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“I thought it was clear as day to me. I had left more than enough gap”

A lorry driver who pleaded not guilty after being caught by West Midlands Police’s close pass initiative has expressed confusion that he was subsequently found guilty. Dean Littleford claims that the video footage used to convict him proves his innocence.

Littleford was convicted of driving without due care and attention after being caught on camera squeezing past a cyclist on Tipton’s Park Lane West last November, becoming the first court conviction for West Midlands Police’s lauded close-pass initiative.

He was ordered to pay fines and costs totalling £1,038 and given five points on his licence, but still doesn’t seem to accept that he was at fault.

Speaking to who else but The Daily Mail, he said that when he first found the video online, “I thought it was as clear as day to me. I had left more than enough gap.”

After receiving a court summons, Littleford had initially been willing to pay the £100 fine and accept the three points on his licence as he 'couldn't remember the incident well enough' – but after seeing the video, he changed his mind.

“He came up the side of me. He accelerated in my opinion. I thought it was a clear cut case and I wasn't going to accept the fine.”

Speaking about his appearance in court, he said: “How many people just accept the three points and a £100 fine? I imagine a lot of people do. Maybe I should have, but I just thought I was innocent.

“I thought I didn't need a solicitor. I explained to the magistrates what happened and they looked at the video. The case was only ten or 15 minutes long and then they said I was guilty. Well it was amazing, astonishing. I don't think they were really that interested.”

PC Mark Hodson from West Midlands Police’s Central Motorway Police Group commented:

“Most offenders watch the footage, accept their driving was below par, and elect for a driver improvement course or an offer of three licence points and £100.

“This was a clear case of a close pass. The cyclist was nearly forced into the kerb and the actions of the truck driver could easily have caused a very serious collision. He maintained his innocence, though, and has now been convicted in court.”

Alex has written for more cricket publications than the rest of the road.cc team combined. Despite the apparent evidence of this picture, he doesn't especially like cake.

58 comments

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BarryBianchi [335 posts] 3 months ago
19 likes

On an average ride I could generate about a conviction per mile on this basis.

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handlebarcam [1044 posts] 3 months ago
11 likes

Vehicles that wide (and long, because it is the rear end that comes closest to the rider) shouldn't be allowed on roads like that at peak times, when the opposite side is full of traffic. Or limited to 10 mph so the drivers aren't tempted to overtake cyclists when there isn't enough room.

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don simon [1314 posts] 3 months ago
19 likes

Put the unrepentant prick on a bike and get a truck to overtake him at a similar safe distance. He'll be crying for his mummy within minutes. no

And surely revoked licence until he sees the error of his ways.

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bassjunkieuk [49 posts] 3 months ago
7 likes

The fact he thinks that was acceptable is rather telling. Perhaps we should make HIM cycle and we'll instead drive his lorry past him like he did and see if he wets his little tighty whiteys?

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srchar [654 posts] 3 months ago
2 likes

The comments... I know it's the Mail, but man... so much stupidity and ignorance on display.

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brooksby [2585 posts] 3 months ago
6 likes

Erm, no: the lorry driver is wrong and got something vaguely approaching what he deserves.  That was too close.  The lorry is barely further away from the kerb than the manhole cover, as  you can see.  And yet he thinks he moved out to pass safely? (Admittedly, the cyclist appears to be riding on the painted lines, but that is not exactly a big manhole cover...).

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Al__S [1254 posts] 3 months ago
13 likes

haha he tried to defend himself without a solicitor and is upset because he got taken to the cleaners over it. Good.

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BarryBianchi [335 posts] 3 months ago
4 likes
srchar wrote:

The comments... I know it's the Mail, but man... so much stupidity and ignorance on display.

  Meh.  I reckon that's about the average attidue to cyclists amoungst the population as a whole.

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leaway2 [74 posts] 3 months ago
1 like

The camera does not always convey how close the pass actually was.

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burtthebike [1119 posts] 3 months ago
4 likes
Al__S wrote:

haha he tried to defend himself without a solicitor and is upset because he got taken to the cleaners over it. Good.

As lawyers are fond of saying "Someone who represents themself has a fool for a client."

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srchar [654 posts] 3 months ago
1 like
BarryBianchi wrote:
srchar wrote:

The comments... I know it's the Mail, but man... so much stupidity and ignorance on display.

  Meh.  I reckon that's about the average attidue to cyclists amoungst the population as a whole.

Sadly, I think you are right.

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racingcondor [236 posts] 3 months ago
8 likes

Given the traffic the car passes remarkably sensibly so credit where it's due there. The back end of the lorry though only seems to have a couple of feet between it and the kerb so good call that court.

Unfortunately given his attitude you can probably assume that he's already done it again...

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P3t3 [413 posts] 3 months ago
9 likes

The lorry driver has an attitude that is ingrained into driving culture. He expected the case to be dismissed because his driving was "normal", and we know from experience it was indeed normal driving...

It will be interesting to see where this goes, I'm expecting a major backlash against these initiatives in the future, culture change never comes easily.

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1961BikiE [388 posts] 3 months ago
6 likes

It's the typical long vehicle pass. They "forget" that once they in their seat are past you that there's another 3, 5 whatever metres behind them that needs to give you the same clearance as the cab.

Baffled driver, no shock there then.

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Chris Hayes [164 posts] 3 months ago
2 likes

Wow...better get some cameras....I could get half the drivers I come across fined on this basis and with one fell swoop reduce the deficit and clear the national debt...

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billymansell [23 posts] 3 months ago
7 likes

Interesting. Just heard from Northamptonsire Police that they're not going to prosecute a driver from a video I submitted because a) the driver couldn't remember the incident and b) you couldn't recognise the driver even though the vehicle and registration are clear, both of which are true of the case here.

Oh to live in a county where the police do their job properly.

I'm wondering whether to complain for deciding not to prosecute someone because they don't remember what they did is a contemptible response.

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Chris Hayes [164 posts] 3 months ago
7 likes
billymansell wrote:

b) you couldn't recognise the driver even though the vehicle and registration are clear, both of which are true of the case here.

Hmmm...I wonder if the driver had been speeding they would have accepted this as grounds for non-prosecution?  Actually, I don't: they would have sent him/her a nice letter saying 'we intend to prosecute you.  If you weren't the driver of the vehicle you own, now's your chance to let us know who was driving...'...I would defintely make a complaint to the CC.  If only all cases were this easy  1

 

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fenix [745 posts] 3 months ago
1 like
leaway2 wrote:

The camera does not always convey how close the pass actually was.

It doesn't but it would be very easy to go back to the road and work out the exact measurements. 

 

I'd have thought that would have been done as part of the case  ?

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BarryBianchi [335 posts] 3 months ago
2 likes
fenix wrote:

I'd have thought that would have been done as part of the case  ?

This was in a Magistrates' Court.  I'm amazed they had the capacity to successfully watch a video, or bothered to do so in the 10-15 mins.

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zero_trooper [9 posts] 3 months ago
7 likes
billymansell wrote:

Interesting. Just heard from Northamptonsire Police that they're not going to prosecute a driver from a video I submitted because a) the driver couldn't remember the incident and b) you couldn't recognise the driver even though the vehicle and registration are clear, both of which are true of the case here.

Oh to live in a county where the police do their job properly.

I'm wondering whether to complain for deciding not to prosecute someone because they don't remember what they did is a contemptible response.

 

'the driver couldn't remember the incident' A ridiculous reason not to prosecute. The registered owner must (after having had the relevant paperwork served on them), inform the police who the driver was at the time. The police can then show the named driver the video evidence for their comments. 

Then a decision can be made to prosecute or not.

I would ask for the the decision to be reviewed, looks like someone was cutting corners (pardon the pun) here. Infact, I smell bullshit!

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KevM [46 posts] 3 months ago
3 likes

Road.cc have you uploaded the correct video for the story? Driver claims the cyclist came up the inside of him and that was his defense. Clearly the wrong video has been uploaded...

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BarryBianchi [335 posts] 3 months ago
1 like
KevM wrote:

Road.cc have you uploaded the correct video for the story? Driver claims the cyclist came up the inside of him and that was his defense. Clearly the wrong video has been uploaded...

  He probably did at some point, as one does filtering in traffic.

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Pub bike [241 posts] 3 months ago
1 like
srchar wrote:

The comments... I know it's the Mail, but man... so much stupidity and ignorance on display.

The BBC is itself is guilty of preaching hate towards cyclists. Room 101 extra storage on shown on Wed night had a whole section on cyclists in lycra (male) start at 25:11 which gets binned at 31:55.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b08y2m11/room-101-extra-storage-ser...

Worth making a complaint perhaps?

 

 

 

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BarryBianchi [335 posts] 3 months ago
0 likes
Pub bike wrote:

Worth making a complaint perhaps?

Really?

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Username [219 posts] 3 months ago
1 like
handlebarcam wrote:

Vehicles that wide (and long, because it is the rear end that comes closest to the rider) shouldn't be allowed on roads like that at peak times, when the opposite side is full of traffic. Or limited to 10 mph so the drivers aren't tempted to overtake cyclists when there isn't enough room.

 

Or have a man carrying a red flag walking in front of them.

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farty [11 posts] 3 months ago
0 likes

Looks alright to me. Hey Lycra babies, get over yourselves. You can have 20 whinge cams, it doesnt change the facts you look for trouble.

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ChrisB200SX [517 posts] 3 months ago
2 likes

Worrying that he hasn't accepted that what he did was wrong and is still able to drive, professionally  2

Wish I could stick a camera in my office window and get all the drivers on their phones convicted.

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ChrisB200SX [517 posts] 3 months ago
0 likes
farty wrote:

Looks alright to me. Hey Lycra babies, get over yourselves. You can have 20 whinge cams, it doesnt change the facts you look for trouble.

Is that a very poor attempt at sarcasm?

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bsknight [39 posts] 3 months ago
0 likes
srchar wrote:

The comments... I know it's the Mail, but man... so much stupidity and ignorance on display.

 

What´s the ¨but¨ doing in that comment. It was perfectly true without it.

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Roadie_john [61 posts] 3 months ago
1 like
Chris Hayes wrote:
billymansell wrote:

b) you couldn't recognise the driver even though the vehicle and registration are clear, both of which are true of the case here.

Hmmm...I wonder if the driver had been speeding they would have accepted this as grounds for non-prosecution?  Actually, I don't: they would have sent him/her a nice letter saying 'we intend to prosecute you.  If you weren't the driver of the vehicle you own, now's your chance to let us know who was driving...'...I would defintely make a complaint to the CC.  If only all cases were this easy  1

 

as it's a commercial vehicle, there will have been records as to who was driving... 

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