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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 joined in 2020, and spent most of his first year (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. At the start of 2022 he took on the role of news editor. Before joining, Dan wrote about various sports, including football and boxing for the Daily Express, and covered the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for The Non-League Paper. Part of the generation inspired by the 2012 Olympics, Dan has been 'enjoying' life on two wheels ever since and spends his weekends making bonk-induced trips to the petrol stations of the south of England.

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