Video: BBC Wales road rage programme highlights plight of vulnerable cyclists

Riders suffer threats and deliberate crashes

A BBC Wales programme shown on Tuesday night highlighted the problem of aggressive behaviour of the roads and focussed on the experiences of  bike riders who had been victims of ‘road rage’.

Gary Marshall and his wife Debbie were riding their bikes home near Swansea when a bottle as thrown at them. After he remonstrated with the passenger, the driver of the car ran over him and his bike.

In this clip from the programme, Matt Turner - who runs a YouTube channel documenting his experiences with poor and dangerous driving - was threatened by a driver after a discussion over the motorist cutting a corner at a junction.

A poll conducted for the programme, a Week In, Week Out presentation entitled ‘You Give Me Road Rage’, found that 51 percent of drivers had been victims of aggression on the roads.

The segment in which Matt is threatened was the most viewed video on the BBC yesterday.

"He overtook me and pulled sharply in front of me and slammed on his brakes," Matt said.

"When he got out of the car and approached me, I did think he was going to hit me."

The driver then repeatedly swore at him and threatened to “wrap that fucking bike straight up your nose.”

Matt reported the incident to the police and the driver was issued with a caution, but refused to apologise.

"I still feel that he doesn't regret what he did, he just regrets being caught," Matt said.

Some might argue that the road behaviour of some helmet-cam wearers serves to aggravate the problem. In another section of the programme, Matt admits that he wasn’t sure why he initially commented on the driver cutting the corner.

“I didn’t intend him to hear, I didn’t mean anything by it. There was no real reason for me to say it,” he says. Nevertheless, getting out of your car to threaten someone doesn’t seem like a proportionate response.

New laws allow police to issue £100 fixed penalty notices for behaviour such as tailgating and lane hogging, which can be part of road rage incidents.

Police and road safety charities question whether the resources are available to implement the new rules, though.

The number of traffic officers has fallen 31% over four years in Wales. The British average is 12%, according to the road safety charity Brake; Wales has had the greatest reduction in the UK.

None of the four Welsh police forces had issued any of the new fixed penalty notices for careless driving.

The programme is available to watch on BBC iPlayer.

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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