Riders suffer threats and deliberate crashes

A BBC Wales programme shown on Tuesday night highlighted the problem of aggressive behaviour of the roads and focussed on the experiences of  bike riders who had been victims of ‘road rage’.

Gary Marshall and his wife Debbie were riding their bikes home near Swansea when a bottle as thrown at them. After he remonstrated with the passenger, the driver of the car ran over him and his bike.

In this clip from the programme, Matt Turner - who runs a YouTube channel documenting his experiences with poor and dangerous driving - was threatened by a driver after a discussion over the motorist cutting a corner at a junction.

A poll conducted for the programme, a Week In, Week Out presentation entitled ‘You Give Me Road Rage’, found that 51 percent of drivers had been victims of aggression on the roads.

The segment in which Matt is threatened was the most viewed video on the BBC yesterday.

"He overtook me and pulled sharply in front of me and slammed on his brakes," Matt said.

"When he got out of the car and approached me, I did think he was going to hit me."

The driver then repeatedly swore at him and threatened to “wrap that fucking bike straight up your nose.”

Matt reported the incident to the police and the driver was issued with a caution, but refused to apologise.

"I still feel that he doesn't regret what he did, he just regrets being caught," Matt said.

Some might argue that the road behaviour of some helmet-cam wearers serves to aggravate the problem. In another section of the programme, Matt admits that he wasn’t sure why he initially commented on the driver cutting the corner.

“I didn’t intend him to hear, I didn’t mean anything by it. There was no real reason for me to say it,” he says. Nevertheless, getting out of your car to threaten someone doesn’t seem like a proportionate response.

New laws allow police to issue £100 fixed penalty notices for behaviour such as tailgating and lane hogging, which can be part of road rage incidents.

Police and road safety charities question whether the resources are available to implement the new rules, though.

The number of traffic officers has fallen 31% over four years in Wales. The British average is 12%, according to the road safety charity Brake; Wales has had the greatest reduction in the UK.

None of the four Welsh police forces had issued any of the new fixed penalty notices for careless driving.

The programme is available to watch on BBC iPlayer.

Our official grumpy Northerner, John has been riding bikes for over 30 years since discovering as an uncoordinated teen that a sport could be fun if it didn't require you to catch a ball or get in the way of a hulking prop forward.

Road touring was followed by mountain biking and a career racing in the mud that was as brief as it was unsuccessful.

Somewhere along the line came the discovery that he could string a few words together, followed by the even more remarkable discovery that people were mug enough to pay for this rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work. He's pretty certain he's worked for even more bike publications than Mat Brett.

The inevitable 30-something MAMIL transition saw him shift to skinny tyres and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.