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Edinburgh taxi driver who swung a punch at cyclist has licence suspended

Employer has previously said that he won’t be dismissed

An Edinburgh taxi driver who was caught on camera cutting up a cyclist before later swinging a punch at him has had his licence suspended. City Cab driver Brian Allen, 69, had already been fined £360 plus costs and had his driving licence endorsed with nine penalty points following the incident last August.

Helmet cam footage showed Allen passing a cyclist closely triggering an exchange of words. He then drove ahead and got out of his vehicle to wait with his fist raised in the middle of the road.

The taxi driver admitted one charge of driving without due care and attention or reasonable consideration for others and a second assault charge when he appeared in Edinburgh Sheriff Court on April 14. The BBC reports that he was admonished and dismissed for the assault charge.

City of Edinburgh Council has now suspended his licence. Councillors will decide whether he should lose it permanently in June.

Speaking to The Telegraph last month, City Cabs company secretary Les McVay said Allen would not be dismissed.

"He has been a driver for many years with no points on his licence. He has had a long and distinguished career as a driver and he will continue to work.

"The red mist came down and what happened is regrettable. It has caused him quite a lot of angst and has affected him and his family.

"At the moment we have 40 cabs with CCTV but we want to expand that because it defuses situations like this from the outset."

Alex has written for more cricket publications than the rest of the road.cc team combined. Despite the apparent evidence of this picture, he doesn't especially like cake.

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18 comments

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handlebarcam | 7 years ago
1 like

This was not a case of "red mist". OK, maybe the close passes were, but I don't think that accounts for the punch. In my experience, this kind of incident is the result of a very British sensibility that if you have a close call then you (the person put at risk) must immediately let the other person (the one who caused the incident) know that you bear no grudges. The second party's guilt or sense of inadequacy must be assuaged. It also applies in situations where you've been inconvenienced or annoyed, say by noisy neighbours or owners of dogs they have no control over. They know you've been kept up all night, or your relaxing walk in the park has been ruined, but fail to give them a nod or a smile and you'll get an earful about being "stuck-up." And it's the same cultural convention that requires both people to say "sorry" when they walk into each other, even if one of them was clearly at fault. This cyclist didn't do that. He, as many of us would, caught up with the driver, told him he was an idiot, and pointed out that he could have killed him. To a chippy cabbie, this is a gross infraction of the unwritten rule that the only appropriate response in such situations is "no harm no foul, pal." In his inflamed sense of working-class persecution, he probably regarded the cyclist as a smug eco-warrior, part of the same "elite" that painted those advance stop lines he had parked his cab inside of at the start of the video. Most of us, even if we aren't exactly salt of the earth ourselves, know some cyclists who are. But to many people, ownership of any form of transport other than the (to them) essential car, especially one which can add some sense of enjoyment to journeys, is a sign of foppish dandyism. So he punched him to take him down a peg or two. That would explain why he didn't follow it up with any more violence, just waited as the cyclist called the cops. Deep down he knew that if anyone was entitled to physical retaliation it was the cyclist, but he got in his retribution for failure of fellowship first. And clearly the justice of the peace felt, although probably not consciously, that the cyclist deserved it. I can think of no other reason why the assault charge was dismissed without punishment. Because in this country it is a worse faux-pas to point out to someone that they are in the wrong than it is to actually be wrong.

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Domini | 7 years ago
3 likes

"At the moment we have 40 cabs with CCTV but we want to expand that because it defuses situations like this from the outset." 

How about training your drivers not to drive like cunts?

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Domini | 7 years ago
2 likes

"Employer has previously said that he won’t be dismissed". So what's he going to do? Give piggy backs?

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bikebot | 7 years ago
0 likes

I remember writing something along those lines as a comment on that video. Well done Edinburgh, you've done a better job than TfLTPH who frequently turn a blind eye to violence unless it involves a passenger.

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QED | 7 years ago
1 like

"red mist"

As far as I know, not a defense to a premeditated assault (driver went up the road, stopped his car, gotbout into the road and "laid in wait" to punch the cyclist). Premeditation is an aggravating factor and negates a "heat of the moment" defense.

source: lawyer but not a criminal one.

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Housecathst replied to QED | 7 years ago
0 likes
QED wrote:

"red mist" As far as I know, not a defense to a premeditated assault (driver went up the road, stopped his car, gotbout into the road and "laid in wait" to punch the cyclist). Premeditation is an aggravating factor and negates a "heat of the moment" defense. source: lawyer but not a criminal one.

In normal circumstance, but this gent was within 20 feet of his car so the police/cpt didn't even charge him with assault as far as I remember.

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markcjagar | 7 years ago
2 likes

what a shit excuse from his employer

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bogbrush | 7 years ago
1 like

Great stuff guys!

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gwarpigs | 7 years ago
2 likes

"How would a CCTV in the guys taxi defuse the situation?"
 

It would make them think twice before driving carelessly and behaving like this, knowing everything would be caught on camera.

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maldin replied to gwarpigs | 7 years ago
3 likes
GavWarrender wrote:

"How would a CCTV in the guys taxi defuse the situation?"
 

It would make them think twice before driving carelessly and behaving like this, knowing everything would be caught on camera.

Do we really believe the employer will review footage and report their own drivers to the police? More likely it will get erased if their driver is at fault and used in court where it can be used in defence. I doubt this employer will be shopping it's drivers to the police though. 

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jacknorell replied to maldin | 7 years ago
2 likes
maldin wrote:

More likely it will get erased if their driver is at fault and used in court where it can be used in defence. 

That way an obstruction charge lies... destroying evidence in a criminal case is pretty serious stuff.

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Awavey replied to jacknorell | 7 years ago
0 likes
jacknorell wrote:
maldin wrote:

More likely it will get erased if their driver is at fault and used in court where it can be used in defence. 

That way an obstruction charge lies... destroying evidence in a criminal case is pretty serious stuff.

remember in the recent Nottingham cyclist case the cctv evidence was missing, because of the time it took to officially request it,by which time it had been erased. Theres no minimum or even maximum time period laid down for storing video, the data protection act simply encourages it should be the shortest period necessary to serve the purpose of the videoing. In a taxi the videoing purpose is to guarantee the personal safety of the cab driver, passengers and discourage fair evasion. Its not there to stop cab drivers going postal on random cyclists, or to improve their driving standards, though it maybe resultantly used in collisions they have to prove fault.

But the shortest period could be argued in court to be simply the completion of a fare from pick up to drop off, so a request for video of an altercation from a couple of days ago, let alone the weeks which would probably pass before the formal request came through, "sorry mate we dont keep the videos for that long" comes the reply,I mean even Go-Pro'ing video cyclists dont keep days and days worth of multiple hours of video.

even then if the video was requested in time, in this case it would have shown an overtake 99.9% of juries would happily accept as a perfectly reasonable overtake, and it wouldnt have shown the driver hitting the cyclist.

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fizrar6 replied to gwarpigs | 7 years ago
6 likes
GavWarrender wrote:

"How would a CCTV in the guys taxi defuse the situation?"
 

It would make them think twice before driving carelessly and behaving like this, knowing everything would be caught on camera.

You're missing the point. The cyclist told him he was on helmet cam but it didn't make any difference to his behaviour. How would CCTV inside the cab change things?

This was an irrelevant comment to plug the fact that City Cabs are installing CCTV.

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jollygoodvelo | 7 years ago
7 likes

"Red mist came down" equals "This man is unable to control his emotions and should not be placed in a position of responsibility" as far as I'm concerned.

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jonnoweb | 7 years ago
0 likes

"At the moment we have 40 cabs with CCTV but we want to expand that because it defuses situations like this from the outset." 

How would a CCTV in the guys taxi defuse the situation?

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kraut replied to jonnoweb | 7 years ago
4 likes
jonnoweb wrote:

"At the moment we have 40 cabs with CCTV but we want to expand that because it defuses situations like this from the outset." 

How would a CCTV in the guys taxi defuse the situation?

Knowing your employer records your actions might well help restrain your temper.

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tritecommentbot | 7 years ago
0 likes

Aw, poor thing. It's caused him some angst. No more City Cabs for us. We'll be using Uber from now on in Edinburgh. Uber is pants though in Edinburgh, service is really spotty, they need more drivers. Maybe it's improved in recent months, but last Nov, Dec, Jan after the launch I managed to only get an Uber twice. Once was pure luck as the driver has dropped someone off at the airport just as we'd landed.

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Sanderstorm | 7 years ago
6 likes

Best thing the council has ever done!

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