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"When will drivers treat cyclists as humans?": Cyclist riding with his kids gets cut off before a roundabout... and then gets close-passed by a van driver

"Unfortunately, it is not his only experience of this nature. He doesn't like it, but it doesn't stop him from going out on the road with us," the cyclist said about his son's reaction to poor driving...

A cyclist had taken his two kids for a spin on Sunday morning, hoping to train them key riding skills such as road positioning, but his efforts were blocked by a driver who decided to cut them off anyway, despite proper signalling and positioning. And then minutes later, as they were enjoying the ride back home, a van driver close-passed them at high speed, meaning the young riders went from "happy delight" to nervousness and anxiety.

A resident of Rugby, the cyclist told road.cc that he took his kids along for the ride yesterday as it makes for a good opportunity to "go through a couple of roundabouts en route from our house to the church and get them used to how they work and how to position".

"I take them both on the road whenever I can, because there's no better way to learn how to be safe - and if I leave it till they're e.g. 13 they'll be much less inclined to listen and learn," he said. "It is, however, why I ensure I always keep on the outside of them, so that they don't bear the brunt of this type of behaviour."

> Viral video of driver refusing to stop for five-year-old cyclist debated on Jeremy Vine's Channel 5 show

As they were making their way across Whitehall Road in Rugby, the cyclist said that the daughter — the elder of the two children — was more comfortable and had ridden up ahead, followed by the younger son and himself.

He was explaining to them how to look, signal and position for the right-hand lane coming up before the roundabout, which he said that they managed well. However then, a driver in a blue Ford Ka came from behind and cut them off.

The cyclist said: "To say I was astonished when the blue Ka pulled out to overtake is an understatement. I wondered if she was short-cutting a turn into the school - but quickly realised not.

"I was then worried she was going to cut in between us and split us up which would have been problematic as well - but in the event she just carried on all the way and cut in front of my daughter just as she was reaching the roundabout.

"Fortunately my fear that someone would take a fast left from the road ahead and meet her head-on did not come to be - although one did turn in very soon after."

> “The kid can cycle, but can the driver drive?”: Parents demand safer cycling infrastructure as video shows 5-year-old having to navigate traffic and blocked bike lane

And then as they were making their way back home through Coventry Road in Dunchurch, multiple drivers passed them safely, causing the deciduous leaves to blow and swirl, delighting the young boy. However, soon after, a van driver goes past them at a high speed and honking his horn, at a distance the cyclist believed was "dangerously close".

In the video, the boy's elder sister can be heard sarcastically commenting "Thank you!" at the driver, while the boy, who the father said was generally more nervous than his sister, says: "This is why I don't like going on roads."

The cyclist told road.cc: "Unfortunately as you can hear, it is not his only experience of this nature. He doesn't like it, but it doesn't stop him from going out on the road with us.

"I take them both on the road whenever I can, because there's no better way to learn how to be safe, and if I leave it till they're like 13, they'll be much less inclined to listen and learn. It is, however, why I ensure I always keep on the outside of them, so that they don't bear the brunt of this type of behaviour.

"But he is a pretty competent and sensible cyclist for his age. He bounces back quickly, and it hasn't put him off any more than his existing nervousness about bad drivers."

> “In the middle of the road!” Motorist berates children cycling “harmlessly home from school” on empty cul-de-sac

He said that he had already reported the van driver to the police, but didn't bother with the driver of the Ford Ka. He said: "It was more just jaw-dropping poor driving, and the potential for it to go badly wrong than any actual danger in the event - but that was pretty much luck on her part.

"If she was really that impatient to pass, she'd have been safer to dive into the left lane to do so. If I did report then it's 100% cert that local force would either NFA or at most send a warning letter, and it just isn't worth the effort."

Adwitiya joined road.cc in 2023 as a news writer after graduating with a masters in journalism from Cardiff University. His dissertation focused on active travel, which soon threw him into the deep end of covering everything related to the two-wheeled tool, and now cycling is as big a part of his life as guitars and football. He has previously covered local and national politics for Voice Wales, and also likes to writes about science, tech and the environment, if he can find the time. Living right next to the Taff trail in the Welsh capital, you can find him trying to tackle the brutal climbs in the valleys.

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36 comments

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Stephankernow | 8 months ago
3 likes

As a society we all need to be treating each other with a lot more respect.

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OldRidgeback | 8 months ago
1 like

The car driers showed how it should be done and then white van person showed how it didn't. I really hope the cops take action on this.

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BalladOfStruth | 8 months ago
3 likes

That van driver! What the fuck – what the actual fuck has got be wrong with the way your brain is wired to do that to children?!

I’ve said this before, but why is it always vans? I don’t like stereotyping, but it does seem to me that 90% of the really nasty incidents I’ve experienced, observed first-hand, or seen online have involved van drivers. It really does seem that it’s become a requirement that any prospective van driver must fail an IQ test and diagnosed with at least one personality disorder before they even let you into the dealership.

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hawkinspeter replied to BalladOfStruth | 8 months ago
6 likes
BalladOfStruth wrote:

That van driver! What the fuck – what the actual fuck has got be wrong with the way your brain is wired to do that to children?!

If people cared about children, we would have cut down on air pollution a long time ago. Also, we might have stopped some corporations from trashing our planet in the search of big profits.

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BalladOfStruth replied to hawkinspeter | 8 months ago
2 likes
hawkinspeter wrote:

If people cared about children, we would have cut down on air pollution a long time ago. Also, we might have stopped some corporations from trashing our planet in the search of big profits.

Yeah, but that's "indirect". People care a lot about appearing to care about children - so overt displays like this are usually a big no-no, even in cyclist-hating wider society.

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hawkinspeter replied to BalladOfStruth | 8 months ago
2 likes
BalladOfStruth wrote:

Yeah, but that's "indirect". People care a lot about appearing to care about children - so overt displays like this are usually a big no-no, even in cyclist-hating wider society.

There also seems to be a trend of people caring about their own children, but not so much about other's. This can be evidenced by looking at the number of SUV drivers dropping kids off at schools (SUVs being the most kid-unfriendly design of motor vehicle).

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Rendel Harris replied to hawkinspeter | 8 months ago
2 likes
hawkinspeter wrote:

There also seems to be a trend of people caring about their own children, but not so much about other's. This can be evidenced by looking at the number of SUV drivers dropping kids off at schools (SUVs being the most kid-unfriendly design of motor vehicle).

This is very much the case and has been for years, I remember there was a shocking survey in the USA about six or seven years ago where parents were asked if they had a choice between a vehicle that was 10% safer for their children but 90% more dangerous for other children on foot or one that was 10% less safe for their children but 90% safer for other children on foot, something like 75% said they would take the former rather than the latter.

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hawkinspeter replied to Rendel Harris | 8 months ago
2 likes
Rendel Harris wrote:

This is very much the case and has been for years, I remember there was a shocking survey in the USA about six or seven years ago where parents were asked if they had a choice between a vehicle that was 10% safer for their children but 90% more dangerous for other children on foot or one that was 10% less safe for their children but 90% safer for other children on foot, something like 75% said they would take the former rather than the latter.

I'm not sure I trust the average USian to understand percentages - their schools seem to focus on pledging allegiance to their flag or something and singing their national anthem.

Also, there's the infamous quarter vs third incident: https://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/27/magazine/why-do-americans-stink-at-math.html

Quote:

One of the most vivid arithmetic failings displayed by Americans occurred in the early 1980s, when the A&W restaurant chain released a new hamburger to rival the McDonald’s Quarter Pounder. With a third-pound of beef, the A&W burger had more meat than the Quarter Pounder; in taste tests, customers preferred A&W’s burger. And it was less expensive. A lavish A&W television and radio marketing campaign cited these benefits. Yet instead of leaping at the great value, customers snubbed it.

Only when the company held customer focus groups did it become clear why. The Third Pounder presented the American public with a test in fractions. And we failed. Misunderstanding the value of one-third, customers believed they were being overcharged. Why, they asked the researchers, should they pay the same amount for a third of a pound of meat as they did for a quarter-pound of meat at McDonald’s. The “4” in “¼,” larger than the “3” in “⅓,” led them astray.

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Adam Sutton replied to hawkinspeter | 8 months ago
2 likes

Parents are the worst. A school near us has installed CCTV after two cases of kids being knocked over outside the school. Our roads become almost impassable as kids come out of a school opposite due to the number of parents parked on the road and pavements. Where my parents live often people will park on residents driveways! And the worse I saw was two schools near to my parents on a main road, it was so bad I was nervous in a car never mind a pedestrian. The pavement parking was on both sides causing gridlock when a bus was trying to get though. 

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hawkinspeter replied to Adam Sutton | 8 months ago
0 likes
Adam Sutton wrote:

Parents are the worst. A school near us has installed CCTV after two cases of kids being knocked over outside the school. Our roads become almost impassable as kids come out of a school opposite due to the number of parents parked on the road and pavements. Where my parents live often people will park on residents driveways! And the worse I saw was two schools near to my parents on a main road, it was so bad I was nervous in a car never mind a pedestrian. The pavement parking was on both sides causing gridlock when a bus was trying to get though. 

I've long thought that there should be one mile driving exclusion zone around schools at drop-off/pick-up times. The best we seem to manage is schools trying to get drivers to not sit in their car, engine running whilst waiting for their kids.

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Rendel Harris replied to hawkinspeter | 8 months ago
1 like
hawkinspeter wrote:

I've long thought that there should be one mile driving exclusion zone around schools at drop-off/pick-up times. The best we seem to manage is schools trying to get drivers to not sit in their car, engine running whilst waiting for their kids.

Not sure that would work awfully well in London, if you take for example the Van Gogh primary school in Stockwell that I pass every day (so called because the house in which Vincent lived when he was in London is across the street), it does have a school street that closes for pick up and drop off but a mile exclusion zone for driving would shut down the A3 and the A24, the two major routes into Central London from the southwest, not to mention most of Brixton and Vauxhall! This would actually suit me very nicely but I can't see it being accepted by the majority...

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hawkinspeter replied to Rendel Harris | 8 months ago
1 like
Rendel Harris wrote:

Not sure that would work awfully well in London, if you take for example the Van Gogh primary school in Stockwell that I pass every day (so called because the house in which Vincent lived when he was in London is across the street), it does have a school street that closes for pick up and drop off but a mile exclusion zone for driving would shut down the A3 and the A24, the two major routes into Central London from the southwest, not to mention most of Brixton and Vauxhall! This would actually suit me very nicely but I can't see it being accepted by the majority...

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Adam Sutton replied to hawkinspeter | 8 months ago
1 like

ANPR on the gates and parents have to register their vehicle with the school. Any parent within a close radius needs to give a damn good excuse to have to drive. Laziness is the biggest problem, unrelated to schools but my mind was blown when a car turned up on our drive a couple of years ago, it turned out to be our neighbour whos gaden backs onto the side of our property. Rather than walk 3 minutes round the corner, he drove. 

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wtjs replied to hawkinspeter | 8 months ago
0 likes

The best we seem to manage is schools trying to get drivers to not sit in their car, engine running whilst waiting for their kids

They don't even try here- about 1/4 of the deadbeat parents waiting outside Garstang High School are now leaving the engines running. This rises to over half, when it's cold. 

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wtjs replied to BalladOfStruth | 8 months ago
0 likes

why is it always vans?

It isn't. These are just the recent (UpRide is taking a while to authorise at the moment) run-of -the-mill day in-day out close-passing incidents from an area where the police couldn't care less and insist that close-passing doesn't exist unless the cyclist is satisfactorily KSI'd, when it was obviously the cyclist's fault for being on the road, causing pollution and traffic jams etc.etc

https://upride.cc/incident/kp72wmm_kia_closepass/

https://upride.cc/incident/yt08oov_peugeot207_closepass/

https://upride.cc/incident/pk17ulc_vwpolo_uwlcrossclosepass/

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bikeman01 | 8 months ago
1 like

Unfortunately the white van driver will hide behind his annoymous unlogo'd van. It will be registered to a business and they will not have a record of the driver at that time.

All business vans should have company livery and companies be required to keep records of drivers.

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Velo-drone replied to bikeman01 | 8 months ago
5 likes

The business can incur a substantial fine for failure to identify the driver

I'll settle for that

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tootsie323 | 8 months ago
4 likes

In the words of the dearly departed Rik Mayall: "Christ Almighty, what a w@nker!"

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Cycloid | 8 months ago
1 like

A Nasty incident.

I'm grown up, I have lots of experience and I know the risks. For kids starting out it is a very difficult learning curve. My village is a collection of housing estates inersected my main roads, kids cannot safely cycle to school, or to see their friends in the next estate. We are in danger of not having a next generation of cyclists, and active travel is not going to happen.

I have not read all the comments but I am sure there will be some blaming the parents, not the drivers. Address the problem not the symptoms!

Incidently the youngster at the front makes a good case for Hi-Vis, "Bleedin' obvious- Innit". The incident suggests the answer - It makes little difference to the number of collisions.

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Sredlums | 8 months ago
10 likes

The answer is simple - but, regrettably, not very helpful in the short term.

Drivers will only start seeing cyclists as human, once they can relate to them.
Here in The netherlands, drivers see cyclists as human, not because they are better people, but because they can fully relate to it.

Every driver has at least ridden a bike when they were younger, and almost all of them still ride a bike, even if it is just occasionally. And also, every cyclist they encounter could be someone close. A colleague, their brother or sister, their child, or on of their classmates, their hairdresser.

That is what makes them human, instead of 'one of those lycra-clad weirdo's'.

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KDee replied to Sredlums | 8 months ago
1 like

Every driver? Sure about that? On my commute to my old office (here in NL) I'd get at least one close pass each way on a road with painted murder strips. 

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Sredlums replied to KDee | 8 months ago
1 like

I said every driver has ridden a bike in his life (and most still do yada yada). I didn't say every driver is a good, social, emphatic driver as a result.

Cars tend to bring out the worst in people. Even I have to sometimes remind myself to be nice and patient in the rare occasions that I am behind the wheel.
Seeing cyclists as human beings makes a world of difference in driver's behaviour towards them.

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Rome73 | 8 months ago
0 likes

That road where the transit close passed - I just wouldn't cycle on that type of road with a child. I know it sounds defeatists, but I would make the child cycle on the pavement or, better still, just avoid the route entirely. Yes, the bullies would win, in my case. But I just wouldn't risk it. 

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ibr17xvii replied to Rome73 | 8 months ago
7 likes

What a depressing watch. 2 kids cycling safely with their parent on a road on a Sunday morning yet some absolute muppet decides to beep his horn at them for no good reason.

Police should be tracing that driver & having words of advice or better still prosecuting & giving him points and a fine.

Won't happen of course.

Hopefully doesn't put either of them off cycling.

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Velo-drone replied to Rome73 | 8 months ago
7 likes

We cycle there every weekend with no issues. The problem is the driver, not the road. And yes, we have that kind of experience on occasion on any type of road.

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eburtthebike | 8 months ago
12 likes

Here's hoping that the police and CPS do their job and that van driver gets their just desserts: six points and a couple of hundred quid fine would do.

As for the Ka driver, she's so incompetent that she really shouldn't be on the road.

What's really frightening is that these people have licences and are qualified to drive something lethal.

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NotNigel | 8 months ago
5 likes

Am I right that the van driver had the audacity to beep his/her horn? Jesus...

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Simon E replied to NotNigel | 8 months ago
14 likes
NotNigel wrote:

Am I right that the van driver had the audacity to beep his/her horn? Jesus...

Yes, a long, aggressive honk from the driver of BV03 VBZ (a white Transit) as he overtook towards a refuge.

I hope someone finds the vehicle and lets all 4 tyres down, Tyre Extinguisher-style. Every week.

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Runningwolf | 8 months ago
7 likes

I am pleased that the youngsters have not been put off from cycling. 

To answer the question  "When will drivers treat cyclists as humans?": My view is this will only happen when we get a legal/court system in place that actually does punish drivers with heavy fines/prison sentences and lifetime driving bans. It is my veiw that at present cyclists are treated by the courts/legal system like third rate bits of garbage, and legitimate road kill.  Because too often we hear excuses after excuses when cyclists have been killed/maimed along  with no actions to give cyclists the equal status as legitimate road users.

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chrisonabike replied to Runningwolf | 8 months ago
2 likes

Well our road policing is minimal and very "light touch" - we could do a bit more.

Looking at all the people cycling in the video below though - of bad places to cycle in Amsterdam - including kids in some clips, people on mobility vehicles etc...

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=hGnt5YhEu4E&t=716

... I suspect they're not doing so because they think the courts have their back, or the place is policed as thoroughly as China or North Korea. Nor because drivers there are somehow generally more observant / careful people.

The way that works is there is a virtuous circle (feedback loop) in action. Because lots of people cycle, drivers don't need to remind themselves "think bike" - they see them all the time. Because their boss, friends, parents, partners and children cycle, they're prompted to see "people cycling" not "cyclists". Because they sometimes cycle themselves (in the same environment) they know how it feels - and how cyclists move. Because the infra is fairly standard nationally and is ubiquitous they know where to expect cyclists. The infra is thus because lots of people cycle so building it and improving it has political support. Because lots of people cycle everyone thinks cycling is a normal activity and so people cycle, because everyone else does. They will even put up with some of the more unpleasant parts

Of course - from the UK question is "but how do you get all those cyclists in the first place?" That's neither quick nor easy because you need multiple things to be changed. However there is a route to get there, which has been used in several countries.

It's definitely not just "police it better".

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