A white van driver filmed forcing a cyclist off the road by swerving at him has caused a storm on social media, with one renowned QC offering free legal advice to sue.
The van, with a Vidette UK Ltd livery, was on the westbound stretch of the A272 when its driver overtook the cyclist.
He swerved into him, forcing him onto the grass verge.
Luckily the cyclist was able to stay upright and was unharmed.
Martin Porter QC, also known as the Cycling Silk, described the incident on Twitter as “a very serious assault”.
He added: “If the person on the bike wants my (free) advice re ensuring that Vidette driver is prosecuted, please contact me.”
On Facebook, the company made the following statement:
I am writing this letter to express my sincere apologies to the cyclist that was very unfortunate to experience a very irresponsible and dangerous move by an engineer driving one of Vidette's vehicles on Sunday 30th April.
My wife and I are both very keen cyclist ourselves so fully appreciate the impact/trauma that a near miss like this would have on anyone in this situation.
I have now interviewed the driver and can honestly say the he is so full of remorse and fully understands how lucky he and the cyclist have been on this occasion and swears to never let himself get into a position like this again He stated that he was having personal problems with his family and his mind “was all over the place” and that he is so sorry. I do believe him and could tell his apology was genuine, however we cannot condone nor let this behaviour have any place within our company, we have decided to make an example here and to promote driver awareness going forward. He has been dismissed from immediate effect!
This experience has made me realise that I can do something to help reduce this sort of behaviour on our roads so have decided to introduce a driver awareness course into our already busy H&S training matrix for all our employees. The AA seem to have a nice one called Driver Alertness Education, I have actioned this to be investigated & organised immediately.
Adding to the above, I have had full backing & agreement in these decisions from all of our management team.
I hope this letter will also be of comfort to the other road users & cyclists who have written their concerns.
NB - I was on holiday until early this morning which made an immediate answer nigh on impossible. I understand that the vast majority of mails and social media comments are from concerned genuine people however, we received some really hurtful mails wishing all sorts of medical curses on our office staff which swayed me into taking down the access from our web site & social media pages.
One Twitter user wrote: “I'd make the driver ride a bike while people drive vans at him until he gets the message.”
Another said: “Cyclist shouldn't be in the middle of the road like that. Driver should face prosecution though. Endangered guy's life.”
BBC radio presenter Jeremy Vine, who also shared the video on Twitter, said: “It actually takes practise to drive as badly as this.”
Vidette UK describes itself as a “Building Contractor to the Leisure Industry”.
Cyclists have also taken to Google to express their displeasure, resulting in the company having a one star rating on the search engine.
One wrote: “It appears that your extensive Health and Safety accreditation doesn't cover travelling between jobs?
“I'm disgusted and enraged. I hope that the police have been informed.”
Another said: “Vidette UK Ltd have undermined their own claims to be Health and Safety compliant. I would now expect Cooperative UK, Greene King, Toni and Guy, Greenwich Council, Renault UK and other clients to re-consider their position as clients.”
The company said on Twitter “appropriate action has been taken” against the driver before later deleting its account.
After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.