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Informal verbal warning from the police after submitting near miss

Hello everyone,

I have stumbled upon a bit of a problem. I record my rides with a GoPro on the front and another on the back of my bike, both to share good videos but also to share footage of dangerous driving with the police. I've had success previously, with no fewer than 11 convictions (including one getting their licence revoked!) from around 250 videos submitted. It's a lot of work and the rate isn't great but I'll do anything to keep vulnerable road users safe.

Here's where we get to the problem. In one of my videos that I sent to the police, I have to admit that I did not keep a cool head, and used what they have described as 'racially charged language'. I don't dispute that, and it was a momentary lapse when I was almost run down by a man who was on his mobile phone at the time (I know because I caught him as such on camera). At this point, in shock of almost being killed, I screamed something I am not proud of as I reached for the most offensive term I could. The driver did not hear me, or at least did not react, and I consider myself lucky that he did not.

I submitted the footage to the police regardless, and explained in the same way that I did above why I said what I did, and that I am not a racist person. Their response was to telephone me while at work and ask me to retract the report or I would potentially face a conviction myself which, for reasons I don't need to go into, is not something I want.

The issued me with what they described as an 'informal verbal warning'. Has anyone else received such a warning before, and know what it means? I think it's ridiculous that my momentary lapse of vocabulary as a result of almost being murdered by a dangerous driver could be used against me, when I'm helping the police out by submitting such videos.

Does anyone have advice on what to do next, and if this warning has any actual meaning, or is just a bluff? It won't stop me on my crusade against murderous drivers, but it does make me unsure if I am putting myself at risk by doing so in future.

Thanks I'm advance.

If you're new please join in and if you have questions pop them below and the forum regulars will answer as best we can.

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49 comments

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Sriracha | 2 months ago
7 likes

As several have suggested, those who say they are without racism are deluding themselves. Of course there are degrees, but below the surface I doubt any of us is spotless. And for most of the time, as civilised people, we filter what comes out, for the greater good.

The trouble is that stress-induced outbursts, almost by definition, short-circuit the pre frontal cortex:
".. neuromodulatory changes that occur during stress rapidly disrupt PFC network connections and markedly impair PFC function".
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2907136/

However, even though it came out in haste it will be judged at leisure. So I think the advice to simply keep schtum, as a matter of habit, is good advice in these situations.

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pablo | 2 months ago
2 likes

Racist laungage is not acceptable and anytime.  It doesn't matter when it's used.  Sounds like you were lucky to get away with it and the officers did you a favour because if they had of continued with your complaint they would also of had to persue you for your outburst.  

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Steve K | 2 months ago
5 likes

Interesting policing.  We have evidence of two offences, so if you keep quiet, we'll ignore both of them.

(Edit - though the exchange in the comments between NotNigel and Rendel makes me think this is probably all made up.)

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Rendel Harris replied to Steve K | 2 months ago
7 likes
Steve K wrote:

(Edit - though the exchange in the comments between NotNigel and Rendel makes me think this is probably all made up.)

Yes, really not sure what this poster's game is: the use of my image as an avatar is extremely peculiar, as was their denial that it had anything to do with me, and their posts quite often read like a parody of an extreme pro-cyclist (pro as in favour of, not professional). I suspect this may be a PBU or other mischievous person acting as an agent provocateur, for example with this story trolling to see how many people will say racism doesn't matter, it's the offence against the cyclist that's important.

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Rendel Harris replied to Rendel Harris | 2 months ago
7 likes

Given that it's well over 24 hours since the OP chucked this controversy bomb and that he hasn't commented on it since, I think it's pretty safe to conclude, as I said below, that it didn't happen and he was just trolling to see if he could get a response that would allow him to say there you are, cyclists care more about themselves than about racism. In which case he's been somewhat disappointed, I fear. A PBU trying to get smart, one suspects.

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chrisonabike replied to Rendel Harris | 2 months ago
4 likes

He's probably busy doing his festive 1000.  Apparently some similar-looking fellow is having this Christmas off...

"Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery"* but I'm not sure "identity theft" is quite the same.

* ... " that mediocrity can pay to greatness", to finish it.

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Steve K replied to chrisonabike | 2 months ago
3 likes
chrisonatrike wrote:

He's probably busy doing his festive 1000.  Apparently some similar-looking fellow is having this Christmas off...

"Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery"* but I'm not sure "identity theft" is quite the same.

* ... " that mediocrity can pay to greatness", to finish it.

I'm not sure I knew the second half of the quote - thanks for that.

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Matthew Acton-Varian replied to Steve K | 2 months ago
1 like

Understanding a full quotation can often cause a chasmic shift in perception for often used paraphrases when ignorant of its meaning. The full "jack of all trades" often springs to mind.

I try to avoid using them unless I know the full and original source.

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chrisonabike replied to Matthew Acton-Varian | 2 months ago
0 likes

Always a source of amusement (or sadness) for those in the know.  James Joyce had a good example of someone getting the wrong end of Shakespeare (there are several).

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Rendel Harris replied to chrisonabike | 2 months ago
2 likes

"Neither a borrower nor a lender be" – as PG Wodehouse said, it's astonishing how many people whom one would not have suspected of having a familiarity with the works of Shakespeare seem to know that quote, but very few seem to know that it comes from Polonius, the "tedious old fool" and garrulous windbag who is wrong in virtually everything he says and does.

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chrisonabike replied to Rendel Harris | 2 months ago
1 like

Wodehouse was perhaps being ironic - many languages have some "greats" who seem to sow their words and phrases broadcast across a language*, many of which then sprout in unexpected places.  Often giving rise to malapropisms also**.

So Shakespeare and certain versions of the Bible in English.  I quite like the Russian take on this, where even the name of a similar "giant" Pushkin has given rise to new expressions (possibly like the usage of "Einstein" in English).

* Whether by invention, popularisation or just that "to those that have more will be credited" - "gilt by association" you might say. ** "Malapropism" is another lovely coinage the credit for which appears to have stuck to people other than the (uncertain) originator.

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hawkinspeter replied to chrisonabike | 2 months ago
1 like
chrisonabike wrote:

Wodehouse was perhaps being ironic - many languages have some "greats" who seem to sow their words and phrases broadcast across a language*, many of which then sprout in unexpected places.  Often giving rise to malapropisms also**.

So Shakespeare and certain versions of the Bible in English.  I quite like the Russian take on this, where even the name of a similar "giant" Pushkin has given rise to new expressions (possibly like the usage of "Einstein" in English).

* Whether by invention, popularisation or just that "to those that have more will be credited" - "gilt by association" you might say. ** "Malapropism" is another lovely coinage the credit for which appears to have stuck to people other than the (uncertain) originator.

As language mistakes go, I prefer eggcorns: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eggcorn

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Tom_77 replied to Rendel Harris | 2 months ago
4 likes
Rendel Harris wrote:

it's astonishing how many people whom one would not have suspected of having a familiarity with the works of Shakespeare seem to know that quote, but very few seem to know that it comes from Polonius, the "tedious old fool" and garrulous windbag who is wrong in virtually everything he says and does.

To fully understand Shakespeare you need to read him in the original Klingon.

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Bungle_52 | 2 months ago
5 likes

First of all thanks for taking the time and effort to make your reports to the police on behalf of us all.

I have trained myself not to shout anything at drivers any more and I avoid confronations where possible. This hasn't always been the case and it does take some self dicipline.

As for the racist element of your language, I think there are two points to make. Firstly the police are just doing their job, they can't enforce some aspects of the law and ignore others. Secondly I think many of us are racist to some degree. I still find myself surprised when I see a person of Indian or Pakistani appearance talk with a Scottish accent on the telly. It's just racial stereotyping and I have to remind mayself every time it happens. I'm sure there are many other examples. I don't class myself as a racist but I do take note when I find myself thinking racist thoughts and try to stop it happening again. Like not shouting it will take time and effort but if we don't acknowledge our built in prejudices we will never improve.

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Hirsute replied to Bungle_52 | 2 months ago
9 likes

I was thinking about that the other day. I was brought up when sexism, racism, homophobic comments were ok. It's very hard to 100% eliminate that when it's part of your formative years.
As you say, you try and recognise when it might happen and work to eliminate it.

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quiff replied to Hirsute | 2 months ago
5 likes

Agree. Although I picked Adam up on use of gendered language below (though it was actually meant as an observation, not a personal attack, Adam) I am far from blameless. I am trying to train myself out of using epithets like 'crazy' 'insane' or 'mental'.  

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Jimmy Ray Will replied to Bungle_52 | 2 months ago
5 likes

I'd argue that all of us are racist to a degree, and I find it really frustrating that society gives racism such a binary label.

That said, in my minds you can group people in three classifications; people that don't want to be racist, and actively monitor themselves to avoid racial prejudices influencing their judgements; people that do not want to be racist, but are blissfully ignorant of their existing racial prejudices - and they absolutely will have them; and finally, there are people that are simply openly (internally as a minimum) racist.

Personally speaking, if we could move the conversation away from binary labels and instead work to evolving spectrums, we'd have much more success in overcoming racism. 

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NotNigel | 2 months ago
9 likes

Let's hope he's using his own identity and not Rendel's when submitting videos....if he actually is doing any of what he's stated.

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Rendel Harris replied to NotNigel | 2 months ago
7 likes
NotNigel wrote:

Let's hope he's using his own identity and not Rendel's when submitting videos....if he actually is doing any of what he's stated.

Crikey, I didn't realise (there being no avatar on forum posts) that this is my alleged doppelgänger. Indeed, I do hope his activities outside the walls of this forum are carried out under his own identity and not mine!

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brooksby | 2 months ago
2 likes

If you have to scream at someone, maybe criticise the activity not the person: "That was f-ing dangerous!" "Are you trying to kill me?" "WTAF were you thinking?" and never "You f-ing xxxx".

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Hirsute | 2 months ago
2 likes

Essex say unedited footage should be uploaded.
Is muting it editing?

I wouldn't have submitted as they could ask for the original raw footage.

I always add in a comment if my actions could be questioned by someone with no local knowledge. Eg "this may look like I'm on the pavement but I have joined nc100 which is signed as shared but I have joined it part way".

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Rendel Harris | 2 months ago
18 likes
Quote:

I think it's ridiculous that my momentary lapse of vocabulary as a result of almost being murdered by a dangerous driver could be used against me, when I'm helping the police out by submitting such videos.

I've been mugged at knifepoint by a black person, I've been threatened by a black person, I've almost been killed by black drivers (I've also been threatened by white people and almost killed by white drivers, of course) and it's never once crossed my mind to use racist language towards them, even in the heat of the moment. I'm afraid that what I find more ridiculous than the police giving you a warning, which sounds richly deserved, is that you are passing this off as a "momentary lapse of vocabulary". If I'd done what you seem to have I would not have submitted the video, I would have been too ashamed to do so, and I would've spent the time and more it would have taken me to submit the video having a good think about what had made me behave in that way.

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Left_is_for_Losers replied to Rendel Harris | 2 months ago
2 likes

Is there anything that hasn't happened to you?

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perce replied to Left_is_for_Losers | 2 months ago
4 likes

Are you back from your honeymoon?

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Rendel Harris replied to Left_is_for_Losers | 2 months ago
9 likes
Left_is_for_Losers wrote:

Is there anything that hasn't happened to you?

Ah, this is an old favourite, back to the days of when you were thisismyusername (before you were banned), when apparently I must have been making it up when I said that some mates of mine lived on the edge of the Railton Road LTN, amongst other things. You seemed incredulous about the concept of people having mates, this may say rather more about you than it does about me.

Seeing as you are, somewhat pathetically, implying that I am lying I will clarify what you seem to find so hard to believe: I'm 55 years old and have lived a fairly full and relatively adventurous life, a good deal of which, alas, has been spent in various drinking establishments, so it's hardly surprising that I've encountered threats from both black and white people, usually drunks, I'm sure most people have a story or two to tell over forty years or so of frequenting public houses in the capital. I cycle in London every day and have done for decades, so it's hardly surprising that I have almost been killed by both black and white drivers; again, I'd be surprised if anybody (barring your mate Martin73 of course, who claimed never once to have had a near miss in 40 years of London cycling) who has cycled in London as long as I have couldn't say the same thing. Finally, I was mugged at knifepoint in Bath, of all places, by a black person when I was at the University as a postgraduate. Just goes to show, I've never been mugged in London.

So you see your pathetic little attempt at trying to score over me is as weak and foolish as your usual standard. To use your own phrase, perhaps you could stop following me around this website now?

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Left_is_for_Losers replied to Rendel Harris | 2 months ago
1 like

Thanks for your exorbitantly long justification. 

It's not a surprise you've been threatened so much if you go around with the smug, haughty and arrogant attitude you trash everyone with  (bar your road.cc puppets here, one of whom has already commented) 

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Rendel Harris replied to Left_is_for_Losers | 2 months ago
6 likes
Left_is_for_Losers wrote:

It's not a surprise you've been threatened

So now you've gone from implying that I must be lying about something happening to me to say it's no surprise that it happened. Wrong side of bed this morning, poppet?

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Left_is_for_Losers replied to Rendel Harris | 2 months ago
1 like

First message = sarcastic

Second message = reality

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HoarseMann | 2 months ago
1 like

some useful information on this website:

https://fightcybercrime.org/scams/identity-theft/social-media/

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Adam Sutton | 2 months ago
5 likes

I have been known to have a complete potty mouth and call a driver a cunt in a heated moment of a close pass, but never racial language. Maybe reflect on what you did and why you chose that language.

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