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Cyclist to be prosecuted for “riding in the middle of the road” after filming a driver using mobile phone

The cyclist is set to face trial for “riding without due care and attention”, while the driver has received a police “advisory letter” but faced no criminal case.

A cyclist who recorded footage of a driver using his mobile phone in traffic with his helmet camera has been accused of “breaking the law” and posing a “danger to other road users” by the police, and is set to face prosecution for riding without due care and attention, including “riding in the middle of the road”.

Dave Clifton, 56, was cycling on Pont Street in Belgravia, London in August last year when he came across a driver at the wheel of a Range Rover in momentarily stationary traffic using his mobile phone and turned around to capture footage of the man caught in the act.

However, when he submitted the video, seen by The Standard, to the police, the outcome was certainly one that he was not expecting.

The penalty for holding a cellular device when driving can be up to 6 penalty points and a £200 fine, as well as losing your licence if the driver passed your driving test in the last 2 years.

However, the Met police instead proceeded to claim that the cyclist had been riding on the wrong side of the road, and suggested that he “could pose a danger to other road users”.

> Third-party reporting of drivers discussed on Channel 5, with CyclingMikey urging more cyclists to do it and the police claiming it’s “making roads safer”

Natasha Springford, a Met police staff member in the traffic division, said that the cyclist was “in the middle of the road” and was then “very close to the Range Rover on the opposite side of the road whilst a motorcyclist was oncoming with a passenger”.

She added: “You can see the cyclist cycling towards the oncoming motorbike that is filtering between traffic,” and then suggested the motorbike has to “ride in between the cyclist that is very close and the Range Rover”.

Driver using mobile phone in a black car
Driver on phone - via CyclingMikey

Clifton is now due to face trial next month at Lavender Hill magistrates court. The driver of the Range Rover, meanwhile, has got away with a police “advisory letter” and is said to be facing no criminal case.

However, the cyclist from south-west London has said that he intends to fight the claim at the trial. He said: “The ‘other side of the road’ doesn’t begin wherever my accuser wants it to begin. This is a ludicrous allegation. The police have ignored the filtering motorcyclist and the driver using a mobile phone, and have chosen to prosecute me. This seems to be malicious.”

Third-party reporting of drivers by cyclists has divided opinion online and seemingly with public, when the matter is discussed by written or broadcast media. CyclingMikey or Mike van Erp, is perhaps the most well-known 'camera cyclist'.

> Police force criticised for one close pass prosecution from 286 submissions admits need to review how reports are managed

The Dutch-born road safety campaigner's fame has grown as a result of his reports of motorists using mobile phones — close to 2,000, and including the likes of Chris Eubank and Guy Ritchie — some of which have landed him on the receiving end of violent threats and foul-mouthed tirades.

His videos, which he shares after the conviction on YouTube, have won him many fans in the cycling world. However, his approach has also birthed some detractors, most notably lawyer Nick Freeman, better known as Mr Loophole.

> "We don't want to live in a snitch society": Mr Loophole takes aim at camera cyclists and Cycling Mikey (again)

However, just last month, we reported that the public opinion on third-party reporting could be shifting as some have seemingly begun to accept that it could actually be making roads safer, the topic was discussed during a Channel 5 segment.

One such person was West Mercia Police's PC Jim Roberts, who said that the police are rather keen on more people reporting drivers breaking the law. “By the general public submitting dashcam footage to us and then those drivers being dealt with, it's sending a message and it is making our roads safer,” he said.

CyclingMikey added: “Somebody's got to step up and do it, and there are some of those in society at least who do it.”

> "Stoking cyclist hate will get him more publicity": CyclingMikey hits back at Mr Loophole's latest attack on "snitch society" camera cyclists

Figures shared with Channel 5 showed that over 33,000 videos were submitted to police in England and Wales last year, up by 21 per cent on 2022, and an increase of almost 300 per cent over 2020. 70 per cent of these reports have led to police action, the broadcast said.

The National Police Chiefs' Council also told Channel 5 that they welcome that technology can help them, with one in every five drivers running a dashcam and an even higher estimate for cyclists, the news broadcaster said.

road.cc has contacted Dave Clifton for comment.

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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105 comments

Avatar
Wheelywheelygood | 4 months ago
1 like

I've seen this myself a cyclist riding down the  white line on a 2lane road so that nobody could pass him even oncoming traffic had to go within half a metre to get by . The line got to over 50cars before anyone could get passed this Muppet 

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brooksby replied to Wheelywheelygood | 4 months ago
3 likes

You've given no other details about the road or the positioning of parked cars.

Its entirely possible that the cyclist didn't feel it was safe for people to pass (what with all that oncoming traffic) and so didn't want to move over, as they are allowed - nay, recommended - to by the highway code.

But hey, at least they weren't crashing into wheelchairs at 60mph on the footway, right?

(edited for clarity)

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Bungle_52 replied to Wheelywheelygood | 4 months ago
2 likes

I have some sympathy for the drivers following. My feeling is that if the driver is entirely in the other lane then in a lot of cases it's difficult to complain about passing distances provided it's done at a safe speed. The problem in your scenario, then, is that there is a constant stream of oncoming cars preventing the following cars overtaking and it is the volume of traffic that is causing the holdup, not the cyclist.

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Hirsute replied to Bungle_52 | 4 months ago
4 likes

Pointless replying to someone who consistently makes stuff up and is only here to troll.

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Bungle_52 replied to Hirsute | 4 months ago
0 likes

I haven't up till now but I thought the point about oncoming cars not being able to give 1.5m was valid one for a change. Even trolls occasionally make points worth considering. I've been accused of being a troll myself once.

As I've said before, if it's obvious that they are trolling, just ignore. If a valid point is made, engage. Never any need to be rude.

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Rendel Harris replied to Bungle_52 | 4 months ago
1 like

Bungle_52 wrote:

I haven't up till now but I thought the point about oncoming cars not being able to give 1.5m was valid one for a change.

Well, not really: it's not expected or mandated that cars have to give cyclists 1.5 m when passing in opposite directions. That would make life impossible for drivers because the average lane is about 3 m wide, the average car is about 2 m wide and obviously drivers have to stay out a little way from the kerb, so it would be impossible to give an oncoming cyclist who was in the right-hand side of their lane preparing to turn right 1.5 m. Not really an issue because firstly you have the lane dividers, so as long as both parties stay on their own side they are not going to collide, and secondly because you can see them coming and adjust accordingly, it's the unpredictable and unexpected nature of close passes from behind that makes them so dangerous.

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perce replied to Wheelywheelygood | 4 months ago
1 like

When you say this muppet are you referring to yourself?

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chrisonabike replied to perce | 4 months ago
3 likes
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Hirsute | 4 months ago
4 likes

OK this time it has been dropped !

https://www.standard.co.uk/news/crime/dave-clifton-prosecution-cyclist-r...

“(I) felt that the evidence test for the offence of driving without due care was not met, this was discussed and reviewed with the CPS who agreed with our assessment and we have made an application for this case to be discontinued”, said the [Met Police] manager.

 

As predicted by some in this thread.

Not sure why the ES didn't have the fuller video before. He was a bit close the m/c but at a stretch it might be 'words of advice'.

The driver should have 6 points though.

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hawkinspeter replied to Hirsute | 4 months ago
1 like

Hirsute wrote:

OK this time it has been dropped !

https://www.standard.co.uk/news/crime/dave-clifton-prosecution-cyclist-r...

“(I) felt that the evidence test for the offence of driving without due care was not met, this was discussed and reviewed with the CPS who agreed with our assessment and we have made an application for this case to be discontinued”, said the [Met Police] manager.

As predicted by some in this thread.

Not sure why the ES didn't have the fuller video before. He was a bit close the m/c but at a stretch it might be 'words of advice'.

The driver should have 6 points though.

Repeating my comment on the Live Blog:

That's just asking for a complaint to be made. I doubt if a defamation case would get anywhere for the Met Police suggesting that the cyclist was breaking the law.

I don't understand why the driver wasn't fined for mobile phone use - must have been a friend of the police officer.

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Hirsute | 4 months ago
0 likes

"I hear the CPS case against Dave Clifton has been dropped. I did get shown the video and yeah, it's not something I'd have thought should be prosecuted. The whole thing is still a good reminder that we're all required to drive and ride safely on the roads, mind."

https://twitter.com/MikeyCycling/status/1765037670986866752

3:32 PM · Mar 5, 2024

 

edit: hmmm, post deleted !

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Polinsteve | 4 months ago
1 like

CM is probably the most dangerous cyclist on the roads and does more to cause conflict than any other cyclist.
He deliberately causes road conflicts and is never willing to work with other road users.
He hasn't learnt that ALL road users share the space and he doesn't realise that defensive riding/biking/motoring looks after all of us.

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Rendel Harris replied to Polinsteve | 4 months ago
11 likes

Polinsteve wrote:

He hasn't learnt that ALL road users share the space and he doesn't realise that defensive riding/biking/motoring looks after all of us.

Yeah...tell me you don't know what CM does without telling me. He stops people driving through a no entry on the wrong side of the road in Regent's Park and he reports people driving whilst illegally using their mobile phones. In what way is "defensive riding/biking/motoring" anything to do with that?

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john_smith replied to Polinsteve | 4 months ago
6 likes

Fascinating. Which act of defensive cycling does "CM", whoever she or he might be, object to? 

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chrisonabike replied to Polinsteve | 4 months ago
8 likes

When you say "work with other road users" do you mean "continue to acquiesce to their dangerous, illegal behaviour?"

Can't deny that he's a poster child for "entitled, aggressive cyclist" for some.  Nor that he's causing conflict either.  I certainly wouldn't e.g. cross the road at Gandalf's corner (as pedestrians have every right to do so) at the same time as someone's illegally driving the wrong way up a lane (because they're too important to wait in the queue).  I'd just assume they would be a wrong'un and might even drive into me!

Saying that, now I think about it, I do deliberately cause conflict too!  I ride a bike on the road sometimes.  Clearly I'll be getting in the way of drivers some of the time.  And for some drivers - all the time.  Including those rare occasions when I'm actually travelling at about the speed limit.  Turns out some folks just can't "share the road".

I try to work with other road users and let people by where it's safe to do so (don't want to cause congestion...), take care around pedestrians etc. But that's clearly just whataboutery - I'm not even in a car* so I'm clearly a danger to the latter and in the way of the former!

* ... so obvs. I don't even pay road tax either.

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Car Delenda Est replied to chrisonabike | 4 months ago
1 like

Just realised that CM is to entitled cyclists what Jeremy Clarkson is to entitled motorists.

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perce replied to Polinsteve | 4 months ago
3 likes

Oh I don't know - I saw one much more dangerous than him last week, hula- hooping on his bicycle while trying to crack open a coconut on his handlebars. Don't know how fast he was going - I was doing 25mph on my skateboard and he whizzed past me as though I wasn't there.

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Rendel Harris replied to perce | 4 months ago
6 likes

Sorry about that, I'd had a couple...

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perce replied to Rendel Harris | 4 months ago
2 likes

Me too.

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chrisonabike replied to perce | 4 months ago
9 likes

perce wrote:

Oh I don't know - I saw one much more dangerous than him last week, hula- hooping on his bicycle while trying to crack open a coconut on his handlebars.

They should put a bounty on his head!

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perce replied to chrisonabike | 4 months ago
2 likes

I know! He was running rings round everyone else.

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Hirsute replied to Polinsteve | 4 months ago
6 likes

Are you ashley neal's brother ? Or have you got 6 points and a £200 fine ?

I suppose CM made Rowan Pelling write that torygraph article the other day.

He's fully aware of defensive cycling as can be seen in his videos.

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chrisonabike replied to Polinsteve | 4 months ago
6 likes

I think this whole filming people breaking the law / seeking publicity is indeed causing conflict and is bringing us into disrepute.  I'm talking as a (very occasional) driver - people like this selfish lunatic are ruining the image of all us drivers:

https://www.standard.co.uk/news/crime/m66-crash-frankie-jules-hough-holl...

Or this one:

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2023/11/18/drink-driver-filmed-himself-...

Or these publicity-seekers:

https://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/evo-triangle-wales-speedin...

Or this chap (but it was an "exaggeration of real life" apparently):

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-cornwall-55177486

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Greenpedal | 4 months ago
1 like

Ha Ha I love it, but it's difficult to predict what direction this case will take in court.
Interesting how his ego simply cannot accept he may be in the wrong.

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Hirsute replied to Greenpedal | 4 months ago
7 likes

The troll is back.

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chrisonabike replied to Hirsute | 4 months ago
2 likes

To the tune of "the cat came back" ("the very next day")?

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Hirsute | 4 months ago
2 likes

BBB has his say but only in the general sense. legal advice not Legal Advice.

https://youtu.be/BLIC87TWmqs?si=1tSNMpTy1fxr-j56

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cyclisto | 4 months ago
2 likes

Correct, if it is ok for cyclists to make U turns in the middle of the road, then what is the difference between cars doing the same.

I really wonder how CM has gotten away this long with U turns and going reverse in the middle of the road while having proof himself uploaded.

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Secret_squirrel replied to cyclisto | 4 months ago
15 likes

cyclisto wrote:

Correct, if it is ok for cyclists to make U turns in the middle of the road, then what is the difference between cars doing the same.

I really wonder how CM has gotten away this long with U turns and going reverse in the middle of the road while having proof himself uploaded.

Please show ANY evidence that a u-turn is illegal on the vast majority of UK roads.

Your strawman is on fire....

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Polinsteve replied to Secret_squirrel | 4 months ago
0 likes

Driving or riding dangerously or carelessly is an offence as well as the height of stupidity.

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