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Driver sacked after Twitter 'joke' about hitting a cyclist

Angry response on social media leads to swift retribution

A young stockbroker has been sacked this afternoon after joking on Twitter earlier today about hitting a cyclist.

Rayhan Qadar, a graduate at Hargreaves Lansdown posted this to Twitter at 8:05 this morning:

That tweet elicited a storm of criticism from other Twitter users. Qadar later apologised and claimed it had been "a bad joke on my part".

But that doesn't seem to have been enough for his employers. 

A spokesman for the investment company told the Bristol Post: "One of our employees has failed to conduct themselves to the standards we expect of our staff.

"We find these online comments totally unacceptable.

"Upon becoming aware of this issue we have terminated this person's employment with immediate effect."

Qadar's initial tweet caused a swift and angry reaction from other Twitter users.

David Stewart posted: "You really are a #cockwomble, enjoy your visit from the plod"

Adam Whittaker said: "You know what's dumber than leaving the scene? Tweeting it for the world to see. I'll be following your case."

Annabel Staff said: "Dear oh dear, you ignorant prick, hopefully you won't have a job to get to by the end of the day, enjoy going to court #Scum"

Germain Burton said: "That's not funny you clown!"

And Greater Manchester Police had this advice: "If you hit a cyclist, you are obliged to stop. I suggest you call 101 as soon as possible, I will forward the details on."

A few hours after his initial post, Qadar claimed it was all a bad joke.

He tweeted: "My previous tweet about the cyclist was obviously not true. I did not hit cyclist. Not today. Not ever. A bad joke on my part it seems."

Followed by: "Sorry if anyone thought i actually hit a cyclist. Anyone who follows me on Twitter know 99% of the things I tweet is nonsense."

Mr Qadar told the Bristol Post: "“I am 100 per cent sorry. It was a joke gone bad. I didn’t think that would happen. I understand now that I can’t say things like that.

“If I did have an accident I would not drive away.”

Police are reported to be investigating.

The #bloodycyclists effect

Another driver who landed in hot water after boasting of hitting a rider on Twitter was trainee accountant Emma Way. On May 19 2013 Ms Way posted: "Definitely knocked a cyclist off earlier - I have right of way he doesn't even pay road tax! #bloodycyclists".

Norwich police investigated Ms Way even though she deleted her Twitter account. After the rider she hit, Toby Hockley, came forward she was charged with  careless driving, failing to stop after an accident and failing to report an accident.

She was eventually found guilty of failing to stop and failure to report but was cleared of the careless driving charge. Ms Way was fined £300, had her driving licence endorsed with seven penalty points and had to pay £337 in costs.

In between the tweet and the court case, she was fired from her job as a result of the adverse publicity the incident attracted.

Her lasting legacy has been the hashtag #bloodycyclists, which was appropriated by Twitter's cycling community as in this comment on the Qadar case:

 

Acknowledged by the Telegraph as a leading cycling journalist, John Stevenson has been writing about bikes and cycling for over 30 years since discovering that people were mug enough to pay him for it rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work.

He was heavily involved in the mountain bike boom of the late 1980s as a racer, team manager and race promoter, and that led to writing for Mountain Biking UK magazine shortly after its inception. He got the gig by phoning up the editor and telling him the magazine was rubbish and he could do better. Rather than telling him to get lost, MBUK editor Tym Manley called John’s bluff and the rest is history.

Since then he has worked on MTB Pro magazine and was editor of Maximum Mountain Bike and Australian Mountain Bike magazines, before switching to the web in 2000 to work for CyclingNews.com. Along with road.cc editor Tony Farelly, John was on the launch team for BikeRadar.com and subsequently became editor in chief of Future Publishing’s group of cycling magazines and websites, including Cycling Plus, MBUK, What Mountain Bike and Procycling.

John has also written for Cyclist magazine, edited the BikeMagic website and was founding editor of TotalWomensCycling.com before handing over to someone far more representative of the site's main audience.

He joined road.cc in 2013 and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

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