The “middle finger councillor” who ran four cyclists off the road last July, leaving one upside down in a tree, has resigned from his Devon post.
Bridford Parish Councillor, James Atkinson, was fined £140 and given eight penalty license points for careless driving. He had overtaken the group of riders on a blind bend in the Teign Valley, before veering into them to avoid an oncoming car.
One road.cc user, who had an exchange of emails with Bridford Parish Council, forwarded the correspondence to us. He contacted the council with concerns about Cllr Atkinson’s behaviour, which the council called “unacceptable”, but pointed out he wasn't performing official duties at the time and as an elected official couldn’t be sacked.
The Council later confirmed he resigned from the post. Although declining to comment on the email exchange when contacted by road.cc, it has since published a statement on its website.
The statement says: “Following a recent Court hearing relating to an incident on the Teign Valley road last July, James Atkinson has now resigned from his position as a Parish Councillor for Bridford.
“Mr Atkinson apologises to Bridford Parish Council, the people of Bridford, the Teign Valley, Devon County and to the cyclists who he accidentally knocked off their bicycles.”
Bridford Parish Council’s code of conduct states that when acting as a representative of the council, members “shall not act in a way which a reasonable person would regard as bullying or intimidatory”.
Although Atkinson wasn’t acting as a council representative at the time of the incident the council correspondent apologised for cyclists feeling intimidated by Atkinson’s actions and said “Mr Atkinson's behaviour and demeanour, as evidenced by the Court verdict and a photograph in the public domain, was completely unacceptable.”
Two were injured in the incident, in which the four cyclists were riding single file at 25mph when, according to the Court prosecutor, Lyndsey Baker, Atkinson roared up behind them and tried to overtake them on a blind bend.
Atkinson then veered into the cyclists to avoid an oncoming car, which was travelling at 20mph, forcing them into the hedge, and “a jumble on the floor”.
It is reported Atkinson showed no remorse, and he tried to blame the cyclists for riding four abreast and forcing him to the opposite side of the road.
Cyclist and hair salon boss, Rob Pierce, who filmed Atkinson’s reaction after the incident on his helmet camera, called the punishment a “slap on the wrist” and says one of the riders hasn’t been able to cycle since.