Devon's 'ignorant' drivers condemned after spate of incidents

Veteran triathlete suffers broken pelvis in hit-and-run

by Tom Henry   February 19, 2010  


Cyclists in Devon have called for better consideration on the roads after a spate of road rage incidents and a hit-and-run.

Riders Annika Longthorpe and Martin Burrows, from Torquay, say they've suffered from the antics of bad drivers, and would like more done to help cyclists in the area.

She said: She added: "I was out riding my bike two weeks ago with my partner, along the back road from Newton Abbot to Torquay. The road was straight and clear and both of us were in fluorescent clothing so we were highly visible. A van drove past us very close and sounded the horn as loud as possible, clearly with the intention of scaring us. There was no reason for this irresponsible anti-social behaviour.

“On the same day we were cycling merrily along a cycle path beside The Avenue in Newton Abbot and a car was parked on the off-road cycle path with the driver on his mobile. He was oblivious that we were on the path."

Annika told the South Devon Herald she is now so concerned for her safety when riding on the road she will not go out unless accompanied by her partner.

"It's bad enough trying to avoid all the pot holes in the roads without having to dodge irresponsible anti-social drivers,” she said.

"It is a big contradiction with the government telling us to ride bikes more, but we can't do it because motorists are not helping."

In North Devon, a cyclist who represented Britain in the triathlon was left in the road with a fractured pelvis after being knocked off his bike.

A silver grey pick-up truck mowed over Mike Culley, 68, as he cycled across Mullacott Roundabout on Friday at about 3.30pm.

In great pain and hardly able to move he was helped home to Ilfracombe by cycling companion Stephen Gussin, who had been riding in front. Later that day Mike was taken by ambulance to hospital, where doctors discovered he had suffered a hairline fracture of his pelvis.

Mike, a former ironman and world triathlon competitor who still swims and cycles competitively, faces a three-month lay-off and is furious at the apparent disregard of the driver following the incident.

"He came right up the side of me and his wing mirror clipped my arm,” he told the North Devon Gazette. “One minute I was riding, the next I was looking up at the sky. He must have seen me; my jacket is bright yellow, and I had a matching helmet.”

The vehicle was described as similar to a Ford Ranger or Nissan Navara with a hard top shell and police have appealed for the driver to come forward.

Mike founded North Devon Triathlon, is a member of North Devon Wheelers and still swims some 20,000 metres every week. He has represented Great Britain twice in the triathlon

6 user comments

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Devon again eh?

"A road race for junior riders in Devon will not be held again after local people hurled abuse at competitors and ignored road closure signs."

"Tant que je respire, j'attaque!"

John_the_Monkey's picture

posted by John_the_Monkey [428 posts]
19th February 2010 - 11:43


I did a ride with Sustrans from London to Cornwall in 2004. No problems until we got to Devon, we seem to have enraged people because there were lots of us. We were told that there was even a demo against us in Cornwall. I swear it made me wish I could drive so I could get on a 4 x 4 and run these tw@ts over! Angry

Bet they all read the Daily Mail..... Wink

"Just as every cop is a criminal, and all the sinners saints".

LondonCalling's picture

posted by LondonCalling [146 posts]
19th February 2010 - 15:30


ah, that famous laid back west country worldview Big Grin

Dave Atkinson's picture

posted by Dave Atkinson [7827 posts]
19th February 2010 - 15:48


Time to "do a Hembrow" and leave. Britain - no longer fit for civilized living.

posted by nigel_s [37 posts]
19th February 2010 - 16:05

1 Like

I'm from North Devon, and it saddens me to hear this, but doesnt suprise me one little bit. The roads around North Devon are very tight and twisty with many blind corners, mostly with national speed limit of 60mph. I fear that if I am cycling, even at a good speed of 15-20mph, I wouldnt have a chance if someone came up behind me at 60.

Cycling is still very much a minority sport in Devon, with very few riders on the road. In the last 3 months I have seen more people out and about, most of them dressed nice and bright too, But still Drivers see them as hindering their progress and nothing else.

A huge change in attitude is needed in this country... but how on earth is it going to happen!?!

posted by kitz_chris [6 posts]
19th February 2010 - 16:07


Putting fatties like big gob Jeremy Clarkson out to grass would be a start in helping the UK become more cycle friendly. Either that or make him an offer that he can't refuse and tell him his multi million BBC contract will only be renewed if he does the Lands End- John O'Groats run on a bicycle.


posted by OldRidgeback [2551 posts]
22nd February 2010 - 16:22