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Driver pleads guilty to GBH (with a bus) and dangerous driving

A bus driver was yesterday warned by a judge in Bristol that he faced jail following a road rage incident in which he purposefully swerved in to a cyclist  breaking his leg, wrist and thumb and crushing his bicycle under the wheels of the bus.

The driver of the bus, Gavin Hill from Frome in Somerset was arrested by police at the scene of the incident which took place in the centre of Bristol outside the city's Magistrate's Court in April last year. Hill was immediately sacked by his employer Bugler Coaches which operated the single decker bus.

Bristol Crown Court was told that cyclist, Phillip Mead spent two weeks in hospital as a result of the injuries caused by Hill's driving, and he also required a further operation to repair his left knee.

The incident developed following a disagreement between the two men at the James Barton roundabout, shortly afterwards the bus driver over-took Mr Mead and swerved across him hitting his shoulder and hurling him across the road.

Yesterday at a pre-sentence hearing at Bristol Crown Court the presiding judge Recorder Frank Abbot said:

“My understanding is he drove his bus in the direction of the bicycle after, at worst, losing his cool. He drove in his direction to frighten him or show him whose boss but caused much more damage.”

Hill pleaded guilty to a charge of assault causing grievous bodily harm and dangerous driving at an earlier hearing but Recorder Abbot warned him that:

“It must not be thought that this is not a serious matter.

“You drove in a way that was patently dangerous and in my view you did it out of spite towards the cyclist with catastrophic results.

“He could have been killed and you would have been facing a much more serious offence.

“However causing someone grievous bodily harm is a very serious matter and the most likely sentence is a custodial one and you must realise that is what will be at the forefront of the sentencing judges’ mind.”

Speaking about the incident Gerard Creed, managing directpr of Bugler Coaches told the This is Bath website:

“We were deeply shocked when we heard of this incident and once we had established what had happened Mr Hill was immediately dismissed as we did not want him driving one of our buses ever again.”
He added: “We are proud of all our drivers who are extremely professional and highly vigilant of the safety of passengers, pedestrians and cyclists.

“We can assure all passengers that this was an isolated incident by a driver that badly let down our company.
“As a cyclist myself I am very aware that some drivers of large vehicles, both buses and lorries, treat cyclists as a nuisance as indeed do some car drivers.”

While differences of opinion between bus drivers and cyclists on crowded city streets are not uncommon and are sometimes heated incidents of road rage resulting in violence or injury involving buses are rare enough to be newsworthy - last year a Manchester bus driver was convicted of assaulting a cycling pensioner. Many bus operators do now have some sort of cyclist awareness training for their drivers although the issue of buses passing too close when over-taking is still something that concerns many cyclists.

Mr Hill was given bail after yesterday's hearing and will be sentenced later this month.

Plucked from the obscurity of his London commute back in the mid-Nineties to live in Bath and edit bike mags our man made the jump to the interweb back in 2006 as launch editor of a large cycling website somewhat confusingly named after a piece of navigational equipment. He came up with the idea for road.cc mainly to avoid being told what to do… Oh dear, issues there then. Tony tries to ride his bike every day and if he doesn't he gets grumpy, he likes carbon, but owns steel, and wants titanium. When not on his bike or eating cake Tony spends his time looking for new ways to annoy the road.cc team. He's remarkably good at it.

21 comments

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John G [56 posts] 4 years ago
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Horrendous.

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OldRidgeback [2632 posts] 4 years ago
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Let the punishment fit the crime.

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overshoot [51 posts] 4 years ago
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GBH? Attempted murder would fit too. Lets imagine the bus, i.e. the weapon in this case, was a gun. A warning shot was fired, but missed and hit the victim. GBH or attempted murder?

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37monkey [138 posts] 4 years ago
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overshoot wrote:

GBH? Attempted murder would fit too. Lets imagine the bus, i.e. the weapon in this case, was a gun. A warning shot was fired, but missed and hit the victim. GBH or attempted murder?

A bus is a means of transport, a gun is a weapon I can't see how you can draw realistic parallels between the two? A custodial sentence for GBH would seem a fitting punishment.

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paulfg42 [392 posts] 4 years ago
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37monkey wrote:
overshoot wrote:

GBH? Attempted murder would fit too. Lets imagine the bus, i.e. the weapon in this case, was a gun. A warning shot was fired, but missed and hit the victim. GBH or attempted murder?

A bus is a means of transport, a gun is a weapon I can't see how you can draw realistic parallels between the two? A custodial sentence for GBH would seem a fitting punishment.

He was evidently using his vehicle as a weapon.

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giff77 [1256 posts] 4 years ago
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Yep, to drive your vehicle at another roaduser too scare and in this case, injure, makes the vehicle a weapon. In the same way to grab a brick/bottle when the red mist descends to hit someone makes that object a weapon. The guy has deliberately used his vehicle to terrorise the cyclist - so, attempted murder, but that was probably not the intention of the driver so GBH it is. Hopefully a custodial sentence and hopefully a lifetime driving ban. Though there's no guarantee of the latter happening.  2

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SammyG [274 posts] 4 years ago
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A weapon, arm, or armament is a tool or instrument used with the aim of causing damage or harm (either physical or mental) to living beings or artificial structures or systems. (Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weapon)
So yes he was using a weapon, a deadly weapon.

Surely this is attempted murder, what did the driver think would happen if he made full contact or ran the cyclist over?

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yenrod [106 posts] 4 years ago
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37monkey is obviously the said kinda person as the jerk who can't pilot a vehicle properly?

Get a life jerk !

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nickobec [246 posts] 4 years ago
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Occasionally we do things right in Oz

Murder charge over cyclist hit-and-run
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-01-05/murder-charge-over-cyclist-hit-and...

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thereverent [420 posts] 4 years ago
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A terrible incident.

Gavin Hill deserves to lose his licence for life.

Good to see the Police and the CPS managed to get a decent charge against the driver. Too many times similar incidents just get a careless driving charge.

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The _Kaner [840 posts] 4 years ago
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GBH seems a bit too lenient..He drove with the intention of causing harm....in a bus!!! Did he think nothing would come of it...hope he goes to jail for a long time and meets big Bubba in the showers...becomes the new cell block H 'bike'...

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Chrisc [147 posts] 4 years ago
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I hope he never gets his license back but if they do allow it at some point it should only be after a few compulsory months cycling around the city.

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0range5 [7 posts] 4 years ago
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I guess the thing is that they couldn't or thought they couldn't proove that he intended to cause injury. It seems they accepted that he intended to frighten & it went wrong. Seems to me that legal stuff doesn't always follow the logic people would like.

I think it's more complicated. People don't think clearly when they practice handing over control to anger & contempt. I bet he thought himself justified at the time. Stupid but all too common attitude.

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a1exhall [3 posts] 4 years ago
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This brings back memories.. Summer 2010, a pleasant evening at around 8pm, I was cycling along a local lane often frequented by cyclists. Suddenly Mr White Van man appears just inches from back tyre, within a few yards he overtakes me, slams on his brakes and skews across the road, causing me to scrape up the side of his van ripping open my shoulder and destroying my favorite jersey and forcing up into a hedge. He then gets out his van and starts threatening me with various expletives. He got back in the van and drove off. I promptly rang the police who took the matter very seriously, they were very good and tracked down white van man and pressed charges and wanted to do him for dangerous driving. I went to give evidence against the man in court in 2011, he did'nt even bother to turn up and an arrest warrant was put out for him. It turns out he was driving for Citylink parcels, and to top it all off he was already banned from driving! And how did the court punish him? Convicted him of driving without due care and attention (he was certainly paying attention at the time from what I recall!) and gave him another 3 month ban to run concurrently with his existing ban, 3 points on his existing banned licence and a fine of £50 + costs. Big deal eh?

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fatbeggaronabike [823 posts] 4 years ago
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This moronic bus driver is only facing the one charge of GBH. What about charging him with attempted ABH times the number of passengers on the bus with him at the time, this way the time he will spend in one of her Majesties hotels will be a bit longer so therefore the roads might be safer for longer. On another point (maybe I am being niave) how come such a serious incident took so long to get to court

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Daza [14 posts] 4 years ago
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He will get a slap on the wrist as usual

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ricardowilson21 [13 posts] 4 years ago
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After yet another commuting road rage incident 'Im looking for a cheapish helmet-cam to have as a continual record of my commute.
What do I need?
Anyone got any suggestions?

Perhaps if we all recorded, and reported ANY and ALL incidents of bad/dangerous/reckless driving/mobile phone use etc etc the police might start taking things seriously. Or maybe just grind to a halt under the case load....

I guess I should add we must all cycle legally, responsibly and safely too, to avoid giving drivers any ammunition against us...?

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downfader [203 posts] 4 years ago
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37monkey wrote:
overshoot wrote:

GBH? Attempted murder would fit too. Lets imagine the bus, i.e. the weapon in this case, was a gun. A warning shot was fired, but missed and hit the victim. GBH or attempted murder?

A bus is a means of transport, a gun is a weapon I can't see how you can draw realistic parallels between the two? A custodial sentence for GBH would seem a fitting punishment.

And a baseball bat is a sporting tool. The definition of weapon is defined by the intent, not the design.

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downfader [203 posts] 4 years ago
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ricardowilson21 wrote:

After yet another commuting road rage incident 'Im looking for a cheapish helmet-cam to have as a continual record of my commute.
What do I need?
Anyone got any suggestions?

Perhaps if we all recorded, and reported ANY and ALL incidents of bad/dangerous/reckless driving/mobile phone use etc etc the police might start taking things seriously. Or maybe just grind to a halt under the case load....

I guess I should add we must all cycle legally, responsibly and safely too, to avoid giving drivers any ammunition against us...?

Best place to look are shops like DogcamSports or youtube and type "helmet camera test" and you'll see loads.

I would refrain from reporting everything. Only report the serious stuff (like being buzzed at 40mph an inch from the handlebars, or if some plum tries to hit you with their monkey-fist)

That's not to say the footage cant be used for good. It can be used for campaign purposes, get in the papers and say "this has to stop". I also feel footage can be used to show WHY we cycle, show the fun, the weightloss, the time savings, etc.

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Lacticlegs [124 posts] 4 years ago
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37monkey...downfader - you have the most fitting names i've seen on this site yet.

There's something very amusing about the habit of internet chat-room wannabes (like yourselves), of trying to sound ever so well-informed, in-the-know and authoritative.

"The definition of weapon is defined by the intent, not the design"

WTF??

No no officer! That 12 inch knife I was carrying wasn't in fact against the law - because I didn't intend it to be used as a weapon. Nor that Uzi or hand-grenade.

Seriously?? You daft pillock...

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tired old fart [77 posts] 3 years ago
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37monkey wrote:
overshoot wrote:

GBH? Attempted murder would fit too. Lets imagine the bus, i.e. the weapon in this case, was a gun. A warning shot was fired, but missed and hit the victim. GBH or attempted murder?

A bus is a means of transport, a gun is a weapon I can't see how you can draw realistic parallels between the two? A custodial sentence for GBH would seem a fitting punishment.

both are tools of different occupations however the bus has clearly been used as a weapon therefore making it comparable to a gun.