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CPS drops prosecution of helmet camera cyclist who delayed traffic by seconds while filming law-breaking driver

Cycling UK hails legal win in case involving Bristol rider who shot footage of one driver using phone at wheel and another ignoring a red light

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has dropped its case against a cyclist who was said to have delayed traffic by a handful of seconds as he used his helmet camera to film a driver illegally using a handheld mobile phone at the wheel in Bristol, as well as another motorist subsequently driving through a red light.

During the incident, which happened on 4 March, Tom Bosanquet spotted a driver using their mobile phone when he drew up alongside them at a set of traffic lights.

He told the motorist that using the phone at the wheel was an offence and dangerous, and while he did so an impatient van driver behind starting beeping his horn due to the delay which lasted all of 9 seconds.

The video of the incident(s), which led to Bosanquet himself being charged despite capturing two driving offences on camera

The van driver then accelerated through the red traffic light, and also failed to give the cyclist the minimum 1.5 metres of space stipulated in the Highway Code since January this year.

Despite capturing footage of those motoring offences which he intended to pass onto police, Mr Bosanquet was himself sent a Notice of Intended Prosecution by Avon & Somerset Police.

He was subsequently charged with inconsiderate cycling contrary to section 29 of the Road Traffic act 1988, an offence that on conviction can lead to a fine of up to £1,000.

> Police intend to prosecute helmet cam cyclist for holding up van driver – for nine seconds

The 43-year-old, whose legal fees are being covered by Cycling UK’s Cyclists’ Defence Fund, had been due to appear at North Somerset Magistrates Court today.

However, the CPS decided to drop the prosecution following a review that concluded that it was Not in the Public Interest to proceed.                                         

Mr Bosanquet, who lives in Bristol, said that the threat of prosecution that had been hanging over him in recent months had been a “stressful” experience.

“This case has been a long, drawn-out and stressful process, and as the first run-in I’ve ever had with the law, I’ve felt shaken by it,” he said. “The attempted prosecution was heavy-handed and inappropriate, something borne out by the case now being dropped.

“I am relieved now to move on from this episode, wiser but undaunted in my desire for the ongoing safety of all vulnerable road users,” he continued.

“Throughout I’ve been humbled by the support shown to me both by individuals and groups such as Bristol Cycling Campaign, and particularly grateful to Cycling UK’s Cyclists’ Defence Fund which was there to take my side and support me,” Mr Bosanquet added.

Sarah Mitchell, chief executive of Cycling UK, said: “It’s somewhat ironic that Mr Bosanquet was prosecuted in the incident when he was using a helmet camera to catch footage with the intention of supporting the police [by collecting] evidence of bad behaviour on our roads.

“This is something that police forces across the country have expressed they welcome from the public, and any negligible delay to traffic was caused in part by this.”

She added: “Cycling UK believes the police should never have referred the case to the Crown Prosecution Service, so we’re pleased it’s now been dropped. Going to court would undoubtedly have been a waste of resources.”

According to Cycling UK, the Cyclists’ Defence Fund, which is financed solely through donations, “helps fight significant legal cases involving cyclists, especially those which could set important precedents for the future, and could affect the safety of all cyclists. Its remit has expanded over time to cover all aspects of cycling and the law.”

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.

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24 comments

Avatar
Hirsute | 1 year ago
4 likes

I'll add this one here
https://mobile.twitter.com/CHAIRRDRF/status/1578809564618973187

"We really do need an integrated, uniform programme of officer training addressing common road user prejudices for all (IMO) officers in UK Police Services, certainly all Roads and Traffic officers."

BUT read the image of the letter.

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Oldfatgit replied to Hirsute | 1 year ago
0 likes

I was under the impression that a breech of the peace can only occur if there is a member of the public present who may be offended by the behaviour or language.
A Police Officer does not count as they are not members of the public and have been trained against taking offence.
IANAL and happy to be corrected.

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Rendel Harris replied to Oldfatgit | 1 year ago
4 likes

I believe you're correct, although a person can still be arrested for swearing at a police officer if others are present and they were caused fear and alarm (i.e. they thought violence might ensue). It's not actually breach of the peace to offend someone by swearing though, it has to be shown that a reasonable person would be caused fear and alarm by the language and or/tone. I recall hearing a solicitor on the radio illustrating this by saying that saying calmly "Get the fuck off my property" would not be considered breach of the peace but screaming "Get off my property!" could be.

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Hirsute | 1 year ago
12 likes

Andy Cox DCS:

A "9 second delay" in order to capture evidence of an offence, by risk-takers, who through dangerous actions jeopardise the safety of road users. This decision seems entirely appropriate. It’s time we all cared less about a few seconds, and more about the safety of our journeys.

 

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JustTryingToGet... | 1 year ago
15 likes

This case was an absolute disgrace from the outset, and should lead to a wider enquiry into the actions of the police officer involved who appears to have clearly demonstrated they are in the uniform to abuse power and not to protect. A great success for Cycling UK

I'd be minded to FoI if I was Mr Bosanquet.

This story is well worth a few f-bombs where opinions seem so facetious as to cross the trolling line if ignoring it is not palatable.

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zideriup | 1 year ago
1 like

Don't know what is worse, the initial (blatent) bad trolling or the self-righteous tone policing just to pacify unsubstantiated claims of bias from Nigels with a persecution complex.

Either way, everyone's got what they wanted, the Nigels get the hornets nest buzzing once again and the mini moderators get to feel good because they think they saved the integrity of the neutrality of a Road CC comments page without realising The Nigels played them like a fiddle. Kumbayaaa, my lord...  1

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Secret_squirrel replied to zideriup | 1 year ago
4 likes

zideriup wrote:

Don't know what is worse, the initial (blatent) bad trolling or the self-righteous tone policing just to pacify unsubstantiated claims of bias from Nigels with a persecution complex.

Either way, everyone's got what they wanted, the Nigels get the hornets nest buzzing once again and the mini moderators get to feel good because they think they saved the integrity of the neutrality of a Road CC comments page without realising The Nigels played them like a fiddle. Kumbayaaa, my lord...  1

 

says the poster with the suspiciously low post count.  Seems like the only one trying to stir things is you.

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zideriup replied to Secret_squirrel | 1 year ago
0 likes

Secret_squirrel wrote:

no u

Help, help I'm being oppressed for simply expressing my dissenting opinions from the mainstream... George Orwell... Lamestream... Biased... Wrongthink... 1984 wasn't an instruction manual... Liberal elites... Clique... Animal Farm... What happened to free speech?!!???!????
 

I await my orchestra of sad violins, after all it works for the Nigels constantly moaning about their shit opinions trolling being called out as it rightfully should be.

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Hirsute | 1 year ago
2 likes

Come back nigel, all is forgiven.

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brooksby replied to Hirsute | 1 year ago
5 likes

Take that back! surprise

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ktache replied to brooksby | 1 year ago
1 like

I thought that language was a bit extreme and incredibly offensive.

Mods!!!

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Hirsute | 1 year ago
0 likes

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L17q1VMHz8E

Got this song in my head now !

 

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iandusud | 1 year ago
7 likes

"However, the CPS decided to drop the prosecution following a review that concluded that it was Not in the Public Interest to proceed."

What was in the public interest was the cyclist explaining to the phone using car driver the danger he presents to other road users. So how about the CPS instead of victimising Mr Bosanquet, they prosecute the car driver, call Mr Bosanquet as a witness and thank him for sense of public service. 

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IanGlasgow | 1 year ago
8 likes

Were either of the 2 drivers charged, prosecuted, fined or even just given a warning letter?
Anything at all for using the phone or running the red light?

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Velo-drone | 1 year ago
4 likes

Bit silly to even try this one on.

That said, the reason van driver is frustrated - and jumps the red, is that their light is green and turns red while the cyclist is conversing with the car driver.

If they'd moved over to the right turn lane temporarily to remonstrate it would have all been avoided.

Equally, do I believe that they would have tried to prosecute a car driver who stopped for same amount of time to have the same conversation with the phone driver?

Not for a moment ...

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HoarseMann | 1 year ago
11 likes

This belief that you must keep moving and coming to a stop on a road is dangerous, is half the reason so many drivers just won't wait for a safe place to pass a cyclist, or drive around a bend too fast expecting the road to be clear. 

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Hirsute | 1 year ago
9 likes

Let's see what Mark Hodson has to say:

"What a waste of public time and money all because of clueless untrained inexperienced people making poor decisions at the triage stage of #3rdpartyreporting, this is why standardisation is essential and the role of triage must be made a specialist role with prerequisite skills."

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Daveyraveygravey | 1 year ago
10 likes

Can someone tell me why it got to that stage?  Why would a 9 second delay lead to all this hoo-ha??  Do people who break down and block the road completely for hours have this thrown at them?

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ShutTheFrontDawes replied to Daveyraveygravey | 1 year ago
7 likes

Because Avon and Somerset Police are a bunch of incompetents led by arseholes.

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hawkinspeter | 1 year ago
10 likes

Excellent news. Shame it took so long when we all knew it wasn't going to go anywhere.

Here's the ePetition for safer cycling in Bristol: https://democracy.bristol.gov.uk/mgEPetitionDisplay.aspx?ID=255&RPID=21264853&HPID=21264853

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espressodan | 1 year ago
19 likes

And on watching the video again, it shows what an utter shit show traffic in the UK is. Cars on pavements, vans on double yellows, cars facing the wrong direction, yet they prosecuted the rider. What a farce.

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Surreyrider replied to espressodan | 1 year ago
9 likes

No mention of the drivers being prosecuted for their illegal actions either.

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espressodan | 1 year ago
12 likes

"It was Not in the Public Interest to proceed.".

No shit Sherlock. Somebody proved that they're the number one a-hole in town with the original decision.

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Pub bike replied to espressodan | 1 year ago
7 likes

My guess is that the intended purpose of the legal action by the police was to deter (bully and intimidate) cyclists into not reporting all the law-breaking by motorists because it doesn't fit their totally messed-up narrative about cyclists being the cause of all the accidents and congestion.  Despicable.

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