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Cyclist hospitalised in road rage row fined for careless cycling

Colin Jones was warned by police that if he pursued case against driver he risked being charged himself

A cyclist who reported a road rage incident with a driver that resulted in him being thrown over the handlebars of his bike, leaving him hospitalised with a cut to his head, reported the incident to police and ended up being found guilty in court of careless cycling.

The Manchester Evening News reports that Colin Jones, aged 49, had been cycling along Bridge Road near the Warburton Toll Bridge in Trafford on 23 June last year when Simon Barrett, driving a Honda Civic, cut him up, forcing him to swerve, shouting at him afterwards, “What’s your problem?”

The rider then held on to Barrett’s car to steady himself as a “safety mechanism” as he talked to him, but said the driver then swerved, causing him to fall off his bike. He was taken to Wythenshawe Hospital to be treated for a head injury and was released the same day.

But when he reported the incident to police officers said, after reviewing CCTV footage, that if he pressed the case he could end up being prosecuted careless or inconsiderate cycling, leading to him appearing at Manchester Magistrates’ Court on that charge on Tuesday.

Haseeb Yousaf, prosecuting, told the court: "Mr Jones attended the police station and he was told that he could be reported for cycling without due care or attention.

“He said he sustained a head injury in the collision but the officer pointed out that he was not wearing a helmet" – which is not, of course, a legal requirement.

Despite the warning, Jones said that he wanted to continue with the prosecution, and at his appearance in court he pleaded not guilty.

Speaking about the incident, he said that after Barrett cut him up, “I could see him looking in his mirror.

“I have then put my hand up in a questioning manner as if to say 'what have I done' and he wound his window down and shouted 'what's your problem?'

“I was engaging in dialogue with the driver so I put my hand on the car in order to communicate with him safely.

"I had my hand on to maintain a safe distance. I believe it was a safe action.

"I was concerned that he had just driven his car at me. I wasn't thinking 'was I breach of some traffic regulation.

"In hindsight I probably should have let him drive on or turned around and ridden back in the opposite direction to avoid any confrontation.

“But he had swerved his car towards me and I believed I should be able to continue on the road without having to stop or turn round for fear of recrimination."

The magistrates found Jones guilty, with the chairman of the bench, Alan Greenwood JP, telling him: "In this case we had to look at the standard of cycling and whether it was reasonable and competent and we believe putting your hand on a moving car, and the fact that this was done over a distance, was below that standard and so we find you guilty of the charge."

Jones, who was said to have seemed ‘visibly upset’ as he left the court, was fined £186 and told to pay costs of £310 and a £30 victim surcharge.

At an earlier hearing, Barrett pleaded guilty to driving without due care and attention and was fined £350 and told to pay £85 costs and a £35 victim surcharge.

It’s the second case we’ve seen recently of a cyclist who has reported an incident to police ending up being prosecuted themselves.

Last month we reported how a cyclist who submitted footage of a close pass in south London to the Metropolitan Police was told he will be prosecuted because the video showed him cycling on the footway – even though he was on a shared use path with signage showing it is permitted.

> Police use close pass footage to prosecute cyclist for riding on shared-use path

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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