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"I've killed one of you guys before": close pass driver who left cyclist fearing for his life gets police caution

The shocking road rage incident in Warwickshire was so serious the victim left his wife a message saying he loved her

This is the story of a reader who suffered a shocking road rage incident which left him fearing for his life after a close pass driver threatened he had killed and seriously injured cyclists in the past and got away with it.

The situation was so serious the reader told us that after the confrontation — once the driver had sped off — he recorded a message telling his wife he loved her, in fear of the motorist returning to attack him.

With the footage reported to Warwickshire Police it was decided the incident would be pursued as a public order offence, not a traffic offence, and the driver was cautioned for his behaviour.

"I genuinely thought he was going to drive at me"

The story began when the reader went for a weekend spin around some local roads in Warwickshire back in February.

"This particular road is one of my favourites," he told us. "It's not very busy so I ride it often. I was aware that there was a vehicle behind me, but I didn't know there were two vehicles.

"The white car overtook me and gave me a decent amount of space, as much as
can be expected on that road, that was completely fine. It was the guy after in the black car that deliberately came super close."

Having shouted out to the driver during the close pass, a roadside back-and-forth ensued in which the driver said the cyclist should have moved over before making the threat: "I've killed one of you guys before, and seriously injured another, and I got away with it."

"It all finished and he sped off and I genuinely thought he was going to go down the road, turn around, come back and drive at me. There's nowhere to go on that road. All it would take is for him to aim a little bit that way and I'm toast," he explained.

"At the very end of the original footage is me talking to the camera, speaking to my wife to say 'if I don't get back or don't survive this, I love you'.

"It didn't feel like an empty threat."

The cyclist called 999 and later on, with the help of cycling insurer ETA Services LTD, he was able to improve the quality of the video to give Warwickshire Police the best chance of taking action, uploading it via the Operation Snap portal.

The driver was invited to speak to the police voluntarily, told officers he had changed medication which caused mood swings, and was ultimately cautioned for a public order offence. As it was not treated as a traffic offence no penalty points or fine were applied.

"I wanted him to go on a course," the reader continued. "If he walked away with an appreciation for what it's like to be a cyclist and see how close passes feel, then that would have been great."

Although many will undoubtedly view the caution as lenient considering the seriousness of the footage, the reader said he was content with the outcome and had to weigh up whether it was worth going through a lengthy court process in the hope of a sterner punishment.

A caution, unlike the warning letter for a traffic offence often seen in our Near Miss of the Day series, can be used as evidence of bad character in future court appearances and shows on standard and enhanced Disclosure and Barring Services (DBS) checks, standard in most employment processes.

"If we took it through court we'd have to go through the full legal system, with a massive backlog. God knows how long it would take when it gets there, and even then you don't know what's going to happen," the cyclist said.

"I was content with the outcome. Warwickshire Police were in touch regularly and my case was picked up by a sergeant who called me a couple of times to talk through the process."

"Not acceptable"

PC Ken Bratley said: "This shocking piece of footage was brought to our attention when the cyclist submitted it to Warwickshire Police following the incident in Cathiron Lane, Rugby on 27 February 2022.

"An officer reviewed the footage and found the behaviour of this driver was not acceptable and he received a caution on 18 August 2022 for the public order offence. 

"Road safety is a shared responsibility and we are asking drivers to look after our more vulnerable road users such as cyclists by leaving at least 1.5 metres when overtaking cyclists at speeds of up to 30mph, and give them more space when overtaking at higher speeds."

Warwickshire Police encouraged riders to submit video footage of dangerous driving and close passes via the Operation Snap portal.

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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