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18-year-old Essex man allegedly swerved into path of bus; arrested on suspicion of involuntary GBH & dangerous cycling

An 18-year-old man from Essex whom police say swerved into the path of a bus, forcing the driver to make an emergency stop that led to a 90-year-old male passenger falling and sustaining life-threatening head injuries, has been arrested on suspicion of assault [see update, below] and dangerous cycling.

Police say that the incident happened at 10.45 on Saturday morning on North Avenue Chelmsford, with the cyclist fleeing the scene on foot prior to officers arriving, leaving behind his bike, which had been damaged in the collision with the bus.

Officers from Essex Police’s Serious Collision Investigation unit subsequently traced the man concerned.

A police spokesman quoted on ITV Anglia News said: "The allegation is that the cyclist caused the bus driver to brake heavily and as a result the passenger was injured - that could constitute assault."

Update: Chris Gurton, the grandson of the injured man has been in touch to let us know the full details, as he has them. They're posted on his blog, and reproduced below:

My Grandparents had been on the bus on the way back home from town on Saturday morning. They were sitting on the front row of seats on the bus. The ones that are usually signed as priority seats for the elderly and women with pushchairs. Ironically, it turns out that one of these seats is probably the most unsafe seat on the bus. Suddenly the bus had to perform an emergency stop out of the blue without warning. My Grandad was sitting on the seat nearest the isle. The luggage rack in front of them only covered the side my Grandma was sitting, therefore there was nothing in front of the seat on my Grandad’s side. The force of the emergency stop sent my him flying forward and crashing into the front of the bus beside the driver, head first.

The reason for the emergency stop was a teenager on his bike who rode out in front of the bus without warning or without looking, backed up by witness accounts and CCTV footage. The lad on the bike came off his bike but was generally ok. He had picked up his bike and moved to the roadside as a crowd of people gathered. Unfortunately, my Grandad wasn’t so lucky. He hit his head with such force, it had been cut open and was bleeding badly. The impact also broke his neck leaving him unconscious. According to the Doctors at the hospital, the neck break trapped a nerve which stopped him breathing and he also suffered a heart attack.

Thankfully an ambulance and paramedic arrived quickly after the bus driver had immediately called 999. On their arrival they rushed went to the cyclist to treat him. It was a witness who shouted at them to leave the cyclist as he was ok and deal with my Grandad on the bus. The paramedic took one look at him and immediately an Air Ambulance was called for and further assistance. The Air Ambulance bought a team of specialists who set about stitching up my Grandad’s head on site to try and avoid him needing a blood transfusion as he was losing a lot of blood.

By this time, the teenager, upon realising what had actually happened, left the scene. Police took witness statements and photographed the scene by which time my Grandad had been rushed to hospital. As I write this he is currently in an induced coma in intensive care so you can imagine this is quite difficult for me to write. But I feel I should, mainly to clear up a lot of confusion.

The incident has been reported in the local newspapers, on local radio and on some websites. However the report is rather vague and states the Cyclist was arrested and charged with assault, despite not really saying what happened. This has led to some people questioning why the cyclist was arrested for assault and questioning why my Grandad was standing up and why the bus driver was driving while he was standing up.

So I now need to clear a few more things up. I too initially assumed my Grandad was standing up at the time of the incident but as explained earlier and backed up by many witnesses, this was not the case. The driver did nothing wrong. In fact, he did everything right, including calling for an Ambulance extremely quickly. Even witnesses stated his reactions to the cyclist were lighting fast. I have nothing but sympathy for him as it has been quite a distressing experience to deal with. As for the lad on the bike, Police arrested him after he had fled the scene and appealed for him to come forward. Thanks to eye witness reports and the Bus’s CCTV footage he was charged with Dangerous Cycling and Involuntary GBH.

Some people may think this is pretty harsh or unfair, but evidence proves he was entirely at fault and caused the incident. I will openly admit it is quite a freak accident, but one that could have been avoided had he been paying attention and riding correctly within the law. After all, if a car driver caused a serious accident by pulling out in front of someone, they too would be charged by the police.

Hopefully this will give a clearer picture of what happened and you can understand why the cyclist has been charged and why I am glad he has been. The lad probably will deny any wrong doing and I’m pretty sure isn’t the kind of cyclist who rides for exercise and competition like many do who I will admit are generally courteous and respectful of the road laws. I use the word ‘generally’ though as there is one more incident I want to highlight.

You can imagine my shock and disgust the very next day after my Grandad’s incident. I was driving back from work when a Cyclist from Boxford Bike Club rode out of a side road in front of me without looking causing me to brake hard. He seemed oblivious to what he did and I was shocked and appalled at what had happened. I know he was a Cyclist from Boxford Bike Club as it was written on his Jersey. Perhaps that club needs to educate its members and tell them the consequences of their ignorant actions.

So I urge all cyclists, PLEASE take responsibility for your riding. Respect the road laws and highway code. I know some drivers can be a menace to cyclists, but make sure you are not at fault. We ALL need to take responsibility when out on the road whatever mode of transport we are using. I will continue to defend cyclists against rude and ignorant drivers, but I will not defend those at fault. That includes those who ride through red lights. You give all of us who enjoy riding bikes a bad name and if you get hit by a vehicle in the process of ignoring traffic signals you have only got yourself to blame.

Finally, I wish to thank all the Doctors, Nurses and Staff at Queen’s Hospital in Romford who are currently looking after my Grandad and Essex Police for all their efforts and for so kindly looking after my Grandma until my Dad could be with her.

I hope my Grandad will make a full recovery soon.

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.

75 comments

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Goldfever4 [224 posts] 3 years ago
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Very stupid by the sounds of things, and very sad for the innocent passenger (and the driver must have freaked too), but I'm not convinced a dumbass manoeuvre by a teenager on a bike constitutes assault...

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Bez [599 posts] 3 years ago
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Assault? ASSAULT?

Did someone put some acid in my coffee?

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Steve_S_T [36 posts] 3 years ago
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Assault does seem to be an inappropriate description, just hope the injured gent pulls through.

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Pierre [97 posts] 3 years ago
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Doesn't assault need intent? IANAL but I think to prosecute, it would have to be proved that the cyclist intended to harm the old gent - who, I hope, makes a full recovery.

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LondonCalling [149 posts] 3 years ago
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Assault??? Bollocks! Funny how a guy was FILMXED assaulting a cyclist and the poli e did fuck all about it. Only when the video went viral and was shown in the news they dragged their lazy arses. But they didn't arrest him nor charged him with assault! One rule for them.....

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mrchrispy [471 posts] 3 years ago
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+1 with the above but also....wtf was a 90 year old guy standing on a bus for in the first place (I 'm assuming he was standing as he fell). If he was the other passangers should be ashamed as unless the bus was full of 91 years someone shoud have given him a seat.

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pjt201 [101 posts] 3 years ago
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if it was a car which caused this would the driver be charged with assault? (honest question, not taking the pee)

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Mart [110 posts] 3 years ago
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Safety belts (and helmets) for people riding on the bus? By law you have to wear one in just about any other vehicle. Assault = no, Dangerous riding = possibly. Should busses have front and rear camera?
Hope the guy pulls through.

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md6 [181 posts] 3 years ago
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what a knob, why would anyone do that? Can only hope the injured gent pulls through. I'm not really sure it counts as assault as bloody stupid and dangerous as it was.

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dp24 [201 posts] 3 years ago
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I can't believe the Police will be stupid enough to actually charge him with assault.

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STATO [509 posts] 3 years ago
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mrchrispy wrote:

+1 with the above but also....wtf was a 90 year old guy standing on a bus for in the first place (I 'm assuming he was standing as he fell). If he was the other passangers should be ashamed as unless the bus was full of 91 years someone shoud have given him a seat.

Old people are always standing up on busses, usually for 1 of 2 reasons.

They are infirm and therefore slow, and feel they need to be considerate to others by reducing the time the bus is stopped.

Or they are impatient and insist on standing and queing to get off the bus first.

This is all besides the point tho, the article dosnt state the passenger was standing, merely that they were flung to the floor. No seatbelt + sudden unexpected stop = thrown forwards.

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tom_w [205 posts] 3 years ago
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Without knowing why the rider swerved there's little to say really.

Does beg the question of how much room the bus was giving him, Highway Code Rule 163 and all that.

However, the most important thing is to hope that the injured chap recovers.

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Niallsimpson [3 posts] 3 years ago
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Yeah, if I'm in a car behind someone who brakes suddenly for no reason I'M the one who is deemed to be at fault - that's why there are so many fraudulent insurance claims for that exact scenario - as for charging with assault... WTF!!!

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farrell [1950 posts] 3 years ago
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If this guy has been hit by a bus, why has he ditched his bike and got off? Sounds suspect. But then so does the fact he's been pulled for assault.

Whatever the reasons, or lack thereof, I hope the old boy pulls through for a full recovery.

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racingcondor [195 posts] 3 years ago
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Assault seems more than a little odd.

Unless there's video footage we don't even know if it was poor cycling or poor driving that caused it (without footage we don't even know IF the cyclist swerved, it could be a scared bus driver trying not to lose his job and no evidence to contradict his statement). Seems unlikely to have been deliberate since it sounds like it resulted in a collision and a trashed bike. Should have waited for the police though...

Whatever happened, hope the injured guy recovers fully.

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kie7077 [879 posts] 3 years ago
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well I hope they have proper evidence, I was badly tailgated by a bus, I slowed down very gradually as per highway code, the bus driver got too close, panicked and stomped on the brakes, I was about to have words with him but he went to see if the few passengers on the bus were ok snd no doubt blamed me for being in front of his bus...
and...

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mrmo [2088 posts] 3 years ago
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hmm, too many unknowns, but what was the cyclist doing that the driver wasn't aware of their presence? You are taught to watch for things, to be aware of your surroundings.

18yr old prat on the pavement, well they are always just riding straight off. So yes a bus COULD have to brake, but...

And if we reverse the situation. bus overtakes then suddenly pulls into busstop causing me to have to brake heavily, resulting in me dropping the bike on a wet muddy road? is that assault as well? Or is it only assualt if a cyclist does it?

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jacknorell [971 posts] 3 years ago
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There's something screwy with this story.

Hope the old guy makes a full recovery.

Yes, buses should have front & rear cameras. If they can fit 9 of the things inside each (London at least) bus, some external ones aren't exactly a stretch. That way we'll also have proof of bad driving by buses when we get hit as drivers, cyclists, or pedestrians.

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crazy-legs [796 posts] 3 years ago
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Quote:

Or is it only assualt if a cyclist does it?

Only if it's a cyclist.

It's a well-known fact that drivers can do no wrong and that the cyclist is at fault simply for thinking about travelling by bike that day and causing the poor innocent hard-done-by driver to crash into him.

If it wasn't for those pesky cyclists there would actually be world peace and harmony.

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Stumps [3357 posts] 3 years ago
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Switch this around and its the cyclist who gets hurt by the bus nearly 90% on here would be up in arms wanting the blood of the driver,

YET,

when its the cyclist at fault there must be mitigating circumstances etc etc etc etc. No wonder the public get p*ssed off with us. It beggars belief it really does.

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crazy-legs [796 posts] 3 years ago
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Quote:

when its the cyclist at fault there must be mitigating circumstances etc etc etc etc. No wonder the public get p*ssed off with us. It beggars belief it really does.

Don't really think anyone is saying that, it just seems very strange to charge the cyclist with assault? Unless he actually got on board the bus and twatted the guy after the accident?

No details at all - why did the cyclist swerve? Was it some "chav on a bike" who shot out of a side road, jumped the pavement without looking or was it what most on here would call a "proper cyclist" who moved a foot to the right to avoid a pothole?

If the latter, why was the bus that close to him?
Why was the passenger stood up?

There's just no detail to go on but compare it to the case a few months ago where a cyclist was hit by an opening car door (illegally tinted), went under the wheels of a following bus (too close) and yet it was still the cyclist's fault! You can understand why some people react as they do to hearing that the cyclist has automatically been declared at fault (even though we don't know the full circumstances).

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sfichele [141 posts] 3 years ago
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I used to commute down the tram line in Sheffield. One day a bus began pulling out and I thought he was about to cut me up. I swerved right, after passing the bus I lost control because my back wheel got stuck in the tram track and I was flung over the handlebars and broke my rib.

By the above logic this is assault, right?

oh yeah, bus driver didnt stop

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ct [178 posts] 3 years ago
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First off, I truly hope the injured gent makes a full recovery.

Is there no longer such a thing as an accident? And it would appear the bus hit the cyclist...if his bike was damaged beyond riding...

But, again, we don't know the facts here...is this where I get all raged up at the injustice of it all?

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Bez [599 posts] 3 years ago
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According to the injured man's grandson, the second charge is involuntary GBH, not assault:

https://twitter.com/ChrisGurton/status/364727411276922880

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farrell [1950 posts] 3 years ago
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stumps wrote:

Switch this around and its the cyclist who gets hurt by the bus nearly 90% on here would be up in arms wanting the blood of the driver,

YET,

when its the cyclist at fault there must be mitigating circumstances etc etc etc etc. No wonder the public get p*ssed off with us. It beggars belief it really does.

I've just scanned back through the thread and I cant find anything like this.

In fact, there are more people suggesting the cyclist is a fault, or indeed a "dumbass".

Most right thinking people are wondering how being punched, spat at, having things thrown at you, having cars driven in to you deliberately etc is seemingly never ever classed as assault, even if its all clearly caught on camera but getting yourself hit by a bus is.

EDIT - Just seen the above post. The point still stands though, if a non-motorist can be pulled on a GBH charge why not motorists?

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teamjon [28 posts] 3 years ago
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Thought this would be helpful - it is lifted direct from the CPS website. I picked s.20 GBH to reflect the level of injuries I'm guessing the poor old chap has sustained if his injuries are life threatening. Praying he recovers.

"Unlawful wounding/inflicting grievous bodily harm, contrary to section 20 of the Act
This offence is committed when a person unlawfully and maliciously, either:

wounds another person; or
inflicts grievous bodily harm upon another person.
It is an either way offence, which carries a maximum penalty on indictment of five years' imprisonment and/or an unlimited fine. Summarily, the maximum penalty is six months' imprisonment and/or a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum.

Wounding means the breaking of the continuity of the whole of the outer skin, or the inner skin within the cheek or lip. It does not include the rupturing of internal blood vessels.

The definition of wounding may encompass injuries that are relatively minor in nature, for example a small cut or laceration. An assault resulting in such minor injuries should more appropriately be charged as Common Assault or, where a sentence of more than 6 months' imprisonment is likely, ABH. An offence contrary to section 20 should be reserved for those wounds considered to be really serious (thus equating the offence with the infliction of grievous, or serious, bodily harm under the other part of the section).

Grievous bodily harm means really serious bodily harm. It is for the jury to decide whether the harm is really serious. However, examples of what would usually amount to really serious harm include:

injury resulting in permanent disability, loss of sensory function or visible disfigurement;
broken or displaced limbs or bones, including fractured skull, compound fractures, broken cheek bone, jaw, ribs, etc;
injuries which cause substantial loss of blood, usually necessitating a transfusion or result in lengthy treatment or incapacity;
serious psychiatric injury. As with assault occasioning actual bodily harm, appropriate expert evidence is essential to prove the injury
In accordance with the recommendation in R v McCready (1978) 1 WLR 1376, if there is any reliable evidence that a sufficiently serious wound has been inflicted, then the charge under section 20 should be of unlawful wounding, rather than of inflicting grievous bodily harm. Where both a wound and grievous bodily harm have been inflicted, discretion should be used in choosing which part of section 20 more appropriately reflects the true nature of the offence.

The prosecution must prove under section 20 that either the defendant intended, or actually foresaw, that the act might cause some harm. It is not necessary to prove that the defendant either intended or foresaw that the unlawful act might cause physical harm of the gravity described in section 20. It is enough that the defendant foresaw some physical harm to some person, albeit of a minor character, might result: (R v Savage; DPP v Parmenter [1992] 1 A.C 699)."

Google the case law above - e-lawresources.co.uk has the relevant cases. The upshot is "It was not necessary to demonstrate the defendant had the mens rea in relation to level of harm inflicted. It was sufficient that they intended or could foresee that some harm will result". "Mens rea" means 'guilty mind'/'intent'

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swelbo [33 posts] 3 years ago
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So tired, so very tired..

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Bez [599 posts] 3 years ago
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farrell wrote:

The point still stands though, if a non-motorist can be pulled on a GBH charge why not motorists?

I'm aware of one case in which a motorist was charged with (and found guilty of) GBH; which is that of Carl Baxter, who intentionally reversed his vehicle at speed into a man and his daughter who were respectively on a bicycle and in a trailer.

Clearly a very different case to someone on a bike recklessly (not that we know the details) appearing in front of a bus - though presumably Baxter was convicted for voluntary, rather than involuntary, harm.

The main question for me here is along these lines:

Either there was intent to injure the unfortunate victim - which seems rather unlikely, in that jumping in front of a bus that he happens to be in doesn't seem the smartest way to attack someone - or the person on the bike was being a reckless idiot. If the latter (which is likely the case) then it is broadly analogous to a three-year-old running out from the pavement: this is equally reckless, it's just that we have different expectations of a three-year-old than we do of an eighteen-year-old. What would happen in this case? Would no questions be asked as to why a bus was in motion whilst a 90-year-old man was (presumably) standing in it?

It's very difficult to comment on the specifics of the case given the limited and inaccurate reporting at this stage, but it seems a shame that the focus on one person's recklessness should obscure a wider and more circumspect view of what went wrong here.

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Not KOM [79 posts] 3 years ago
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sfichele wrote:

I used to commute down the tram line in Sheffield.

I did that once, almost died in a bus related incident, and stopped. It's such a pain being a commuter in Sheffield on a bike - the best routes are tram-ways and absolutely lethal.

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jollygoodvelo [1477 posts] 3 years ago
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I hope he makes a full recovery, but the age of the injured man is immaterial here. Raises an interesting point though - would the man's case for compensation be against the bus driver/company for failing in their duty of care to their passengers, or against the cyclist? If I was on a bus that was hit by a truck it would be against the truck... so in theory, assuming the bus driver was forced to stop quickly to avoid hitting the cyclist, then the cyclist is at fault.

Look at it the other way: bus driver mows down the cyclist "because he couldn't brake hard or his passengers would have fallen over". Imagine the uproar...

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