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Rider forced to swerve as driver exited junction where he says view blocked by floral display

A motorist has pleaded guilty to driving without due care and attention after a cyclist filmed the moment he had to take evasive action when the driver pulled out of a side street in Swansea into his path.

George Humphreys, aged 80 and from Brynhyfryd pleaded guilty to the offence at Swansea Magistrates' Court but said in mitigation that his view was obscured due to a floral display, reports the South Wales Evening Post, which has a video of the incident.

Julie Sullivan, prosecuting, told the court that the cyclist, who was unhurt after swerving to avoid the car, had made eye contact with Williams as he pulled out slowly from the junction, but the driver continued regardless.

The incident on St Teilo Street in Pontarddulais in April this year was filmed by a camera attached to the bike's handlebars, with the rider maintaining that Williams had shown "blatant disregard" for his safety.

Humphreys had told police when interviewed that a "large floral display" at the junction with Trinity Place had blocked his view but another motorist had flashed his headlights at him, which he took as a signal that it was safe to proceed.

Due to the brightness of the sun, which is low in the sky, it is difficult to ascertain that from the video.

Google Street View suggests that there were overgrown shrubs at that location in 2008, but they had been cut back by 2011. We have been unable to trace more recent images.

Entering a guilty plea by post, Humphreys offered his apologies to the cyclist.

He was fined £73 plus costs of £53 and a £20 victim surcharge, and his licence was endorsed with five penalty points.

One aspect of the case that many cyclists, particularly helmet or handlebar camera users, may find interesting is that a decision was taken to prosecute the motorist despite the fact there was no actual collision.

That's far from guaranteed in many cases in our experience, which may lead some to wonder if there is a kind of postcode lottery at work, depending on the approach taken by the police force and local prosecutors

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.

15 comments

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don simon [1535 posts] 2 years ago
8 likes
Quote:

"but said in mitigation that his view was obscured due to a floral display"

"but another motorist had flashed his headlights at him, which he took as a signal that it was safe to proceed."

"Due to the brightness of the sun, which is low in the sky,"

Oh do fuck off!
Take responsibility for your own shit driving.

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Critchio [239 posts] 2 years ago
3 likes

That guy should not be driving. His reactions are not fast enough now. Emerging incorrectly is one thing, but having done so he should have reacted much faster and stamped on his brakes so hard and fast that the front of his bonnet goes down way before the cyclist gets up to the car.

I would not wish to take a driving licence away from any elderly person but safety must come first always. I don't think he's safe to drive at his age. There should be yearly check drives with everyone over the age of 70 by a trained instructor who can begin the process of removing a dangerous driver from the road.

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Jones The Steam [36 posts] 2 years ago
1 like

Postcode lottery? No question about it. I live on the Hampshire/Berkshire border and have reported dangerous driving, supported by helmet-cam footage, to both Thames Valley Police and Hampshire Police.

TVP, to their credit, review each incident, and where it is not serious enough to warrant prosecution will send a letter to the offending driver, explaining that they have been reported and that their details will kept on file.

Hampshire Police do sweet FA - they don't even ask to look at footage and don't contact the driver. When I compained at their lack of action I was told that they concentrate on incidents that are likely to result in a prosecution, rather than going after drivers that might have made an honest mistake. So if you live in Hampshire, it's open season on cyclists  2

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Das [243 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes
Critchio wrote:

I would not wish to take a driving licence away from any elderly person but safety must come first always. I don't think he's safe to drive at his age. There should be yearly check drives with everyone over the age of 70 by a trained instructor who can begin the process of removing a dangerous driver from the road.

If age is the issue how is it most accidents are caused by those very much younger? What your saying is akin to tarring all cyclists with the "Red Light/Pavement" brush. Have you never had a near miss whilst driving or even cycling that was your fault? I am not condoning the driver by any means,  just trying to put a reasonable perspective on it. I know all the near misses I've encountered whilst cycling have involved those below pensionable age. Heck the guy that knocked me off was mid forties and a Health and Safety Executive. 

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mike the bike [980 posts] 2 years ago
1 like

 

Can't lay hands on the figures just now but government statistics definitely show that drivers aged 17 - 25 are involved in several times as many accidents per person as the elderly.

Maybe they should all be regularly assessed by a trained instructor who can begin the process ....... ?

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fenix [835 posts] 2 years ago
1 like

To be fair the low sun wasn't to do with the driver. The website mentioned it 

 

The sun was behind the driver so it wouldn't have been a factor. 

 

We we do have a time bomb on our hands with older drivers who haven't been retested in50 years and whose eyesight has drastically reduced. 

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don simon [1535 posts] 2 years ago
4 likes
Airzound wrote:

This coffin dodger should have to take a re-test which he might well fail thus meaning there is one less incompetent dangerous driver on the roads. He shouldn't even be allowed to be in control of his own zimmer frame or commode, let alone a car.

No! All incompetent and dangerous drivers should have to take a retest, inspite of the first one not having sunk in in the first place. 

I'll not be allowing you to decide who is dangerous and incompetent though.

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ironmancole [355 posts] 2 years ago
2 likes

If you can demonstrate via video that someone has violated the law the police, irrespective of how inconvenient or trivial it may seem, are duty bound to do something.  We fund the police service so if a motorist passes closely at speed for example (within the limit specified by law for an overtake) then an offence has been committed - period.

 

If the police fail to act press it further, as far as it takes.  Once the CPS are involved (once you get past the unwillingness to fill out the forms) the argument is that it is in the interests of the general public to pursue a prosecution as this is a matter of life and death, there can be no counter argument that cars are not lethal.

 

Quite often you just need to be prepared to make yourself a pain in the arse and insist the letter of the law is followed fully.  The authorities would soon be interested in your video footage if you accidentally captured bank robbers getting into their vehicle, makes no difference how important it may seem to the police, something is either illegal or it isn't. 

If it's illegal they should act on the evidence given to them.

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Simon E [3154 posts] 2 years ago
1 like
ironmancole wrote:

If it's illegal they should act on the evidence given to them.

Yes, they jolly well should!

But very often they don't. Even if the video is submitted by a lawyer.

http://road.cc/content/news/27880-cycling-lawyer-infuriated-cps-decision...

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don simon [1535 posts] 2 years ago
1 like
fenix wrote:

To be fair the low sun wasn't to do with the driver. The website mentioned it 

 

The sun was behind the driver so it wouldn't have been a factor. 

 

We we do have a time bomb on our hands with older drivers who haven't been retested in50 years and whose eyesight has drastically reduced. 

I'll take and accept this., but his driving is still crap and he's blaming everything except himself...

While older drivers can be a problem, I think they're a very small portion of the driving population. There is a much larger proportion of younger drivers who are seriously crap to the point of being dangerous and I come across these significantly more than I do older drivers, driving badly (simply numbers).

For example the young lady that gave me the bird as I wouldn't let her undertake me as I too wanted to turn left and she thought she could nip through on the inside.  She didn't see that she'd done anything wrong and I was the twat for preventing her from doing this illegal move. Etc, etc...

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brooksby [2697 posts] 2 years ago
3 likes

I like the bit about how another driver flashed at him so he thought that it was safe to proceed. I was under the impression that you still have to check whether it actually *is* safe... Just because someone else said it was OK doesn't mean that it actually is. (I can hear my gran saying "If everyone else jumped off a bridge would you do it too?")

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Eric D [112 posts] 2 years ago
2 likes

As always, we only get part of the evidence, at third or fourth hand.
Shows the value of the video.

I think it was a case of 'turning right while looking left'.
Cyclist dismissed as presumed to be slow ? Or just not seen or looked-for.
The cyclist thought he 'made eye-contact', but that can be misleading, especially if the driver has poor eyesight.

Can anyone see any distracting/obscuring 'floral displays on the railings' ?
He should have been done for perjury or 'attempting to pervert the course of justice', if there were none.

Google Street View shows hanging baskets, that might have 'inspired' him, but they are
- 15 feet up a lamp-post
- on a different date
- visibly absent in the video
https://goo.gl/maps/wfR8SmUpjEK2

I think the bit about the sun could have been an explanation for the headlamps flashing.

You can see the oncoming car is driving through sunbeams, which have reflected off the windows of the buildings. This could cause 'flashes' - although bumps in the road can also cause flashes with dipped headlights. Definitely shouldn't be taken as proof it's OK to pull out !

Pavement parking is a real problem there - that seems to be why the railings were installed.
I don't know why the signs for the traffic lights and speed/camera are so high above the ground - I suspect that is against the TSRGD rules ?

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pakennedy [183 posts] 2 years ago
2 likes
Jones The Steam wrote:

Postcode lottery? No question about it. I live on the Hampshire/Berkshire border and have reported dangerous driving, supported by helmet-cam footage, to both Thames Valley Police and Hampshire Police.

TVP, to their credit, review each incident, and where it is not serious enough to warrant prosecution will send a letter to the offending driver, explaining that they have been reported and that their details will kept on file.

Hampshire Police do sweet FA - they don't even ask to look at footage and don't contact the driver. When I compained at their lack of action I was told that they concentrate on incidents that are likely to result in a prosecution, rather than going after drivers that might have made an honest mistake. So if you live in Hampshire, it's open season on cyclists  2

OK, so it was an actual collision but they acted when an auld codger cut the corner and ran head on into me when I was stationary at a t-junction. He claimed I came from nowhere and piled into him. I guess he wasn't expecting me to be able to pull out a tablet and replay the helmet cam footage on the spot for the police. Still awaiting a response to the only can footage I've submitted of a dangerous near miss recently. The last one I had in Leicestershire was with no camera running on my 8 year old daughter's first ever ride home from school. Got the NFA letter today. The van brushed hard against me and was insanely close to her (I was in primary position and flanking her to protect her.) He accelerated in spite of there being no room and "nudged me to move over". We were 100m from the shop he was heading for. I may stop fuming at some point.

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OldRidgeback [2826 posts] 2 years ago
1 like
mike the bike wrote:

 

Can't lay hands on the figures just now but government statistics definitely show that drivers aged 17 - 25 are involved in several times as many accidents per person as the elderly.

Maybe they should all be regularly assessed by a trained instructor who can begin the process ....... ?

 

I don't have the statistics to hand for older drivers, but those for younger drivers are pretty shocking. Drivers aged 17-24 are eight times more likely to be involved in a crash. The figures for older drivers are much, much lower.

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ron611087 [358 posts] 2 years ago
1 like

What surprised me most about this article is that a near-miss was actually prosecuted. That's reportable in itself.