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

During the 'Cycling row: Who's in the wrong?' segment Vine, journalist Mike Parry and the child's father were all critical of the driving...

Since Friday the video below of a driver not stopping to let a five-year-old cyclist pass has been watched 1.8 million times, at the time of writing, and has attracted close to 8,000 replies on Twitter...

Posted by the father, who this morning appeared on Jeremy Vine's Channel 5 show to respond to the hoardes of internet critics pointing the finger at him — and some even at his son — for riding on the road and expecting a driver to not continue within touching distance through a narrowing caused by parked vehicles.

Much of the dialogue about the clip has ignored the advice of the recently added 'Hierarchy of Road Users' part of the Highway Code which tells road users with the potential to cause the most danger to others that they will be deemed to have greater responsibility to those who are more vulnerable than them.

Instead, also ignoring the basic "human compassion" journalist Mike Parry suggested was lacking from the driving, much of the 'debate' has centred on if the child should have been riding on the road in the first place, something Conservative peer Baroness Foster — appointed to the House of Lords by then Prime Minister Boris Johnson in December 2020 — argued online.

The former Conservative Transport Spokesperson in European Parliament, specialising in the aviation and aerospace sectors, replied to the viral video, arguing: "A child that small should not be cycling on a road! A completely irresponsible decision along with your comments that puts the entire onus on the car drivers if/when something goes horribly wrong!"

Responding to the backlash during a segment titled 'Cycling row: Who's in the wrong?' the father who filmed the footage, Ashley, told Jeremy Vine on 5 "the facts are clear on this one — the driver was wrong and my son has every right to ride on the road".

He added that it would be "factually wrong" for anyone to claim the driver did not put the young cyclist at risk.

"You can see from the clip they should have stopped way sooner," he said. "They had plenty of distance to make that decision, we had lights on, reflective clothing. The distance [to the pair cycling] just is not safe. People will argue 'oh, plenty of room, you could drive a bus through there'... well, I'm sorry, that's not factually correct.

"That's less than a metre gap so legally that's wrong and then morally that's wrong. You can debate as much as you want about whether the law is wrong but you know for a fact, everyone knows, that was too close."

Backing Ashley up, journalist and panel guest Mike Parry said the debate about whether the child should have been cycling on the road is "utterly irrelevant".

"Surely human compassion, surely human nature says that if you're driving a car at speed and there's a little child coming the other way your instinct should be the protective nature of an adult in a car over a child," he told Vine.

"There's no argument there. Every time I see this I flinch, I get a shiver down my back [...] I don't know whether the child should have been there or not, that's a separate scientific argument on roadcraft and all that... but when you see a child on a bike, a little five-year-old coming towards you, you pull in just to make absolutely sure no harm is going to come to the child. It's natural instincts."

Writing on Twitter, Vine suggested that anyone who cannot see that the driver "must go dead slow, or stop" should "cut up their driving licence and send the pieces back to the DVLA".

Dan is the road.cc news editor and has spent the past four years writing stories and features, as well as (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. Having previously written about nearly every other sport under the sun for the Express, and the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for the Non-League Paper, Dan joined road.cc in 2020. Come the weekend you'll find him labouring up a hill, probably with a mouth full of jelly babies, or making a bonk-induced trip to a south of England petrol station... in search of more jelly babies.

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81 comments

Avatar
jaymack | 1 year ago
4 likes

Whether the child should have been on the road is wholly irrelevant, the point is that he was on the road and because he was the driver owed him a duty of care and should have given way. If you're driving a tonne and a half of deadly weapon the onus is on you full stop, end of subject. 

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Steve K replied to jaymack | 1 year ago
2 likes
jaymack wrote:

Whether the child should have been on the road is wholly irrelevant, the point is that he was on the road and because he was the driver owed him a duty of care and should have given way. If you're driving a tonne and a half of deadly weapon the onus is on you full stop, end of subject. 

Yes, it's a bit like saying it's ok to carry on shooting if a child walks into a firing range.

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hawkinspeter replied to Steve K | 1 year ago
1 like
Steve K wrote:

Yes, it's a bit like saying it's ok to carry on shooting if a child walks into a firing range.

Well, they certainly didn't pay for the ammunition, so I don't see why I should care if they get shot.

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Hirsute replied to Steve K | 1 year ago
0 likes

They'd be armed anyway, so far do's.

//www.npfbassettspole.com/img/kid-aiming-rifle-on-rest.webp)

 

Always put one in the head.

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chrisonabike replied to Hirsute | 1 year ago
1 like

Just follow the logic - guns are a good equaliser of lethal ability.  Good kids outnumber bad kids (and adults).  Ergo arm all children to make things safer for them.

Maybe we should put them all in cars too for school-run safety? Oh, wait..

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robike replied to jaymack | 1 year ago
1 like

I agree, it's additionally irrelevant that it's a child.  The cyclist got to the narrowing first, so to achieve a good separation the car driver should stop.  Sadly we all know, that if was a car passing the vans and not a cyclist (of any age) the car driver would have stopped - probably before it got to the white car.

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Daveyraveygravey | 1 year ago
4 likes

How anyone can argue that the driver was right to continue is beyond me.  I've been driving for 40 years, and if I saw a small person on a bike in that place, I would have stopped, and waved them through.

No wonder we tolerate 67 ksis a day on our roads. 

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Hirsute replied to Daveyraveygravey | 1 year ago
4 likes

It seems to be "they shouldn't be there, so all bets are off".

Just a form of punishment for doing something they consider to be wrong.

Posted this earlier https://mobile.twitter.com/SarahkateMurph3/status/1589621961487179776

I would have just stopped until the peds were clear, after all, I have an engine.

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brooksby replied to Hirsute | 1 year ago
0 likes

That video is awful  2

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Hirsute | 1 year ago
1 like

Another 5 year old dicing with death

Why aren't they on the pavement ?

https://mobile.twitter.com/SarahkateMurph3/status/1589621961487179776

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The Accountant replied to Hirsute | 1 year ago
0 likes
hirsute wrote:

Another 5 year old dicing with death

Why aren't they on the pavement ?

https://mobile.twitter.com/SarahkateMurph3/status/1589621961487179776

Shows how civilised and lucky we are not to live in the EU. Thanks for sharing.

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chrisonabike replied to The Accountant | 1 year ago
2 likes
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AlsoSomniloquism replied to The Accountant | 1 year ago
3 likes

But aren't you an EU citizen by birth Rakia. You seemed to suggest you were in your first couple of posts. If it turns out you were English all along and using the "A child knows this" as believing that is what foriegners would say, that seems very racist to me. 

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Rendel Harris replied to The Accountant | 1 year ago
5 likes
Rakia wrote:

 Shows how civilised and lucky we are not the live in the EU.

But before you lived in London and "the manners of people there is disgusting. They are all idiots."

Your bullshit is unravelling at a rate of knots I'm afraid.

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lesterama replied to The Accountant | 1 year ago
3 likes

.

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Hirsute | 1 year ago
2 likes

Mark Hodson

#Driverbehaviour is not only the #Greatestthreatofharm actually on the road but also to positive lifestyle choices that our communities and people so greatly need. We need to create an environment whereby all feel comfortable to be part of the solution

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Bungle_52 | 1 year ago
3 likes

The question to ask is : would the driver have done the same thing if the child had been their own child/grandchild?

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brooksby replied to Bungle_52 | 1 year ago
1 like

Of course not.

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hawkinspeter replied to Bungle_52 | 1 year ago
4 likes
Bungle_52 wrote:

The question to ask is : would the driver have done the same thing if the child had been their own child/grandchild?

...and if a driver would drive differently around their own friends/family members, then why are they knowingly endangering others?

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Ian Allso | 1 year ago
4 likes

While the changes to the road code are a positive step in theory, until the practices are fully bedded in, vulnerable road users are at greater risk. Vulnerable road users will believe that cars and truck will behave in a safer manner towards them but this won't necessarily be the case. This I feel puts cyclists at greater risk than before the changes were introduced. 

In New Zealand while it is illegal to ride on the footpath,  so many cyclists do so that little to no enforcement is carried out. It is something of a rarity to see children of this age cycling on the road, and when they are they are chaperoned by adults.

As for the car driver in this clip he should be spoken to by the police and given a warning about a repeat offence. 

Then we have the former minister, who presumably drew up the law changes, seemingly without knowing what they were doing, seems typical of the Tories over the past 12 years.

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Rome73 | 1 year ago
2 likes

the Dad should have been more primary. When riding with children (especially) the adult should take a primary position to create a 'bubble' around the child and thus reduce the space to overtake / pass etc until there is sufficient space. Luckily the driver didn't appear to be a malicious cretin - as many are when they see a cyclist in primary position. 

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Mungecrundle | 1 year ago
2 likes

Not sure this falls into the malign driving camp, though the result of a collision is the same. More your basic driver incompetence when faced with a slightly challenging circumstance. They don't really know what do and beyond steering through what little gap remains they simply freeze.

Might have been better if the adult had taken a more dominant position in closer formation behind and to the right of the child to create a wider profile, but the actual answer is better driver awareness that, in 30mph zones at least, they must always be prepared to stop and cede priority to pedestrians and cycle users.

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grOg | 1 year ago
1 like

In Australian states, it's legal for children under 12 to cycle on footpaths, as well as people older if they are accompanying the young cyclist; some states allow anyone to cycle on footpaths. This is for good reason, as young children should not be sharing roads with motorised vehicles. As for the motorist in this video, the driver clearly slowed down before passing the child and allowed plenty of room for the child as well.

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ShutTheFrontDawes replied to grOg | 1 year ago
4 likes
grOg wrote:

young children should not be sharing roads with motorised vehicles.

Can you expand on why you think this please?

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cyclisto replied to grOg | 1 year ago
0 likes

The problem is that people stick to the laws and ferociously try to support them when their interests align with them. It would be stupid under any country or law to let a kid or maybe even young teen to ride in a road with dense and fast traffic, it would be stupid not to let a kid ride in remote village with a car passing every half an hour and let it loose all the fun.

Try not to base your safety on laws,  but on common sense and what you think is safe.

In this case with such a small kid, I may tried riding on the pavement, but I need to see the entire route.

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Rendel Harris replied to grOg | 1 year ago
6 likes

Welcome back to your usual regular posting grOg, where have you been in the exactly seven weeks to the day since you posted racially offensive remarks about a police officer on here?

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belugabob | 1 year ago
6 likes

I had a similar incident, on my cycle commute, this morning.
The differences were that the obstruction (a supermarket delivery van) was on the oncoming car's side of the road and the road was long and straight enough for the driver to be able to assess the situation. This didn't stop them barreling straight through, though.

There were no 5 year olds involved but the situation was just as dangerous, and totally the fault of the driver (you can decide the car brand)

The number of people saying "it's too dangerous for. 5 year-old to ride on the road", shortly followed by "that was a safe pass - I see nothing wrong" is, frankly, bloody scary.
I despair for humanity.

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quiff replied to belugabob | 1 year ago
1 like
belugabob wrote:

...(a supermarket delivery van) was on the oncoming car's side of the road... This didn't stop them barreling straight through, though...totally the fault of the driver (you can decide the car brand)

Probably an Aygo. A Yugo driver would have stopped. 

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Fignon's ghost | 1 year ago
8 likes

Motorists. Consider this.

Had that same 5 year old child been walking that same spot in that road. Dressed the same. Behaving, just as responsibly.

Would you have slowed to a stop?

Yes!
Please think...

Deduct the bicycle from your future assessment.

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Bmblbzzz replied to Fignon's ghost | 1 year ago
2 likes

Observation and experience suggests that many drivers would do the same if the child had been walking. Or scooting or skipping or playing football but possibly not if playing cricket.

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