Snaresbrook Crown Court.

Meh, I'd expect dinner and chocolates first before he thought about doing that sort of thing. Maybe it's different for young people these days.

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SteppenHerring [328 posts] 2 years ago
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I have seen in other internet fora people complaining about their wingmirrors being damaged by cyclists. HIGHWAY CODE RULE 163. Tossers.

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OldRidgeback [2620 posts] 2 years ago
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The car was a BMX X5, well no surprise about its driver then.

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KiwiMike [1200 posts] 2 years ago
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If you look at Streetview for 187 Fawcett Estate, Clapton, there's a black X5 parked on the pavement. Ahhh, Schadenfreude. Best served icy cold.

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Ramuz [147 posts] 2 years ago
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The profusion of the BMW X5 on our roads is a symbol of the inequality and injustice that the government promotes.

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Joeinpoole [439 posts] 2 years ago
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Ramuz wrote:

The profusion of the BMW X5 on our roads is a symbol of the inequality and injustice that the government promotes.

Huh? Does Nurse know you've 'borrowed' her laptop again?

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Frogstar [2 posts] 2 years ago
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As a cyclist who spends much more time pedalling 2 wheels than driving with 4 I also have happen to have an X5 and shudder than I'm being labelled in a catch-all...  13
Indeed having previously lived in the area my main observation is why would any sane individual want to cycle (let alone drive along) the hell that is Green Lanes ?  40

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OldRidgeback [2620 posts] 2 years ago
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Frogstar wrote:

As a cyclist who spends much more time pedalling 2 wheels than driving with 4 I also have happen to have an X5 and shudder than I'm being labelled in a catch-all...  13
Indeed having previously lived in the area my main observation is why would any sane individual want to cycle (let alone drive along) the hell that is Green Lanes ?  40

You could always sell it and buy something else instead. My car's a Ford. It does the job rather well.

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oozaveared [937 posts] 2 years ago
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SteppenHerring wrote:

I have seen in other internet fora people complaining about their wingmirrors being damaged by cyclists. HIGHWAY CODE RULE 163. Tossers.

I pointed this out only last week at a BBQ. One bloke giving off about a cyclist smacking his window a few people around tutting at the scenario he described. In I went.

"So you must have been pretty close to him then?" says I
"Oh not really" he says.
So I start playing with my arm and hold it out from body. I turn to my wife and casually say "how far do you reckon that is love?" "well you know from your shirts don't you?" she chips in. "That's right it's 33 inches" says I.

"But that's the middle of your shoulder to your cuff" says the Lady Oozaveared. "So just about 2ft then in reach" says I. "Yes" says the good lady "..and he'd have to be closer than than that beceause that's just to touch the vehicle and he said the window was slapped quite hard".

"So you were very close to this cyclist then" says I as the fellah and the little group looks on. "Closer than 2 feet, that sounds pretty dangerous to me. Have you thought the fellah on the bike might have been scared and angry about you dangerous driving"."

That's when Lady Oozaveared poked me in the ribs and we headed off to see one of her mates.

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notfastenough [3679 posts] 2 years ago
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I was waiting for him to reply "well actually, the cyclist was a chimpanzee - REALLY long arms!"

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oozaveared [937 posts] 2 years ago
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notfastenough wrote:

I was waiting for him to reply "well actually, the cyclist was a chimpanzee - REALLY long arms!"

I think he was speechless. Never expected his driving to be criticised even though he was admitting to a crowd of people that he drove like an arse.

We need to keep up the counter points you know. Just this morning I arrive in my high viz and someone I don't know but who works in the building was just parking and decides to congratulate me for wearing it and saying he thought all cyclists and motorcyclists should have to. I think he was expecting me to concurr but I pointed out that it was sad state of affairs that some drivers paid so little attention and drove so badly that cyclists and motorcyclists felt they had to compensate for the low standard of driving that was so common.