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Admitted shouting and pulling over 'because they weren't single file' but said he didn't drive at them...

A former Radio Newcastle DJ has received a six-month ban and a £500 fine after he drove his van at two off-duty policemen on bicycles.

Paul Wappat, 50, was driving on the B1319 in North Tyneside when he passed Ronnie Lowes and David Slade, who were riding two abreast.

Mr Lowes said that Wappat's flatbed van passed within inches of his shoulder causing him to wobble and nearly fall off.

Then, Newcastle Crown Court heard, Wappat stopped and reversed back towards the cyclists.

When one of the officers tried to get close to the van to speak with the driver, he turned right sharply and forced the rider to abandon his bike and jump onto the verge, according to Chronicle News.

Wappat was charged with dangerous driving,  but a jury cleared him of the charge and instead found him guilty of the lesser offence of careless driving.

He admitted verbally abusing the cyclists but said he did not drive at them.

He told police: “Maybe I was daft for pulling over and shouting abuse, but there’s no way I would deliberately aim a vehicle at someone.”

Recorder Jeremy Freedman told Wappat: “To my mind this was a very bad piece of driving. You did put the health and safety of those two cyclists at risk.

“The fine is £500. In addition, because I regard this as the most severe example I’ve ever come across of careless driving, there has to be a period of disqualification.”

 

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.

22 comments

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andybnk [97 posts] 3 years ago
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So even when it happens to the police the court system still goes soft on aggressive drivers!

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PaulVWatts [111 posts] 3 years ago
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Two witnesses both coppers and they take the word of the single driver over the witnesses! Abandon hope all geordie cyclists.

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CraigS [129 posts] 3 years ago
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andybnk wrote:

So even when it happens to the police the court system still goes soft on aggressive drivers!

Would anything at all have happened though had they not been police officers?

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cidermart [488 posts] 3 years ago
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I would like to think it would but I very much have my doubts.

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antonio [1119 posts] 3 years ago
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Obviously the 'Twelve good men and true' were not.

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gb901 [149 posts] 3 years ago
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And police officers never exaggerate or adulterate the truth?

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shay cycles [320 posts] 3 years ago
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Can't quite see what is careless about driving past really close and then stopping to verbally abuse the cyclists. The first act was clearly dangerous driving as he meant to do it and the second act of verbally abusing (his own words) is surely a public order offence.

About time miscreant motorists got treated as such!

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AWPeleton [3277 posts] 3 years ago
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Both officers are friends of mine and to say they would lie or fabricate evidence is an insult and a bloody disgrace.

Some of the earlier comments here are beyond belief and utter crap.  14

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giff77 [1232 posts] 3 years ago
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As CraigS says, would this actually have got as far as the courts if the cyclists had not been police? I was narrowly missed by a bus the other day - inches to spare. On catching up at the bus stop and challenging him, he claimed to have given me plenty of room. That I needed my eyes tested and was a danger to myself! On reporting the incident to the police was told they couldn't do anything about it.

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AWPeleton [3277 posts] 3 years ago
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giff77 - any witnesses ? If not you've got no chance of getting it past the cps, we cant even get domestic assaults run if there are no witnesses  14 .

If there were 2 + then its a runner.

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spen [127 posts] 3 years ago
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Go back and cite this case as support for a charge and then don't hold your breath  2

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STATO [497 posts] 3 years ago
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giff77, report it to the bus company, most busses have CCTV now and they will review the tapes if you report it to reprimand the driver.

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partsandlabour [32 posts] 3 years ago
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I had a motorist drive his car at me in feb in Gateshead after some heated words when he nearly took me off. Then he actually got out of the car and tried to a swings at me then kicked my back wheel as he left, warping it badly. Despite Northumbria Police collecting CCTV footage from cameras on a bus and outside a pub, plus a witness statement from a taxi driver which all showed this, the driver got off scot-free??

I now wish I'd pursued this more, but I had the feeling I was p**sing against the wind. The particular officer involved clearly could not see the seriousness of what had happened.

Disgraceful behaviour from Wappat. It has similarities to what happened to me though despite the evidence, my assailant did not receive a £500 fine or a ban?? Actually it sounds like what happened to me was a worse encounter.

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giff77 [1232 posts] 3 years ago
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@ Stumps and Stato. I'm hoping that the cameras on the bus will highlight how close he was as there was no one walking past at the time. The driver also saaid he didn't give a rat's arse about the camera!! The crazy thing is that if I was in a car he would never have attempted the overtake. Am going to go back and try and get them to have a look at the footage. Hopefully something will come about. Looks like a helmet cam is on the xmas wish list now.

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doc [167 posts] 3 years ago
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Once attended a court case for dangerous driving, at a crwon court. The defendant walked, despite the clear evidence. Comment (ironic) from a police sgt on the case, "what do you expect, in this city (in the midlands)they are mostly drivers, 50% illiterate, and 50% illegitamate", so conviction is unlikely as they can all see themselves in the dock sometime...

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a.jumper [846 posts] 3 years ago
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STATO wrote:

giff77, report it to the bus company, most busses have CCTV now and they will review the tapes if you report it to reprimand the driver.

Anyone actually tried this and succeeded? Didn't work for me. No reply from the bus company. I have my own camera, but its footage is inconclusive - someone stopped in front of it at a crucial moment - but it did give me the bus name, number and registration plate.

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kie7077 [861 posts] 3 years ago
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6 months ban, what's with judges?  7

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AWPeleton [3277 posts] 3 years ago
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giff77 wrote:

@ Stumps and Stato. I'm hoping that the cameras on the bus will highlight how close he was as there was no one walking past at the time. The driver also saaid he didn't give a rat's arse about the camera!! The crazy thing is that if I was in a car he would never have attempted the overtake. Am going to go back and try and get them to have a look at the footage. Hopefully something will come about. Looks like a helmet cam is on the xmas wish list now.

Good luck mate, i honestly hope you get somewhere with it. Bus drivers and taxi drivers are my pet hate whilst at work  14

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Bigpikle [91 posts] 3 years ago
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a few months ago we had a traffic police car pass our club ride so close you could touch it and then cut up the front riders int he group - on a main road with loads of clear space to pass.

This stuff happens all day every day sadly...  2

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formereve [61 posts] 3 years ago
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I have a copper friend who had a bus take him out. He was close to a central refuge with a cycle lane going through it. He was right on the line which is positioned about 1/3 of total width of the space.

The bus or more correctly I should say coach went for the gap at the same time as my mate and his handlebars got trapped in a pole on the outside of the bus that acts as one of the pivots for the door.

He was flipped 360 through the air and landed on his back but fortunately he had a backpack on at the time. He was travelling at about 26mph at the time and sustained injuries that kept him off work for about 4 months I think (could have been a lot worse)

The coach had cameras on the side but it takes shots on a time delay and at intervals NOT as a video. You could see my mate coming off but not the coach coming through the gap BEHIND him.

To top all this the insurance company concerned are still fighting tooth and nail after 2 years NOT to pay out even conducting surveillance on him to "PROVE" hes making a fraudulent claim.

Sorry Guys but there is no justice for us cyclists where RTC's are concerened

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SideBurn [890 posts] 3 years ago
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Surely these are issues that we should be bringing to the attention of our new Police Commissioners? I have already, and, of course, he has not bothered to reply(Tony Hogg) suspect he is too busy choosing a nice big expensive car.... what a waste of space.

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giff77 [1232 posts] 3 years ago
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Waved in two cycle cops on way home from work. They took a statement from me and are going to chase it up. Here's hoping something will come out of it. Felt that there was more empathy from them than from a cadet or desk sergeant at the station