Wednesday 3 June 2015

Sickening Road Rage Incident

Well, if you keep up with cycling news in the UK you can't fail to have heard about this incident. If by some miracle you haven't come across this, here's what everyone seems to be talking about - its not pretty, and it sure as hell is NOT SAFE FOR WORK. 

There is little I can add to this story that has not been extensively said elsewhere.

But lets step back and ask whats really happening - passing a cyclist that closely is an aggressive act - if you nearly kill someone with a car you need to expect them to be pretty full up with adrenaline. So, yeah, the cyclist responded with some profanity - not unreasonable considering he was under attack - the driver saw the cyclist and knowingly passed very close, pulling in ever further in response to the cyclists angry, terrified shouting before getting out of the car to remove any uncertainty we may have as to his intentions - he says himself that he'd break the cyclists neck if there weren't witnesses.

But look at the guys face as he gets out and approaches the cyclist - to my eye this isn't just fight or flight response, and his initial insistence that the cyclist should be in the cycle lane isn't just aggressive, its dismissive. He's not taking the risks to himself in this situation seriously - he's disgusted by the cyclist who has, from the outset, been the victim of his wrath.

We need to look further than this guys anger, we need to get past this simple act of aggression and view this as what it really is - status and entitlement. He's better than the cyclist just because. His seriously threatening behaviour is justifiable because its a cyclist. In his mind we can act that way to cyclists because they're cyclists - you can do that to cyclists who are not breaking any rules or giving you the slightest problem, cyclists are already in the wrong. Look, he's not alone. 

Bluntly there are two things we need to see to stop this happening. Firstly, if there are cycle facilities (and there really should be) they have to be good enough to use - even lethally bad cycle facilities get us bullied for not using them (in Cambridge we call this the Milton Road Effect). But its not jut about cycle facilities, its about hate.

This guy was aggressive to the other guy because he was on the road, on a bike. Bluntly, the cyclist had done nothing wrong, the aggressor initiated this with his ridiculously dangerous overtake and compounded it with truly threatening driving and a brutal tirade of threatening abuse - all because the other guy was a cyclist. We must put pressure on our MP's and the Police and CPS to treat these as what they are - hate crimes. These incidents must be prosecuted in the same way we'd prosecute crimes based on ethnicity or sexuality hate - they come from the same pit of human psychology, and until we treat them as such we'll see no reduction in their frequency.

£90 fine, apparently. Not enough. Not nearly enough. 

EDIT: Had to change the source for the video, the original had gone. Huff Post still have it, so I've swapped to that one.


  1. More specifically, fining the guy for the public order offence, not the driving offence that caused it will only reinforce to him & others that the driving was perfectly reasonable, he just over-reacted a bit.

    1. Indeed. It often seems that plod will deal with the easiest part and ignore the far more serious crimes.

  2. This guy is clearly not safe to be driving! And is the fine for verbally (well more than that really!) assaulting someone really only £90? Is this being treated as just a driving offence or somethign?

    We need to get rid of shared pavement facilities which I presume is what the cyclist was avoiding.


    1. I believe that the facility in question is short, poorly surfaced and would necessitate crossing lanes of traffic to get to and then escape from. Valueless, basically, and you'd hold other traffic up more by using it than not.

    2. Sounds like most of the uk then... useless!