Arrest follows appeal by Bath Police; but would abuse of cyclists get similar response?

Avon & Somerset Constabulary have arrested a 44-year-old man on suspicion of violence against a person and common assault in relation to an incident that happened before Christmas in which a cyclist is alleged to have abused and spat at a motorist.

Police issued an appeal last month following the incident close to Sainsbury’s on Pines Way on 3 December, which involved a couple travelling in their car with their 11-year-old grandson.

The couple admitted that their vehicle encroached on an Advanced Stop Line reserved for cyclists, but said that this provoked an aggressive response from the cyclist.

The Bath Chronicle, which says a number of names of suspects were provided after it published the police appeal last month, reports that the woman in the car claimed that the bike rider made rude gestures, spat at the car, and even leant inside to pull off the male driver’s glasses, throwing them back in the car.

She said: “Once he started his ranting, there was no stopping him. This continued from the junction with the Lower Bristol Road, into the local car lane leading out of Bath right up to the traffic lights at the junction with Brougham Hayes, when we turned into Brougham Hayes and the cyclist continued on the Lower Bristol Road out of the city.

“There is no doubt that many other motorists would have witnessed what went on and were equally terrified by the bullying tactics of this offensive cyclist.

“On each occasion the drivers tried to speak to the cyclist, but he was not prepared to hear what was to be said and just continued with his vociferous ranting and intimidation.”

Another motorist said that several weeks earlier he had suffered a similar experience in which a cyclist matching the description of the one sought in connection with the incident in December followed him, “ranting and raving.”

While there is no excuse for aggressive behaviour towards any road user the police response to this case has raised eyebrows amongst some in the cycling community; as the road.cc user who sent us this link remarked: "Would the police do anything if you reported every motorist that ‘abuses’ you whilst cycling on the road… I doubt it."

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.