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Cyclist stopped by police three times and “told to put bike in van” after a “load of complaints” from motorists on foggy climb

Isle of Man Constabulary says officers were “dispatched to check on the welfare of the cyclist” after several reports of near misses with drivers

A cyclist who was riding in foggy conditions on the Isle of Man’s Mountain Road says he was stopped by police three times and ordered to “put my bike in the van as it was too dangerous”, following complaints from motorists on the climb.

Chris Glencorse, from Scissett, West Yorkshire, was climbing the A18 Snaefell Mountain Road between Ramsey and Douglas yesterday, as part of a three-day cycling trip to the Isle of Man, when he was stopped by officers who were dispatched to check on his welfare, after several drivers reported that they had nearly struck the cyclist due to the apparent poor visibility and adverse conditions on the road.

A video of the incident was posted on Twitter yesterday afternoon by Chris following his ride and has since been viewed over 650,000 times.

In the post, the cyclist wrote: “Unbelievably the Isle of Man Police thought it was appropriate to stop me three times while cycling over the mountain, the last time to tell me to put the bike in the van because of complaints by car drivers. That’s not how the Highway Code works. I didn’t get in the van.”

However, a spokesperson for the Isle of Man Constabulary told road.cc that the officers simply “offered to transport the cyclist and his bicycle to Douglas to ensure he arrived safely” and that the incident was a “timely reminder to all motorists that cyclists frequently use the A18 Mountain Road” and to “ensure that you drive/cycle to the conditions and arrive at your destination safely”.

Glencorse, a 51-year-old utility and touring cyclist who has completed in recent years bucket list rides such as Land’s End to John O’Groats, the Hebridean Way, Mizen Head to Malin Head, and L’Etape du Tour, says he was inspired to take on the Isle of Man’s famous hills by reading Simon Warren’s seminal 100 Greatest Cycling Climbs books.

“The book started me off on to do lists, and I’m slowly working my way through the second 100, so thought I’d do a quick tour of the island, do a lap of the TT course, and tick the three climbs off,” he tells road.cc.

The Yorkshire-based cyclist says he normally takes on his cycle touring trips with friends, but couldn’t quite convince them that three sodden spring days on the Isle of Man would be much fun.

“Obviously the weather was horrendous [yesterday], but I’m here and there is no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothes, so I set out, as I have done countless times before in bad weather,” he continued.

“I’ve two lights on the back, a 1200 lumen front light, had a bright orange jacket on, and hi viz overshoes and gloves.

“All was okay for the first 29 miles, if horrible and wet and windy, then I started the climb out of Ramsey. The road was busyish, but no more than say Holme Moss back home, and while visibility wasn’t great, it was about 200 yards so fine to be seen.”

Cyclist stopped by police while riding on Isle of Man Mountain Road 2 (credit - Chris Glencorse)

A photo taken by Chris as he made his way along the road

However, as Chris made his way up the famous Isle of Man TT climb – which was reopened earlier this week to traffic after icy conditions forced it to close for six days – he was stopped by police following reports from “concerned” drivers who had passed the cyclist on the road.

“I’ll admit I’m not the fastest climber, but slow and steady wins the race, and I’d just got past the really steep bit when a police van pulled up alongside and scared the s*** out of me by giving it the full blues and twos,” he says.

“[The officer] opened his window and told me he wanted to speak to me and to pull in at the bungalow about half a mile ahead. I told him I wasn’t doing anything wrong, and he said they’d had ‘a load of complaints’ from car drivers that a cyclist was riding up the mountain in all black and couldn’t be seen.”

After stopping at the bungalow as instructed, Chris then refused to provide the officer with his name, “as I was doing nothing wrong”.

He continued: “He repeated the complaints of the motorists, at which point I pointed to my hi viz clothes, the lights, and then asked him what I was doing wrong. He confirmed I wasn’t doing anything wrong, at which point I told him I was going to carry on.”

Chris then told road.cc that he was approached again by the same officer five minutes later, and that he once again refused to stop, before the driver allegedly “pulled around me” and forced the cyclist to come to a halt.

“He then told me his sergeant had told him I had to put my bike in the van as it was too dangerous and they would drive me back to Douglas,” he claims.

“It’s here I slightly lost my s***. I told him he’d have to arrest me to get me into the van. He then got me to sign something to say I was carrying on at my own risk, at which point I asked him, does that mean if a car ploughs into me it would be my fault?

“After now becoming piss wet through and freezing, I told him I was carrying on so if he kindly would leave me alone. To be fair, I had some sympathy with the officer, he was just doing what he was being told and he did seem uncomfortable.

“Anyway the day was now a bit ruined, so I had a cup of coffee in Douglas and made my way to Castletown.”

Chris told road.cc that he is currently contemplating reporting the officers for what he believes were their unnecessary actions on the road.

However, the Isle of Man Constabulary has since argued that their officers acted following reports from callers “concerned” for the cyclist’s safety “due to the poor visibility and heavy fog”.

“Yesterday, we received a number of calls from members of the public in regards to concerns for a cyclist on the A18 the Mountain Road,” a spokesperson told road.cc.

“Several of the concerned callers advised that the weather was adverse (heavy fog) and stated that they had nearly struck the cyclist.

“Following this, officers were dispatched to check on the welfare of the cyclist, who advised he was cycling from Ramsey to Douglas. The officers offered to transport the cyclist and his bicycle to Douglas to ensure he arrived safely. However, this was declined.

“We are pleased to say that the cyclist arrived in Douglas safely, but this is a timely reminder to all motorists that cyclists frequently use the A18 Mountain Road and therefore please ensure that you drive/cycle to the conditions and arrive at your destination safely.”

Ryan joined road.cc in December 2021 and since then has kept the site’s readers and listeners informed and enthralled (well at least occasionally) on news, the live blog, and the road.cc Podcast. After boarding a wrong bus at the world championships and ruining a good pair of jeans at the cyclocross, he now serves as road.cc’s senior news writer. Before his foray into cycling journalism, he wallowed in the equally pitiless world of academia, where he wrote a book about Victorian politics and droned on about cycling and bikes to classes of bored students (while taking every chance he could get to talk about cycling in print or on the radio). He can be found riding his bike very slowly around the narrow, scenic country lanes of Co. Down.

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105 comments

Avatar
NOtotheEU | 1 year ago
8 likes

"He then got me to sign something to say I was carrying on at my own risk"

 

Lancashire police officer no1  "That annoying cyclist wtjs has sent us yet another clip of a driver nearly hitting him. He even seems to think we'll care that they have no tax or MOT"

Lancashire police officer no2  "LOL, I bet he expects us to enforce the law and keep him safe by removing these dangerous drivers from the road! Just pick one of our usual excuses and bin it"

Lancashire police officer no1  "I've heard of something better from our colleagues in the Isle of Man. I'll just get him to sign this indemnity form and tell him from now on he's on his own, job done"

Lancashire police officer no2  "Great idea, less work for us! Now pass the doughnuts"

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BIRMINGHAMisaDUMP replied to NOtotheEU | 1 year ago
1 like

These police officers weren't doing anything that bad. They may have an inherent bias towards cycling and an ignorance towards cyclists (ignorance being something your name suggest you have plenty of) but these officers were trying to help - albeit in a clumsy fashion. 

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NOtotheEU replied to BIRMINGHAMisaDUMP | 1 year ago
5 likes
BIRMINGHAMisaDUMP wrote:

These police officers weren't doing anything that bad. They may have an inherent bias towards (against?) cycling and an ignorance towards cyclists (ignorance being something your name suggest you have plenty of) but these officers were trying to help - albeit in a clumsy fashion. 

OUCH, that's a tad rude, especially considering there must be at least a few people who also don't consider Birmingham to be a dump.

They may have an inherent bias against cycling and an ignorance towards cyclists but these police officers weren't doing anything that bad?

We've seen how the police act when you swap 'cyclists' for minorities or women. Can you imagine what the outcry would have been if the police told a woman with a short skirt on to either go home or sign a rape waiver?

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ktache replied to NOtotheEU | 1 year ago
6 likes

Or indeed "have a little lift in their van"...

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HoarseMann | 1 year ago
6 likes

There is no speed limit on this road.

I wonder at what point the police would decide a driver was going a bit fast for the conditions - when they have nearly struck a cyclist perhaps?

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ktache | 1 year ago
14 likes

He can't have been difficult to see the police managed to find him three times.

If the police really were concerned for the safety of the cyclist, why didn't they just sit behind him in a broom wagon/support vehicle sort of thing, presumably the motorists couldn't not see the high Viz of a police van?

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CF@Wds | 1 year ago
15 likes

Almost certainly, those motorists realized they were driving too fast for the conditions (be able to stop well within the distance you can see clearly 235). They phoned the police as a first line of defence. Typically, drivers seek to blame someone else for their mistakes...
Caller "there's a cyclist on the road, it's too foggy, I nearly hit him"
Police "right let's round him up then, shouldn't be out in these conditions he'll get killed!".
Should be...
Caller: "I nearly hit a cyclist, I couldn't see him cos the fog is too foggy, I was only going at 60 and then out if nowhere there he was. I had to overtake on a double"
Police: "Can I have your licence number, address and reg number?"
Caller: "yes, but why?"
Police: "I'm considering charging you with driving without care and consideration, you are now under caution and most report to a police station within 2 weeks from today!"
Caller: "police station?"
Police: "fair point, well go and hassle the cyclist instead".

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Legin | 1 year ago
2 likes

Do you get those days when you wish you hadn't posted anything?

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eburtthebike | 1 year ago
21 likes

"......several drivers reported that they had nearly struck the cyclist due to the apparent poor visibility and adverse conditions on the road."

No.  The issue was that the drivers were driving dangerously, too fast for the conditions.  The police should have booked the drivers who reported a problem, as they are clearly not capable of driving safely.

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FrankH | 1 year ago
1 like
Quote:

“Obviously the weather was horrendous [yesterday], but I’m here and there is no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothes, so I set out, as I have done countless times before in bad weather,” he continued.

Make your mind up, mate. Is there is or is there ain't bad weather?

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CF@Wds replied to FrankH | 1 year ago
2 likes

Neither, just bad grammar.

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Off the back replied to CF@Wds | 1 year ago
2 likes
CF@Wds wrote:

Neither. Just bad grammar.

 

FTFY 😁

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Nixster | 1 year ago
14 likes

So I'm deeply offended, I did this last year and the IoM rozzers didn't contact me once to offer me a lift, never mind a cup of tea!  I did get the odd 'friendly word of advice' from passing motorists in both directions, who could obviously see me in order to be offended by my presence.  Clearly safe for them but not for me...

'The mountain' is a bit of an exageration, the issue is that the IoM sits under a near-permanent cloud in the middle of the Irish Sea.  But visibility up there does change rapidly and what seemed like a good idea when you started can be less comfortable when you're commited and have as far to go back as you do to go on.

I have relatives there; it's their own fault as far as I'm concerned.

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wycombewheeler | 1 year ago
14 likes

“Several of the concerned callers advised that the weather was adverse (heavy fog) and stated that they had nearly struck the cyclist."

every one of those should be traced and brethalised, with visibility in excess of 100m (as per photo and video) there really is no reason to nearly strike a cyclist

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the little onion | 1 year ago
18 likes

I've been thinking about this incident. Both on its own and in the wider context

 

I think it is Chris Rock who had a routine about the crime of "being black on a public highway" in the US. Basically, the punchline is that you get pulled over  by the police for something whilst driving, a made up crime, but really you are being pulled over for being black. Kind of like the Not The Nine O'Clock News sketch. Put simply, if the driver had a different pigmentation, they wouldn't be pulled over. 

 

Now then, let's apply a counterfactual where this wasn't a cyclist on the road, but a hiker. With a bright orange jacket, but obviously healthy and competent and dressed for the weather. And several cars phone the police saying that they were concerned that they nearly crashed into them in the fog. Would the police have gone up three times, and told them to get in the van, and made them sign a waiver?

Of course they wouldn't. They would have gone up once, seen that everything was OK, and that would be the end of it.

 

Basically, they are guilty of being a cyclist on a public highway

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CF@Wds replied to the little onion | 1 year ago
5 likes

The waiver idea is obviously phony. If that happened to me I'd get a copy of it, ask for badges, and make an official compliant and take it all the way to the PCC regardless of the response.
I think what is destressing is the "told you so.." type of attitude you'd get if anything happened, so whether to offer it or not under the circumstances was wholly intimidating.

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Rendel Harris replied to CF@Wds | 1 year ago
1 like

No idea where that came from, I've never heard of it anywhere else in any circumstances. Being asked to sign a waiver for the police for undertaking a legal activity? I wonder if strictly speaking it wasn't exactly a waiver, more they asked him to sign a declaration stating that they had advised him to stop and that he was choosing to proceed against said advice, which they could produce at a later date if accused of negligence.

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giff77 replied to Rendel Harris | 1 year ago
3 likes
Rendel Harris wrote:

No idea where that came from, I've never heard of it anywhere else in any circumstances. Being asked to sign a waiver for the police for undertaking a legal activity? I wonder if strictly speaking it wasn't exactly a waiver, more they asked him to sign a declaration stating that they had advised him to stop and that he was choosing to proceed against said advice, which they could produce at a later date if accused of negligence.

It would not though absolve them or a motorist of full responsibility if there was a collision. All it would do is strengthen a contributory negligence argument. The hierarchy of road users I think would trump the waiver. Cyclist wearing brights and using lights vs motorist not driving to conditions. 

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Rendel Harris replied to giff77 | 1 year ago
0 likes
giff77 wrote:

It would not though absolve them or a motorist of full responsibility if there was a collision. All it would do is strengthen a contributory negligence argument. The hierarchy of road users I think would trump the waiver. Cyclist wearing brights and using lights vs motorist not driving to conditions. 

Definitely wouldn't clear a motorist, I meant that the cops would want to cover themselves by having proof that the cyclist was given advice and an offer of assistance to get off the road, so they did all they could to protect him.

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wtjs replied to Rendel Harris | 1 year ago
4 likes

Definitely wouldn't clear a motorist

Pretty much anything clears a motorist in Lancashire, as far as police officers are concerned!

https://upride.cc/incident/g6noope10zvf_vwaudi_veryclosepass/

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giff77 replied to Rendel Harris | 1 year ago
1 like

Though a decent lawyer would challenge the police on why they didn't make motorists sign the same wavier. After all. The motorist would be operating machinery and relying heavily on sub standard reaction times. At least a cyclist can hop off their bike and walk. Highly unlikely a motorist will pull over and walk. 

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TheBillder | 1 year ago
20 likes

It's the Isle of Man.

Quite why they didn't birch him for possibly being gay should be the subject of the first investigation. Only then can we get to the question of why a cyclist has dared to use the road that is owned by car drivers.

Driver: "You don't pay any tax!"
Cyclist: "And you live in a tax haven because... Er... ?"

And they call it a mountain but at 621m it's not going to be hosting much mountaineering.

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eburtthebike replied to TheBillder | 1 year ago
4 likes
TheBillder wrote:

It's the Isle of Man. Quite why they didn't birch him for possibly being gay should be the subject of the first investigation.

Maybe he wasn't wearing lycra?

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Oldfatgit | 1 year ago
18 likes

The police said they had reports of a cyclist "all in black".
Cyclist says he was in brights.

Surely the answer should have been ... "all in black? Nah, not me officer. Must be another rider in front of me ... as you can see, I'm in brights" ...

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AidanR replied to Oldfatgit | 1 year ago
9 likes

I can't help but wonder if there was actually a second cyclist who was dressed in black and wasn't using lights, and the whole thing is actually a case of mistaken identity. After all, how quick was the police response time that they found the rider still on the same hill?

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CF@Wds replied to Oldfatgit | 1 year ago
1 like

Possibly the report was of an "allin BLACK cyclist". I mean that would be arrestable surely? When they stopped him still itching to bundle into back of van?

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brooksby | 1 year ago
11 likes

Did those motorists all genuinely think he was dressed all in black (given that he clearly wasn't) or was that hyperbole so as to get the police to remove the rolling road-block.

If those people gave their names, the police ought to be going back and recommending that they all pass an eye-test...

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BalladOfStruth replied to brooksby | 1 year ago
22 likes

Everyone who rang in to complain should now be getting three points and a FPN for admitting they're driving without due care and attention in reduced visibility. Absolutley insane state of affairs that the police actually sent someone after the cyclist.

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Rendel Harris replied to BalladOfStruth | 1 year ago
23 likes

Perhaps they could also be asked from whence they were making their phone calls of complaint? "There's an idiot up here cycling, I was so surprised I nearly dropped my phone!"

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BalladOfStruth | 1 year ago
28 likes

"Hello, Police? Yeah, so as a typical British motorist, I refuse to drive to the prevailing weather or visibility conditions, and I've nearly hit another road user operating a valid vehicle on the public highway in a completely reasonable manner, as he is perfectly entitled to do. Do you mind wasting some taxpayer money and sending someone up there to harass him off the road so that I can continue to not demonstrate any of the responsibility expected of me when piloting two tonnes of high-speed metal around other members of the public? Cheers".

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