No charges for road rage van driver who assaulted cyclist (+ video of incident)

YouTube footage shows van driver assaulting cyclist - but police say Home Offices guidelines leave them powerless to act

by Simon_MacMichael   April 23, 2013  

Road rage van driver (Black Country Bike Cam YouTube still)

A driver who assaulted a cyclist during a road rage incident will not be charged with an offence by West Midlands Police due to Home Office guidelines – despite the episode being caught on video and bearing strong similarities to one in south east London in 2011 which resulted in charges being brought and a conviction secured after footage was posted to road.cc.

Helmet-cam footage of the latest incident was posted to YouTube by the victim under the user name BlackCountryBikeCam, but was subsequently taken down, possibly as a result of a complaint from the van driver involved, reports BikeBiz. However, the video was mirrored by other users, who have reposted it.

The white van involved, registration number FP07KJN, can first be seen around 10 seconds in, pulling out of a yard, with the rider moving past it on the inside then ahead of it to get around a car that is being parked, although the queue of traffic ahead means that that manoeuvre would not have held up the van.

The rider, who is also on Twitter under the user name CCStev, said that he showed the footage to police, but they told him that Home Office rules meant they were unable to press charges, because the driver, after being made aware of the video, admitted his guilt, and had no previous convictions.

While the police insist their hands are tied, the cyclist is said to have been unhappy with the alternative provided – that he seek a “local resolution” with the motorist, although it is a course of action he has reluctantly accepted.

The van is operated by a Birmingham-based pet business, Weird and Wonderful of Birmingham, which has deleted its Facebook and Twitter accounts as a result of the complaints it was receiving from cyclists, as well as disabling the online feedback form on its website. An email from BikeBiz has gone unanswered.

According to CCStev, “The driver was not charged. He was brought in for interview and initially claimed provocation, that I kicked his van and kicked him in the chest.

“He changed his story when told there was video evidence. He still claimed I kicked him and the van and only after the officer pointed out that she couldn't see any of that, on his solicitor's advice he finally accepted full responsibility.

"Because he had no police record and admitted to the offence, under the ridiculous scoring system imposed on the police he was eligible for a caution.

“As the victim I was given the choice of the driver receiving a caution or I could accept a local resolution, the terms of which that I would receive an amount in compensation and a written apology. I'm far from happy about it but reluctantly accepted the resolution.

“I don't think the police are to blame but the decisions made by Government departments that govern them.

“This was a violent, unprovoked attack that has no place in society and I'm very disappointed and angry that the driver will not face criminal consequences."

In February, national cyclists’ organisation CTC launched a campaign urging cyclists to write to their local Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) asking them to make road safety a priority in their policing plans.

However, as this incident shows, Home Office red tape can mean that the hands of the police are tied.

95 user comments

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Really? What an idiot.

I have to say I rarely if ever under take on my bike . . . I just assume that some fool on a mobile phone will swing open a car or van door without looking. Ride defensive, ride smart. No excuses for this sub-human though.

mike_ibcyclist's picture

posted by mike_ibcyclist [36 posts]
24th April 2013 - 3:08

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MattT53 wrote:
Typical forum *&^% responses earlier to stumps who, given he's posting on here clearly is highly likely to ride a bike, actually takes some time to explain the process and gets that. Wow. Issues or what. Obviously Stumps must be personally responsible for the home office guidelines ...

Totally concur. Abuse of Stumpy in this case is unwarranted. He is not condoning the HO guidelines, just confirming them. He is bound by these in his job and it's not
a personal decision. I think he is owed an apology.

Though its not like I have never rubbed someone up the wrong way. Blushing

posted by Colin Peyresourde [1083 posts]
24th April 2013 - 5:23

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I'm sure they could have prosecuted him for something if they'd really wanted to (a charge relating to his driving for starters), it's just too much paperwork for them to bother with. As for him admitting the offence - well clearly he didn't until challenged on it twice, the fact he initially lied to the police should negate him being offered any leniency.
Seems he's married to the owner of the business he drives for so I'm guessing he won't be losing his job either, shame.
I hope the victim starts a civil case against him, there's just no way someone should get off with only a caution for such a blatant assault

posted by fuzzywuzzy [59 posts]
24th April 2013 - 7:39

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sam_everythingvelo wrote:
How is it possible that this guy has not been charged? It's just an excuse hiding behind red tape, surely. The guy is a danger to others and himself.

Ah, it would seem he has friends in the police service (not police force) a service in favour those who commit criminal acts.

what sort of message are the police giving society?

posted by Mostyn [400 posts]
24th April 2013 - 8:18

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I think we are all disgusted that this driver has got away with this...but because of helmet cameras, you tube, facebook and Road CC website this incident has been seen by thousands of people which I hope locally it could have a diverse effect on him and his business, lets be thank full the cyclist is still hear to show this incident.

posted by merckxman [34 posts]
24th April 2013 - 8:20

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@tired old fart If you want to vent do it somewhere else, we don't moderate comments or the forum and we don't have many commenting rules but not abusing other commenters is one of them.

At those that have been naming people they think might be connected with this company - you'd better be damn sure you're naming the right person and you'd better not name them on this website.

If you want to make your feelings on the matter known to the company do it yourself and don't try and stir up some digital lynch mob to hide behind.

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posted by Tony Farrelly [4132 posts]
24th April 2013 - 9:20

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It is a ridiculous set of circumstances that an innocent individual cannot rely on the police and legal system to protect them and even worse for society that we have white man van getting away with such a clearly evidenced assault. I feel terrible for the cyclist and only hope that one day the driver realises what an idiot he is.

posted by Valkyrie [5 posts]
24th April 2013 - 9:46

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Definitely needs to be a bit more calm in here. Getting angry about this sort of thing is entirely natural - my first reaction to seeing that video was "I'd love to stand up to that little man" but I'm not sure how good I'd actually be at that. I'm 31 years old and only once have I been punched in the face as an adult, in a somewhat bizarre and hilarious late night incident.
The closest I've since come to violence has been on the roads.... strange men who seem to think that because they're driving a motorised vehicle, they can treat other road users with utter contempt. Never had a woman driver threaten me with violence, unless she's been in a car driven by her other half, in which case the threats and language have been rather extreme.
Luckily, it doesn't happen too often.

Anyway, the rather long winded point I'm trying to make is that reacting back with anger doesn't do anything to help the situation. It leaves both parties feeling worse. It's really, really hard to do when you've almost been knocked off, but approaching someone in a calm way and telling them that what they just did was wrong can often make people stop and think. Obviously it wouldn't work in this situation; the rider reacted only in fear after being pushed and kicked, didn't have a chance to talk to the crazed idiot.
However, the driver's behaviour shouldn't make us summon up an internet lynch mob. That really doesn't help the cause of road cycling at all.

posted by bashthebox [617 posts]
24th April 2013 - 10:01

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There's obviously a lot of strong feeling about this and it's easy to see why. If you want to make a real difference why not put together a petition to send to the Home Office suggesting that they amend their guidlines? As pointed out by others already all of this internet bitching doesn't do anything to change the world that we live in.

posted by Matt eaton [298 posts]
24th April 2013 - 10:38

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stumps wrote:
No previous convictions mean he is entitled to a caution if he admits the offence, its not mumbo jumbo its what we, as Police officers, have to abide by.

Civil proceedings can still be taken out which is not a Police matter.

Exactly what Thames Valley Police said to me when I was assaulted by Timothy Denman. I spent many hours and some expense getting a Judgment against him and then with the support of CTC engaged solicitors to enforce it. He made an application to the Court to pay at a derisory rate which the Court granted and failed to make him pay any of my lawyers' costs. The result is that taking civil proceedings was completely uneconomic.
http://thecyclingsilk.blogspot.co.uk/2012/09/the-timothy-denman-saga-dra...
I do wish the police would stop saying 'We will not do anything, but never mind you can always sue.'
On whether hands are tied the 'Gravity Factors Matrix' allows account to be taken of the vulnerability of the victim. There is huge discretion here. How many rioters were cautioned after an admitted first offence? Answer: none, all prosecuted.
Where there is a will there is a way.
Sadly there is no will.

posted by cyclinglawyer [9 posts]
24th April 2013 - 10:56

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I remember a similar incident that didn't make the papers. Guy cut up cyclist, stopped car got out and took a swing at him. Chap took the punch and went down. He then stood up, all 6'5" of him and bounced the man of the car bonnet (several times). Oddly the incident was never reported to the police. I happened to be in the group just behind him.

When the Police act like this it is natural that people will seek other means of recourse. Devil

Angelfishsolo's picture

posted by Angelfishsolo [104 posts]
24th April 2013 - 11:20

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cyclinglawyer wrote:
stumps wrote:
No previous convictions mean he is entitled to a caution if he admits the offence, its not mumbo jumbo its what we, as Police officers, have to abide by.

Civil proceedings can still be taken out which is not a Police matter.

Exactly what Thames Valley Police said to me when I was assaulted by Timothy Denman. I spent many hours and some expense getting a Judgment against him and then with the support of CTC engaged solicitors to enforce it. He made an application to the Court to pay at a derisory rate which the Court granted and failed to make him pay any of my lawyers' costs. The result is that taking civil proceedings was completely uneconomic.
http://thecyclingsilk.blogspot.co.uk/2012/09/the-timothy-denman-saga-dra...
I do wish the police would stop saying 'We will not do anything, but never mind you can always sue.'
On whether hands are tied the 'Gravity Factors Matrix' allows account to be taken of the vulnerability of the victim. There is huge discretion here. How many rioters were cautioned after an admitted first offence? Answer: none, all prosecuted.
Where there is a will there is a way.
Sadly there is no will.

It does seem that if you wish to harm someone, make sure they are on a bicycle.

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posted by Angelfishsolo [104 posts]
24th April 2013 - 11:21

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Matt eaton wrote:
There's obviously a lot of strong feeling about this and it's easy to see why. If you want to make a real difference why not put together a petition to send to the Home Office suggesting that they amend their guidlines? As pointed out by others already all of this internet bitching doesn't do anything to change the world that we live in.

http://road.cc/content/news/81522-get-britain-cycling-report-will-recomm...

Angelfishsolo's picture

posted by Angelfishsolo [104 posts]
24th April 2013 - 11:22

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I had that discussion with a police person - I had been cut up twice in the same journey but the same taxi - he had not been able to compute that a cyclist might choose to ride on the right and chose to express his inability to understand with close passes and swearing... I was discussing this with him when the police person came along...

The police person started by telling me off for being aggressive and pointed out how old the taxi driver was... as if that was in any way relevant...

I suggested to him that he was there to help in situations just like this and that I would like him to remind the taxi driver not to use his car to make up for his lack of intellect

the police person looked dumbfounded at this point too...

I suggested to him that in the event of him not, even a little, reminding the taxi driver that behaving that way is dangerous - then if he did not mind - I would like to go over there and hit him... 2 tonnes of car v my fist I felt was fair...

he threatened to arrest me

I told him he was an utter waist of my tax payers money and went for my train

yes - if nothing is done the whole point of the police is removed and the only way to feel a sense of justice is to exact it in the moment

other police people have told me in similar circumstances that they are not that bothered unless I was dead or seriously injured - however stories abound in this site alone would suggest thats not true...

posted by silkred [14 posts]
24th April 2013 - 11:33

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stumps wrote:
No previous convictions mean he is entitled to a caution if he admits the offence, its not mumbo jumbo its what we, as Police officers, have to abide by.

Civil proceedings can still be taken out which is not a Police matter.

Yes stumps we do, he is entitled to a caution if the inspector authorizes it. but given the gravity of the act, and the fact that there appears to be no remorse then there should be a predilection to charge. The problem is now that means the officer in case (oic) will have to compile a file. As there's been an admission CPS don't need to be consulted. If I'm honest this looks like a case of the oic taking the easiest route to a detection. A community resolution is much less paperwork, and to a less than dedicated police officer still a detection, which they will be measured on as part of their performance.
HOWEVER policy dictates that the victim MUST agree to the resolution. I am seeing more and more cases of officers "pushing" community resolution on victims as its easier for them than doing a file and going to court. THIS IS WRONG, we're supposed to support victims aren't we?
If this was me I'd be making an official complaint about the officer (dereliction of duty maybe?)

posted by swampy [2 posts]
24th April 2013 - 12:03

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I know of plenty of people taken to court for much less than this. The police/CPS are just plain lazy. To busy polishing their shoes and ironing their shirts so they look nice.

Get out and ride

posted by davidtcycle [62 posts]
24th April 2013 - 12:14

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colinth wrote:
I have no previous convictions. The next time someone nearly hits me because he's gone through a red light or is driving like an idiot, can I drag him out of his car and punch him ? I'll admit it and won't mind taking a caution ? Can I, please ??

As much as I'd like to hear of this happening I wish you the best of luck. But as cyclists seem to be regarded as second class citizens I can't see you only getting a slap on the wrist.
The expression 'Police and Easy Targets' comes to mind.

K Stand Ken

posted by K Stand Ken [41 posts]
24th April 2013 - 12:34

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swampy wrote:
stumps wrote:
No previous convictions mean he is entitled to a caution if he admits the offence, its not mumbo jumbo its what we, as Police officers, have to abide by.

Civil proceedings can still be taken out which is not a Police matter.

Yes stumps we do, he is entitled to a caution if the inspector authorizes it. but given the gravity of the act, and the fact that there appears to be no remorse then there should be a predilection to charge. The problem is now that means the officer in case (oic) will have to compile a file. As there's been an admission CPS don't need to be consulted. If I'm honest this looks like a case of the oic taking the easiest route to a detection. A community resolution is much less paperwork, and to a less than dedicated police officer still a detection, which they will be measured on as part of their performance.
HOWEVER policy dictates that the victim MUST agree to the resolution. I am seeing more and more cases of officers "pushing" community resolution on victims as its easier for them than doing a file and going to court. THIS IS WRONG, we're supposed to support victims aren't we?
If this was me I'd be making an official complaint about the officer (dereliction of duty maybe?)

Well said. Cyclists cycling near Olympic Park - Kettled, arrested, held overnight, charged and a few convicted of 'public order offences'. A huge amount of police, court and innocent people's time wasted but it appears the police had the resources available. Violent and unprovoked assault - caution. Nothing to see here folks, he's only a cyclist.

posted by Coleman [329 posts]
24th April 2013 - 13:22

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Leave it Stumpy! He ain't wirth it! Big Grin

Hopefully now Daddy Tony's weighed in all those burning torches can be put out and the pitchforks put away?

The guy should be charged. As for his poor wife - she's got a life sentence already with that little man. Poor woman.

Silly me. You're probably right....

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posted by MercuryOne [1031 posts]
24th April 2013 - 14:05

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Baffling how the police / CPS / Home Office can get away with this, they seem to be wishing the problem would go away.

This driver will think he can go ahead and do this again.

posted by northstar [1083 posts]
24th April 2013 - 14:11

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In an ideal world that person would listen to your remonstrations, realise the error of their ways and apologise.

Everytime I try this I get more abuse. The last guy threatened to get out of his car and 'beat my head in' because he was 'a cyclist too'.

Your safety is paramount and if someone has already hit you they will carry on hitting you and other people unless you stop them. Turning the other cheek often leaves you with a broken cheek. I'd rather have a broken bike than a facial injury and anyone decked with a bike is more likely to leave cyclists alone in future.

Silly me. You're probably right....

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posted by MercuryOne [1031 posts]
24th April 2013 - 14:15

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You only have to see a previous roadcc story to realise what action the police would have taken if the cyclist had clocked the van driver.
http://road.cc/content/news/80715-yorkshire-cyclist-convicted-assault-va...

Probably note even 2nd class citizens

Angry

paulw

posted by wmpmw02 [21 posts]
24th April 2013 - 14:41

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wmpmw02 wrote:
You only have to see a previous roadcc story to realise what action the police would have taken if the cyclist had clocked the van driver.
http://road.cc/content/news/80715-yorkshire-cyclist-convicted-assault-va...

Probably note even 2nd class citizens

Angry

Here...

Quote:
A Yorkshire cyclist has been convicted of assault after magistrates rejected his claim that he was acting in self defence during an altercation with a van driver whom he said had passed too close to him while he was out riding.

Christopher Alan Wade, aged 48 and from Keighley, told the court that after he had banged the side of the van due to it being too close to him as he rode along Keighley Road in Skipton on 9 November last year, reports the Bradford Telegraph & Argus.

He said that the driver, Jeffrey Walker, had then bitten him on the hand, but the magistrates rejected the cyclist’s claim that he had acted in self-defence in striking the van driver.

Alistair Geldhardt, a friend and Wade and also a cyclist, described him as a “gentleman” and told the court of his support for the Dave Rayner Fund, which since 1996 has helped fund aspiring riders including many who have gone on to succesful pro careers including David Millar, Russ Downing, Emma Trott and Dani King.

The magistrates fined Wade £400 and he was also told to pay £100 compensation to Mr Walker as well as £300 in court costs and a victim surcharge of £40.

Nic

posted by nbrus [279 posts]
24th April 2013 - 18:12

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Interestingly, their facebook and twitter accounts have been deleted. I'd imagine they got some quite damaging attention on social media

posted by atlaz [152 posts]
25th April 2013 - 8:56

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Can i just point out a couple of points please.

Firstly an Inspector does not have to authorise a caution, its the custody Sgts decision.

Secondly: it depends on the gravity of the offence as to whether you get a caution regardless of previous character. This incident i believe would be a common assault, although very unpleasant its the bottom rung of the assault offence scale.

Finally, all of you on here who have had a pop at the Police in general, thats your opinion and thankfully we still live in a country where these comments can be made. I hold no animosity towards anyone on here, despite some of the comments made, because basically i wont drop to that level.

I enjoy good banter and arguement, its good for the soul, and long may it continue Big Grin

If you must break the law, do it to seize power: in all other cases observe it. Gaius Julius Caesar.

stumps's picture

posted by stumps [2667 posts]
25th April 2013 - 18:32

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Defiant and wrong until the end it seems?

posted by northstar [1083 posts]
26th April 2013 - 5:33

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northstar wrote:
Defiant and wrong until the end it seems?

You seriously need some help mate. Before you accuse people of being wrong i suggest you check your facts because at the moment you are only making yourself look like a complete prat.

If you must break the law, do it to seize power: in all other cases observe it. Gaius Julius Caesar.

stumps's picture

posted by stumps [2667 posts]
26th April 2013 - 20:28

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I rest my case, resorting to "insults" now it seems?

posted by northstar [1083 posts]
27th April 2013 - 0:03

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stumps wrote:
northstar wrote:
Defiant and wrong until the end it seems?

You seriously need some help mate. Before you accuse people of being wrong i suggest you check your facts because at the moment you are only making yourself look like a complete prat.


[[[[ 'Allo, 'allo, STUMPIO! You said you wouldn't stoop to such language---but you do, don't you? Every bit as snarly as your accusers. Not when you're driving though, eh?
P.R.

PhilRuss

posted by PhilRuss [268 posts]
27th April 2013 - 0:42

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"The law is an Ass..."

Meaning:

Said of the application of the law that is contrary to common sense.

http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/the-law-is-an-ass.html

Nic

posted by nbrus [279 posts]
27th April 2013 - 9:38

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