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Driver "used bus as a weapon" against cyclist, loses appeal over sacking

The former London bus driver used his vehicle to push a cyclist towards a kerb after the rider left a cycle lane and took primary position

A former London bus driver's appeal has been thrown out at an employment tribunal after it was deemed he "used his bus as a weapon" against a cyclist who rode in primary position.

MyLondon reports the driver, named Mr S William in court documents, had been a Go-Ahead London employee when he was involved in an incident described as "atrocious" by a witness who saw him stop his bus to deliberately block a cyclist who was forced to bunnyhop onto a kerb to avoid a collision.

Written notes from the London South Employment Tribunal show the "dreadful" incident happened on 23 June 2021 as the professional driver was returning to a bus depot in Putney when the cyclist took primary position, in the centre of the lane, upon exiting a cycle lane.

> Banish cars from the road and make cities cycling-friendly, bus chief urges

The perfectly legal and safe cycling practice, recommended in some situations by the Highway Code, was rewarded by Mr William overtaking before he "deliberately stopped the bus at the kerb blocking the cyclist, who was forced to jump onto the kerb to avoid it".

Angered by the attack the cyclist kicked the bus at the next junction and had a verbal altercation with the driver. A member of the public who saw the incident reported it to Transport for London, describing the driving as "atrocious" and "dreadful".

Go-Ahead London subsequently investigated the vehicle's internal and external CCTV images, as well as the speed-recording equipment, which confirmed the dangerous driving.

It also showed Mr William speeding at 28mph in a 20mph zone, and earlier ignoring a ban on reversing at Mortlake Bus Station without an assistant, a rule implemented when a member of the public was hit and killed.

"Used his bus as a weapon"

Court documents revealed the bus company's management team came to the conclusion their employee's driving was "reckless" and that he "used his bus as a weapon to retaliate".

Mr William took his former employer to tribunal after an appeal upheld Go-Ahead's decision to dismiss him in July 2021. However, the judge threw out the claim of wrongful dismissal, saying Mr William had been "aggressive" and tried to "pincer the cyclist".

The driver had claimed race and disability discrimination motivated his dismissal, although court documents suggest this was either withdrawn or thrown out prior to the final hearing. The tribunal judge had labelled attempts to justify the driving as "outlandish".

Primary position

road positioning - primary position approaching junction.jpg

The Highway Code is clear on the safety benefits of riding in primary position, in the centre of your lane, and recommends cyclists travel in such a way when:

  • On quiet roads or streets – if a faster vehicle comes up behind you, move to the left to enable them to overtake, if you can do so safely.
  • In slower-moving traffic – when the traffic around you starts to flow more freely, move over to the left if you can do so safely so that faster vehicles behind you can overtake.
  • At the approach to junctions or road narrowings where it would be unsafe for drivers to overtake you.

Dan is the road.cc news editor and has spent the past four years writing stories and features, as well as (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. Having previously written about nearly every other sport under the sun for the Express, and the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for the Non-League Paper, Dan joined road.cc in 2020. Come the weekend you'll find him labouring up a hill, probably with a mouth full of jelly babies, or making a bonk-induced trip to a south of England petrol station... in search of more jelly babies.

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33 comments

Avatar
ChrisB200SX | 1 year ago
14 likes

bus company's management team wrote:

"used his bus as a weapon to retaliate"

This was an attack, not a retaliation. The cyclist had not attacked the driver. The use of the word seeks to imply some sort of equivalence and victim-blaming, like the cyclist was attacked with a 12-ton weapon due to something they did. The cyclist had no part in the driver's cowardly actions.

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Secret_squirrel replied to ChrisB200SX | 1 year ago
1 like

That's not entirely true. He kicked the bus out of anger.  That's not to say it wasn't warranted but it fits grammatically with "retaliation", even though the action in terms of potential harm were all on the drivers side. 

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wycombewheeler replied to Secret_squirrel | 1 year ago
5 likes

Secret_squirrel wrote:

That's not entirely true. He kicked the bus out of anger.  That's not to say it wasn't warranted but it fits grammatically with "retaliation", even though the action in terms of potential harm were all on the drivers side. 

wasn't that after the bus driver ran him off the road?

So are we saying the driver committed pre emptive retaliation?

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joe9090 | 1 year ago
6 likes

Hope he spends many cold hungry months at home slowly coming to terms with what a cnut he himself is. I think ppl who do this should get 10 year driving bans and then have a special extended test to drive again.. 

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Rendel Harris replied to joe9090 | 1 year ago
9 likes

joe9090 wrote:

I think ppl who do this should get 10 year driving bans and then have a special extended test to drive again.. 

Why let them ever drive again? If you have a shotgun licence and you use your shotgun to wound or attempt to wound another person, you will be banned from owning a firearm for life. This person was (and presumably still is, hopefully the police will take note of the circumstances of his dismissal and take action) licensed to drive a vehicle and used that vehicle to attempt to wound another person, the same logic should apply.

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brooksby replied to joe9090 | 1 year ago
7 likes

joe9090 wrote:

I think ppl who do this should get 10 year driving bans and then have a special extended test to drive again.. 

And never be allowed a licence to drive commercially.

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NOtotheEU | 1 year ago
16 likes

An employment tribunal can clearly see a driver "used his bus as a weapon" but our police and courts never seem to come to that conclusion even with overwhelming evidence.

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Hirsute replied to NOtotheEU | 1 year ago
7 likes

I hate to say it but the burden of proof is no doubt different at a tribunal.

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NOtotheEU replied to Hirsute | 1 year ago
9 likes

Sadly. I seem to remember a driver shouting "I'm going to run you over" or similar and then actually doing it and that still wasn't enough. i wonder if one brave prosecutor tried it and got a decent judge and jury to convict would it become case law?

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Rome73 replied to NOtotheEU | 1 year ago
0 likes

Lots of evidence helps. 

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Rik Mayals unde... | 1 year ago
4 likes

Ah yes. The race card. Used as a lever when all else fails.

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shoko replied to Rik Mayals underpants | 1 year ago
4 likes

You seem to have missed adding disabled? Selective quoting perchance?

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AlsoSomniloquism replied to Rik Mayals underpants | 1 year ago
0 likes

It might be a card to play, because it has been used massively in the past to target certain workers. I'm hoping it isn't the case here, but we have seen the same manouvres pulled by bus drivers (including the recent NMotD 827) and no responses from the bus companies involved. So not all bad driving is a sackable offence.  

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Jetmans Dad replied to AlsoSomniloquism | 1 year ago
1 like

AlsoSomniloquism wrote:

It might be a card to play, because it has been used massively in the past to target certain workers. I'm hoping it isn't the case here, but we have seen the same manouvres pulled by bus drivers (including the recent NMotD 827) and no responses from the bus companies involved. So not all bad driving is a sackable offence.  

I guess the question is ... was his argument to the tribunal not that his actions were not serious enough to warrant a sacking (they clearly were) but that others have been found guilty of similar actions but not sacked because they were white and not disabled (which would be disturbing). 

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shoko replied to Jetmans Dad | 1 year ago
1 like

Can't find any mention in the article about the colour of his skin, as you said "I guess" yet you also assume

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mark1a replied to shoko | 1 year ago
1 like

shoko wrote:

Can't find any mention in the article about the colour of his skin, as you said "I guess" yet you also assume

The article actually states this if you read all the way to the end:

The driver had claimed race and disability discrimination motivated his dismissal, although court documents suggest this was either withdrawn or thrown out prior to the final hearing. The tribunal judge had labelled attempts to justify the driving as "outlandish".

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shoko replied to mark1a | 1 year ago
3 likes

No that does not mention the colour of his skin, it mentions the the driver claimed discrimination, your prejudices did the rest.

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mark1a replied to shoko | 1 year ago
4 likes

Did you just come here to be offended? 

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shoko replied to mark1a | 1 year ago
2 likes

Not in the slightest, did you come here just to be offensive?

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Hirsute replied to shoko | 1 year ago
4 likes

It's prejudice to recognise (or assume) that black/asian people are more likely to be subject to unfair discrimination?

Count me in then.

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shoko replied to Hirsute | 1 year ago
1 like

Indeed, that's not what I read into the original posters comment though. Perhaps I was mistaken in which case I apologise.

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Jetmans Dad replied to shoko | 1 year ago
2 likes

shoko wrote:

Indeed, that's not what I read into the original posters comment though. Perhaps I was mistaken in which case I apologise.

You are correct ... I did make an assumption, but one based on my experience that it tends to be those of us born white who seem to be able to get away with things that those of other races don't. 

To be clear, if his original argument including racial/disability discrimination was that others have got away with driving like that and it appeared to be because of the colour of their skin that would be disturbing in itself and warrant further investigation. Both as it would be discrimination, and that drivers of any colour were being allowed to get away with driving that bad. 

Avatar
ErnieC replied to Jetmans Dad | 1 year ago
1 like

Jetmans Dad wrote:

shoko wrote:

Indeed, that's not what I read into the original posters comment though. Perhaps I was mistaken in which case I apologise.

You are correct ... I did make an assumption, but one based on my experience that it tends to be those of us born white who seem to be able to get away with things that those of other races don't. 

To be clear, if his original argument including racial/disability discrimination was that others have got away with driving like that and it appeared to be because of the colour of their skin that would be disturbing in itself and warrant further investigation. Both as it would be discrimination, and that drivers of any colour were being allowed to get away with driving that bad. 

 

Heaps of assumptions all round and really hard to decide what actually happened without having all the information. Personal experience then come into play and incorrect "decisions" made. 

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giff77 replied to shoko | 1 year ago
1 like

shoko wrote:

No that does not mention the colour of his skin, it mentions the the driver claimed discrimination, your prejudices did the rest.

And yet you assume the racism is based on colour. What if the driver was Eastern European?  The bus company where I used to live employed a number of individuals from this region. Sadly I've seen a lot of racism directed at folk from these countries simply because they were not British. Personally I've also been on the receiving end because of my own nationality but some narrow minded individuals. 

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TempleOrion replied to Rik Mayals underpants | 1 year ago
2 likes
biker phil wrote:

Ah yes. The race card. Used as a lever when all else fails.

Yes usually by people like you: Poor old white men (thinking they're) being discriminated against; pathetic Incel snowflake whining...

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brooksby replied to TempleOrion | 1 year ago
1 like

TempleOrion wrote:
biker phil wrote:

Ah yes. The race card. Used as a lever when all else fails.

Yes usually by people like you: Poor old white men (thinking they're) being discriminated against; pathetic Incel snowflake whining...

I don't imagine snowflakes do get a lot of sex.  They'd probably melt.  I don't know if they get angry about it, though... 

Avatar
Rendel Harris replied to brooksby | 1 year ago
3 likes

brooksby wrote:

I don't imagine snowflakes do get a lot of sex.  

They don't get any at all, poor things, the reason being it's impossible to find a match.

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chrisonabike replied to brooksby | 1 year ago
1 like

The German ones are all about sechs!  Luckily it never snowed in ancient Rome.

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AlsoSomniloquism | 1 year ago
15 likes

Good on that independent witness for reporting the driver. And good on the company for acting on it, although I suspect the accumalation of multiple different offences was the dismissal, not just this example of bad driving. 

 

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ShutTheFrontDawes replied to AlsoSomniloquism | 1 year ago
8 likes

I expect the chap was a cunt in general who the management are glad to see the back of.

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