West Midlands Ambulance Service has rejected a cyclist’s claim that one of its vehicles deployed in response to an emergency was being driven dangerously, and insists he should have pulled over to let it pass him.
A video originally posted to social media and now appearing on the Metro.co.uk website shows the ambulance, with lights flashing and siren on, being driven in the right-hand lane of a dual carriageway just before a roundabout.
Birmingham cyclist Ian Hunter, who capture the footage on his rear-facing camera, continued through the roundabout, with the video showing how ambulance driver turning left behind him at the junction.
Mr Hunter, aged 47 and who works as a bus inspector, said on Twitter: “I was riding a road bike along Fort Park way travelling towards Castle Vale.
“I heard the ambulance coming and I looked behind me and it was on my off side.
“I allowed room for the ambulance to pass on my o/s however the ambulance then cut across two lanes nearly colliding with me.”
He continued: “The ambulance then sounded the siren at me and the driver gesticulating for me to move.
“Where could I possibly go I was already going forward if I had stopped he would have hit me. And most likely would have driven off.”
One Twitter user replied: “Love how you could [have] stopped earlier but despite hearing sirens carried on over the junction irresponsible and stupid I'd be ashamed to share this video.”
In response, Mr Hunter said: “Highway Code is for all road users if you have a vehicle on your right it clearly means it is going straight over.
“You think it is acceptable to cut in front of two lanes of traffic to turn left!!!
“They are not above the law and the law is clear.
“You must have been the driver,” he added.
While ambulance drivers responding to an emergency can claim exemptions from certain road traffic laws such as speed limits, there is no exemption in cases or dangerous driving.
Meanwhile, Rule 219 of the Highway Code provides guidance to road users about what to do when they become aware of the presence of a vehicle responding to an emergency. It reads:
Emergency and Incident Support vehicles. You should look and listen for ambulances, fire engines, police, doctors or other emergency vehicles using flashing blue, red or green lights and sirens or flashing headlights, or traffic officer and incident support vehicles using flashing amber lights.
When one approaches do not panic.
Consider the route of such a vehicle and take appropriate action to let it pass, while complying with all traffic signs. If necessary, pull to the side of the road and stop, but try to avoid stopping before the brow of a hill, a bend or narrow section of road.
Do not endanger yourself, other road users or pedestrians and avoid mounting the kerb.
Do not brake harshly on approach to a junction or roundabout, as a following vehicle may not have the same view as you.
A spokesperson for the West Midlands Ambulance Service commented: “After reviewing the Trust’s own CCTV footage from the ambulance, the cyclist should have stopped at the traffic roundabout to allow the ambulance to pass unhindered.
“As an ambulance service we advise members of the public to keep calm if you hear sirens or see flashing blue lights whilst driving or cycling and give yourself time to plan.
“If the emergency vehicle is behind you, pull over by clearly indicating your intention and stop where it’s safe to do so,” the spokesperson added.
“Please be patient by waiting for the emergency vehicle to pass.”
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