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Workers on Essex cycle route abused and threatened by angry drivers

Contruction worker says one motorist threatened colleagues with knuckleduster

A man working on the construction of a new cycle lane in Essex has revealed that he and his colleagues have been abused and threatened by motorists who are apparently frustrated about the roadworks and the 5.7-mile diversion resulting from them.

Essex County Council has closed the B1028 Colchester Road while the Wivenhoe Cycle Route, a shared use path that is 800 metres long, is built.

Works were due to have been completed by the end of last month but still appear to be in progress, and BBC Essex reports that one worker, who gave his name as Tim, said: “People have been known on occasion to get violent.”

He continued: "One of my colleagues who was working at the top of Wivenhoe had a gentleman pull up in a car and he had a knuckleduster in his hand – which was quite frightening for him - and there's a lot of verbal abuse. It was reported to police.”

"There have been three or four occasions which have been reported.

"I do understand people's frustrations but we're here to do a job and are trying to do it safely," he added.

The works on the £1.3 million route that once completed will link Wivenhoe to the Colchester campus of the University of Essex are now being monitored by CCTV cameras to help ensure the safety of employees.

On its website, Essex County Council says: “During the road closure there will be an official signed diversion route of 5.7 miles in place.

“This is necessary as it must be suitable for all classes of vehicles including HGVs. There are local roads that can be utilised by local people to shorten the diversion but we cannot officially advertise or promote these.

It appears that abuse of people carrying out roadworks isn’t confined to those working just on cycling projects.

Pat Sheehan, who is health and safety manager at the construction firm Colas and also heads up the Highway Term Maintenance Association's roadwork safety group told BBC News that such incidents were a "daily occurrence" throughout the UK.

"People have been shot at with air rifles,” he revealed. “You name it and it's happened. People have been spat at and driven at."

He added that workers had once had to run away from two men who had a machete, and that urine was regularly thrown at staff.

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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17 comments

Avatar
PhilRuss | 7 years ago
2 likes

Methinks one or two of the roadworkers should carry cameras.  ("Threatening behaviour whereby a breach of the peace may be occasioned", innit?

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jollygoodvelo | 7 years ago
0 likes

Before tarring everyone in Essex with the same brush, might I remind you that there are many people out there riding bikes on pavements, through red lights, and doing other things which you would doubtless disapprove of.

 

 

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whobiggs replied to jollygoodvelo | 7 years ago
0 likes
Gizmo_ wrote:

Before tarring everyone in Essex with the same brush, might I remind you that there are many people out there riding bikes on pavements, through red lights, and doing other things which you would doubtless disapprove of.

 

True but I don't recall any pedestrians being threatened with knuckeldusters!

 

Avatar
ironmancole | 7 years ago
2 likes

No surprise here, just confirms the fact that many drivers are complete arseholes. 

Thing is, when such people are stuck in congestion do they get out with knuckle dusters and confront the car 'in their way' in front of them?

Course not. So, what we actually have are violent thugs enabled by their cars simply making other peoples lives miserable.

Is it any wonder cycling has become such a terrifying experience in this shithole of a country? 

Avatar
ConcordeCX replied to ironmancole | 7 years ago
4 likes
ironmancole wrote:

Is it any wonder cycling has become such a terrifying experience in this shithole of a country? 

 

I really think it's motorists, or people who need to have their sense of identity validated by owning cars, and by driving, who are terrified by the gradual and unstoppable erosion of that identity as the roads are returned to civilised uses.

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Rod Marton | 7 years ago
2 likes

To an extent I can understand drivers' frustration here: there is basically one road in and out of Wivenhoe and the road closure is overrunning. However in no way can I condone drivers' behaviour.

It's a few years since I have cycled that way, but it used to be a horrible stretch of road and I'm sure it still is. Just the place where a cycle lane is needed.

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a1white | 7 years ago
6 likes

Not just Essex, I read a Tweet from a guy working on the CSH on Blackfriars road, London, who was sick of having abuse hurled at him by motorists. You have to wonder about the mentality of these people. Even if you disagree with the cycle lanes, what point is there taking it out on the people earning a living by building them?

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Simon E replied to a1white | 7 years ago
1 like
a1white wrote:

You have to wonder about the mentality of these people. Even if you disagree with the cycle lanes, what point is there taking it out on the people earning a living by building them?

Precisely. This just smacks of the common bullying mentality and the twisted idea of 'road ownership' sadly prevalent among too many drivers today.

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Gus T | 7 years ago
4 likes

Looking on Google Maps, it appears to be a "rat run" & you get rats in rat runs

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fixit | 7 years ago
1 like

knuckledustered the hand of a construction worker? Smack the f*cker who did this!! I would completely hesitate to threaten construction workers as they are physicaly stronger than the average asshole in a car due to the nature of their job! 

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Cantab replied to fixit | 7 years ago
1 like
tsarouxaz wrote:

knuckledustered the hand of a construction worker? Smack the f*cker who did this!! I would completely hesitate to threaten construction workers as they are physicaly stronger than the average asshole in a car due to the nature of their job! 

I thought that too, knuckledusters are all very well until Big Dave floors you with the back of his shovel...

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brooksby | 7 years ago
5 likes

So they've closed a B-road. Not a dual carriageway. Not a motorway. Not a major urban clearway. A B-road; just a B-road. I think some Essex motons need to step back, take a deep breath, and take a good hard look at themselves.

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waldner71 | 7 years ago
8 likes

Angry motorists need anger management, and the way it's going it needs to be compulsory for all road users.

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Dnnnnnn | 7 years ago
8 likes

I can understand the great frustration of finding a 5.7 mile detour for what was an 800 metre stretch - but I can't understand why morons feel the need to take it out on the construction workers.

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Gourmet Shot replied to Dnnnnnn | 7 years ago
6 likes
Duncann wrote:

I can understand the great frustration of finding a 5.7 mile detour for what was an 800 metre stretch - but I can't understand why morons feel the need to take it out on the construction workers.

 

Is it because there is a fair percentage of arseholes driving about, cocooned in their metal box who can't wait 4 seconds, stop, detour etc. etc. without feeling the need to physically threaten people?  

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Housecathst | 7 years ago
13 likes

motorists are dangerous thugs shocker! 

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srchar | 7 years ago
9 likes

It's fackin Essex vo innit.

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