Please note that on 28/6/2023, at the Metropolitan Police's request, all photos and video identifying the driver was removed as the police are now proceeding with prosecution.
A cyclist in west London has posted footage to Twitter of the moment the driver of a Royal Mail van who was heading towards him while on the wrong side of the road in what appears to be an attempt to bypass queueing traffic told him, “If I was messed up in the head you would’ve died.” Royal Mail have confirmed to road.cc that they are investigating the incident.
One of your vans seems to have been stolen and being driven dangerously on the wrong side of the road
— Roly West (@rolywest) June 15, 2023
The incident happened in the London Borough of Ealing yesterday evening, with the cyclist, Roly West, telling road.cc: “I was commuting home at around 6pm, making my way along Northfield Avenue from Uxbridge Road, a junction in Ealing notorious for congestion and the site of the killing of cyclist Claudia Manera,” a former Metropolitan Police officer who was killed in a crash involving a lorry in October 2017.
“The Royal Mail driver pulled out of the queue into the opposite lane and into my path, passing about 10 waiting cars at speed.
“I noticed him, and judging that there was no space for us to safely pass one another, I stopped early to allow him slow and to pull back into the queue. He said ‘Not gonna lie mate, if I was messed up in the head you would’ve died. I’m clearly going round to get round to a corner, you could’ve just moved out the fucking way”.
“The driver had pulled out about 170 metres away from the right turn, and didn’t have indicators on. Speechless at his driving and what he said, I asked him if he worked for Royal Mail as the van suggested, but he claimed he didn’t. I asked him who he worked for, but he didn’t answer.”
While the employment status of the driver in this specific instance is not currently known, Royal Mail does at times have contractors driving its vehicles who are employed externally.
A Royal Mail spokesperson told road.cc: “We are aware of the incident and an internal investigation is ongoing.”
Perhaps unsurprisingly given the size of its vehicle fleet – 41,500 vans and 6,200 trucks and trailers, according to its website – Royal Mail drivers putting vulnerable road users in danger have featured in our Near Miss of the Day series, such as this incident from 2021 in which a pedestrian and a cyclist both had a close call.
Providing background information about the area where the incident took place, Roly said: “This road has historically been congested. During Covid lockdown in 2020 Ealing Council installed modal filters to create low traffic neighbourhoods in surrounding streets.
“Now silent anti-LTN campaign group One Ealing claimed that the filters created congestion exactly like that seen in the video. Following a coup in the Labour leadership, the nearest area of filters that could reduce congestion along this stretch was removed during the school run after just nine months, without any kind of public consultation.
“With these and other modal filters gone, walking and cycling are more dangerous in Ealing, and the congestion is as bad as ever.
“Companies like Royal Mail put undue pressure on their staff to meet deadlines and targets, which translates into drivers like this putting other road users in very real danger,” Roly continued.
“Local groups like Better Ealing Streets and Ealing Cycle Campaign are raising awareness about road danger in Ealing, and campaigning to get safer streets for people not in motor vehicles,” he added.
Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.