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Van driver sacked immediately after social media outrage and 'really hurtful mails'...

A white van driver filmed forcing a cyclist off the road by swerving at him has caused a storm on social media, with one renowned QC offering free legal advice to sue.

The van, with a Vidette UK Ltd livery, was on the westbound stretch of the A272 when its driver overtook the cyclist.

He swerved into him, forcing him onto the grass verge.

Luckily the cyclist was able to stay upright and was unharmed.

 

Martin Porter QC, also known as the Cycling Silk, described the incident on Twitter as “a very serious assault”.

He added: “If the person on the bike wants my (free) advice re ensuring that Vidette driver is prosecuted, please contact me.”

On Facebook, the company made the following statement:

I am writing this letter to express my sincere apologies to the cyclist that was very unfortunate to experience a very irresponsible and dangerous move by an engineer driving one of Vidette's vehicles on Sunday 30th April.

My wife and I are both very keen cyclist ourselves so fully appreciate the impact/trauma that a near miss like this would have on anyone in this situation.
I have now interviewed the driver and can honestly say the he is so full of remorse and fully understands how lucky he and the cyclist have been on this occasion and swears to never let himself get into a position like this again He stated that he was having personal problems with his family and his mind “was all over the place” and that he is so sorry. I do believe him and could tell his apology was genuine, however we cannot condone nor let this behaviour have any place within our company, we have decided to make an example here and to promote driver awareness going forward. He has been dismissed from immediate effect!
This experience has made me realise that I can do something to help reduce this sort of behaviour on our roads so have decided to introduce a driver awareness course into our already busy H&S training matrix for all our employees. The AA seem to have a nice one called Driver Alertness Education, I have actioned this to be investigated & organised immediately.
Adding to the above, I have had full backing & agreement in these decisions from all of our management team.
I hope this letter will also be of comfort to the other road users & cyclists who have written their concerns.

NB - I was on holiday until early this morning which made an immediate answer nigh on impossible. I understand that the vast majority of mails and social media comments are from concerned genuine people however, we received some really hurtful mails wishing all sorts of medical curses on our office staff which swayed me into taking down the access from our web site & social media pages.

Sincere apologies,

Ian Frazer
Managing Director
Vidette Uk

One Twitter user wrote: “I'd make the driver ride a bike while people drive vans at him until he gets the message.”

Another said: “Cyclist shouldn't be in the middle of the road like that. Driver should face prosecution though. Endangered guy's life.”

BBC radio presenter Jeremy Vine, who also shared the video on Twitter, said: “It actually takes practise to drive as badly as this.”

 Vidette UK describes itself as a “Building Contractor to the Leisure Industry”.

Cyclists have also taken to Google to express their displeasure, resulting in the company having a one star rating on the search engine.

One wrote: “It appears that your extensive Health and Safety accreditation doesn't cover travelling between jobs?

“I'm disgusted and enraged. I hope that the police have been informed.”

Another said: “Vidette UK Ltd have undermined their own claims to be Health and Safety compliant. I would now expect Cooperative UK, Greene King, Toni and Guy, Greenwich Council, Renault UK and other clients to re-consider their position as clients.”

The company said on Twitter “appropriate action has been taken” against the driver before later deleting its account.

After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.

115 comments

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CXR94Di2 [1578 posts] 1 month ago
6 likes

Jesus he could of easily killed him. Premeditated attack!

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john1967 [23 posts] 1 month ago
20 likes

If this driver isn't prosecuted then there really is no hope left for any cyclist.

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rggfddne [221 posts] 1 month ago
11 likes

^ what he said.

That said, fair play to vidette laugh.  Policing the roads is not their responsibility - it's, erm, the police's (and DVLA, etc).  Assuming they pay tax (and I see no reason not to assume that), they're as entitled as anyone else to expect a driving license to mean "this person is fit for the road". 

I would say they've at the very least met their duties, and quite possibly gone beyond.  Especially if they're being truthful about the driver's "bad day".  Sympathy is NOT a bad quality.  Excusing recklessness is. 

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Rich_cb [251 posts] 1 month ago
16 likes

Kudos to the guy for staying upright. That was some Sagan-esque bike handling!

On a more serious note, if this isn't taken up by the CPS this has to be a private prosecution. If it were up to me he'd be done for attempted murder.

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Wardy74 [42 posts] 1 month ago
6 likes

Good skills by the rider there, he went with the flow. If he'd resisted he may well have ended up under the wheels.

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japes [68 posts] 1 month ago
10 likes

that's attempted murder, not poor driving 

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Ramuz [263 posts] 1 month ago
5 likes

Let's hope the Cycle Defense Fund gets to work on this.

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Stueys [12 posts] 1 month ago
17 likes

I think that's a fair response and thoughtful from the company.  The driver needs to be prosecuted though, ultimately he's used a vehicle as a weapon and could easily have killed someone.  There aren't any excuses or justification. 

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mylesrants [373 posts] 1 month ago
8 likes

Did 4 hours today and 5 close shaves. Think everyone has at least on on each spin

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wycombewheeler [1072 posts] 1 month ago
17 likes

remember the following are all acceptable reasons for delay on a journey
horses
tractors
Milkfloat
learner drivers
people storing their cars on the public highway causing an obstruction
too many cars trying to us the road st once.

but it us not acceptable to be delayed by a cyclist who doesn't want to be passed where the road is too narrow.

Also remember that one person in a car is entitled to more road space than six people on bikes.

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ChrisB200SX [357 posts] 1 month ago
6 likes

bikelikebike, you really should stop driving, anywhere, not just in "Scandinavia"... And see a psychologist.

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lolol [211 posts] 1 month ago
2 likes
mylesrants wrote:

Did 4 hours today and 5 close shaves. Think everyone has at least on on each spin

 

I did a ride, about a year ago and I met nothing but polite and very consdierate drivers, about a year ago and I  even commented on it on the club facebook as it was a bit wierd.

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dinosaurJR [201 posts] 1 month ago
5 likes
ChrisB200SX wrote:

bikelikebike, you really should stop driving, anywhere, not just in "Scandinavia"... And see a psychologist.

Whoa! Hold your horses; that cunt lives in Scandinavia? I hope to fuck its nowhere near me...

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liam92 [2 posts] 1 month ago
4 likes

The number of wannabe forum lawyers here getting it all completely wrong is painful.
1. The cyclist is not at fault.
2. The van driver was not allowed to overtake while within the solid white line.
3. Anyone that thinks a court would accept cyclists position as mitigation should definitely consider a career as far away from law as possible.

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burtthebike [806 posts] 1 month ago
9 likes

Is it just me, but is that rather a less than sincere letter?

"My wife and I are both very keen cyclist ourselves so fully appreciate the impact/trauma that a near miss like this would have on anyone in this situation."  Both very keen cyclists, so that's good, but it wasn't a near miss, he hit the cyclist.

"He has been dismissed from immediate effect!"  Why would you put an exclamation mark at the end of that sentence?  Unless you didn't really mean it of course.

"This experience has made me realise that I can do something to help reduce this sort of behaviour on our roads so have decided to introduce a driver awareness course into our already busy H&S training matrix for all our employees."  Why would you bother mentioning that your "H&S training matrix" was busy?  Do they even have a "H&S training matrix"?  Do they even know what they are talking about?  This is prime grade management hogwash designed to deflect criticism.

The entire letter reads like the Dilbert management-speak dictionary of how to placate angry customers, and I didn't believe a word of it.

A simple, straightforward statement that the driver had been dismissed and that they were telling all drivers to obey the law and not endanger other road users would have been far more effective and believable.

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Jitensha Oni [57 posts] 1 month ago
4 likes

Given its harder to appreciate what's happening from videos, looking at the top picture, and assuming double white lines - road's pretty similar to the double solid section -  where would the rider be positioned so that the van could make an overtake that is unequivocally safe for the rider?  On the grass? The van seems to be bashing the rider in a pretty meek secondary. For safety's sake (i.e. NOT gratuitously implementing the law as some seem to think), the rider may as well be anywhere at all in their lane AFAICS (well, assuming a nutter isn't following as here. obvs) .  Simples.

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unconstituted [2355 posts] 1 month ago
2 likes

Gobsmacked. Seen some horrific footage recently but this could have been fatal. Hope the parties involved contact the police and get the QC mentioned.

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pete_247 [3 posts] 1 month ago
5 likes

Could presume that given there is a solid line on the driver's side the van could not ovetake without breaking the line and the law.   The cyclist may have bee 'taking the lane' as we are encouraged to do in tight situations.   Hugging the kerb just encourages close passes in my experience and filmed evidence.

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WillRod [191 posts] 1 month ago
11 likes

I understand why the cyclist was riding away from the edge of the road.

If you look int he video, the van passes within inches, and swerves in. If the cyclist was against the kerb, he would have no wiggle room and would be in the ditch or under the vans wheels.

I tend to ride away from the kerb when I am going round corners or where there are solid white lines to give me this 1.5m escape zone. A vehicle may be able to squeeze through with oncoming traffic without crossing the line, but at least I can move over to prevent a collision. Put the safety on your terms, not the drivers.  If a driver doesn't give you enough space, you have that safe area to swerve into.

 

in short, the cyclist was doing the right thing, and therefore actually prevented a collision. By riding central, the van would risk his own life by passing into oncoming traffic, and self-preservation stopped the van trying an overtake into oncoming traffic. The cyclist also had room to escape when the van decided to bully past.

 

Also, the video is from a following cyclist. I wonder how the van ended up between the two of them, and whether the cyclists position was a reaction to a previous dodgy overtake?

 

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nbrus [336 posts] 1 month ago
2 likes

Van driver deserved to be sacked for that outragous manouver ... he had a right to be angry, but using his van as a weapon is beyond belief ... should get jail time if I had my way.

Cyclist should not have been in the middle of the lane ... there was plenty of room for a safe overtake without him blocking the entire lane to other traffic. Do pedestrians/walkers put themselves in the middle of the road to stop vehicles overtaking (there are no pavements on that road)? No, because that would be way too dangerous. A bike is no wider than a pedestrian and not much faster when compared to other traffic. Glad he's ok, but imagine the carnage if he was two-abreast with a riding buddy.

Yes, I can understand my opinion will not be welcome, but as most here are themselves road cyclists it isn't surprising that most opionions will be fairly one-sided in regards to taking the lane. I will even do it myself when necessary, but I think in this example it was not.

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Rich_cb [251 posts] 1 month ago
7 likes

Looks like someone has been sent back under his bridge.

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Grahamd [458 posts] 1 month ago
4 likes
Rich_cb wrote:

Looks like someone has been sent back under his bridge.

Let us hope it's a weak bridge with a HGV about to cross it...

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Rich_cb [251 posts] 1 month ago
9 likes
nbrus wrote:

Van driver deserved to be sacked for that outragous manouver ... he had a right to be angry, but using his van as a weapon is beyond belief ... should get jail time if I had my way.

Cyclist should not have been in the middle of the lane ... there was plenty of room for a safe overtake without him blocking the entire lane to other traffic. Do pedestrians/walkers put themselves in the middle of the road to stop vehicles overtaking (there are no pavements on that road)? No, because that would be way too dangerous. A bike is no wider than a pedestrian and not much faster when compared to other traffic. Glad he's ok, but imagine the carnage if he was two-abreast with a riding buddy.

Yes, I can understand my opinion will not be welcome, but as most here are themselves road cyclists it isn't surprising that most opionions will be fairly one-sided in regards to taking the lane. I will even do it myself when necessary, but I think in this example it was not.

How much gap do you think a cyclist should leave between themselves and the kerb?

How much gap should a driver leave between their vehicle and a cyclist when overtaking?

Looking at the photo at the top of this story it seems pretty obvious that there isn't enough space for a safe overtaking manoeuvre that doesn't involve crossing into the other lane.

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john1967 [23 posts] 1 month ago
8 likes
nbrus wrote:

Van driver deserved to be sacked for that outragous manouver ... he had a right to be angry, but using his van as a weapon is beyond belief ... should get jail time if I had my way.

Cyclist should not have been in the middle of the lane ... there was plenty of room for a safe overtake without him blocking the entire lane to other traffic. Do pedestrians/walkers put themselves in the middle of the road to stop vehicles overtaking (there are no pavements on that road)? No, because that would be way too dangerous. A bike is no wider than a pedestrian and not much faster when compared to other traffic. Glad he's ok, but imagine the carnage if he was two-abreast with a riding buddy.

Yes, I can understand my opinion will not be welcome, but as most here are themselves road cyclists it isn't surprising that most opionions will be fairly one-sided in regards to taking the lane. I will even do it myself when necessary, but I think in this example it was not.

The cyclist felt he had to be in primary position for his own safety and you weren't there so I think he's in a better position to make that judgement.
Pedestrians should always face oncoming traffic when there is no path so this situation would not arise for them.

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CygnusX1 [449 posts] 1 month ago
2 likes
Rich_cb wrote:

Looks like someone has been sent back under his bridge.

Think they've been hit with the Troll Hammer

https://youtu.be/CJhi43RntJk

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Housecathst [587 posts] 1 month ago
4 likes

lol where's bikelikebike comments gone, has the ban hammer finally come out. 

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oldstrath [758 posts] 1 month ago
4 likes
rggfddne wrote:

^ what he said.

That said, fair play to vidette laugh.  Policing the roads is not their responsibility - it's, erm, the police's (and DVLA, etc).  Assuming they pay tax (and I see no reason not to assume that), they're as entitled as anyone else to expect a driving license to mean "this person is fit for the road". 

I would say they've at the very least met their duties, and quite possibly gone beyond.  Especially if they're being truthful about the driver's "bad day".  Sympathy is NOT a bad quality.  Excusing recklessness is. 

If sympathy for someone's " bad day" means allowing them to go and attempt to kill people, then it's a bloody terrible quality. And yes, it surely is their responsibility to require proper behaviour from their employees.

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brooksby [2228 posts] 1 month ago
6 likes

I think bikelikebike may have left the building, ladies and gentlemen (number of posts on this thread have halved overnight)

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oldstrath [758 posts] 1 month ago
9 likes
nbrus wrote:

Van driver deserved to be sacked for that outragous manouver ... he had a right to be angry, but using his van as a weapon is beyond belief ... should get jail time if I had my way.

Cyclist should not have been in the middle of the lane ... there was plenty of room for a safe overtake without him blocking the entire lane to other traffic. Do pedestrians/walkers put themselves in the middle of the road to stop vehicles overtaking (there are no pavements on that road)? No, because that would be way too dangerous. A bike is no wider than a pedestrian and not much faster when compared to other traffic. Glad he's ok, but imagine the carnage if he was two-abreast with a riding buddy.

Yes, I can understand my opinion will not be welcome, but as most here are themselves road cyclists it isn't surprising that most opionions will be fairly one-sided in regards to taking the lane. I will even do it myself when necessary, but I think in this example it was not.

The driver "had a right to be angry"? Why, because he was he'll up for oh, at least 30 seconds? What happens if a traffic jam holds him up for an hour? He gets out his RPG launcher?

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Mungecrundle [705 posts] 1 month ago
2 likes

Not really a fan of banning outsider opinion or devil's advocates. This thread would just be a long rant of anger over the poor driving on display. Sometimes you need an unpopular, contrary or extreme opposite viewpoint in order to hone your own argument.

Bad language, excessive reference to Herr Hitler, racism, sexism, lgbt bashing etc etc are all grounds for getting banned. But winding people up with unpopular opinion surely has to be fair game for an internet forum?

If nothing else, the opposing viewpoint whether genuinely held or deliberately manufactured to outrage the indiginous self selected user group of a special interest forum helps us to share the devastating counter arguments to such opinions which some people out in the wider world do actually have with regard to cyclists and our rights as road users. Personally I have come to some different conclusions having read opinions on this site that I disagreed with and subsequently went and researched.

SuperPython 59, Willo and now BikeLikeBike. I salute fallen foes.

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