Road safety campaigner Mike van Erp, whose videos of law-breaking drivers have resulted in hundreds of motorists being fined or prosecuted, has had his fair share of bizarre encounters during his 15 years of two-wheeled activism.
But the most recent video from the now-famous camera cyclist (who goes by the alias CyclingMikey) is perhaps the most bizarre yet, as a phone-using convertible driver – after being caught red-handed by Mikey – launches into an extended, explosive rant, during which he brandishes his military credentials, extols his own “honour” and “integrity”, and… drives straight into the kerb.
The incident, which occurred in January on West Carriage Drive in London’s Hyde Park (but was uploaded to Mike’s YouTube channel yesterday evening), took place as the safety campaigner was riding alongside a reporter, as part of a feature later published in the Daily Mail.
After spotting the driver of a Volkswagen convertible illegally using his phone to text, Mikey approached the motorist, who initially appeared confused by the cyclist’s presence.
“It’s funny how you guys don’t admit it. Carry on,” van Erp told the perplexed driver, sparking the peculiar diatribe that followed.
“I’m ex-military, brother,” the motorist, clutching his hand to his chest, told van Erp. “I have honour, integrity.”
Informing the cyclist of his familial ties to the “special forces”, his head turned back towards van Erp, the driver continued: “I’m the youngest of three military brothers, who died for our country, to do things right, to help our people.”
As the driver angrily lectured Mikey, he evidently forgot to keep an eye on the road ahead, and drove straight towards the footpath, mounting the kerb in the process.
That mishap – and van Erp’s warning for him to “pay attention to his driving” – didn’t seem to deter the motorist, who has since been variously compared online to Alan Partridge or a posh Ronnie Pickering.
— Hodson and Hudson Fan Club (@sturmeyarcher3) August 14, 2022
Winding his window down, he continued: “What you do and say to other people, judging them, when I was following the correct protocols of the Highway Code and the law. Do you have anything else to say?”
After van Erp said that the driver “can tell it to the magistrates”, he responded: “Fine. What have I done wrong? I’ve made my point enough, in the biggest possible picture – of humanity, what we were prepared to do to die or live, for others and ourselves.
“So,” he exclaimed, clapping his hands together, “I have nothing further to say to you at all. And if you don’t get it, that’s your challenge, not problem, challenge, to overcome, and help other people.”
Van Erp then replied: “Oh I’m helping other people by stopping phone drivers like you.”
After telling the cyclist “I give up”, the irate motorist accelerated away in the direction of a startled pedestrian, and almost into the back of the line of traffic.
According to van Erp, the registered owner or nominated driver of the vehicle is currently being prosecuted by the Metropolitan Police for allegedly failing to tell them who was driving at the time of the incident.
“It could entirely be a mistake,” van Erp says. “These things do go wrong sometimes and post doesn’t arrive, in which case he should be able to effectively defend his alleged failure to nominate.
“I rather can’t help thinking that the failure to nominate was intentional, mind.”
Mikey’s encounter with the “ex-military” phone driver isn’t the first time that the camera cyclist has been subjected to an angry tirade from a disgruntled motorist.
In June, on the same road where January’s incident took place, a shirtless Range Rover driver – who recognised van Erp after spotting him filming another driver using their phone behind the wheel – struck the two-wheeled activist’s helmet and told him: “I feel like smashing your face in, f*ck*ng people over like that. Why don’t you f*ck off?”
In January, Mikey also claimed that he had been assaulted and that his bike had been damaged after filming a motorist using their phone while driving, while in March he ended up on a car bonnet after stepping out in front of someone driving down the wrong side of the road, who then decided to simply continue on their way.
Van Erp, whose efforts to bring law-breaking drivers to justice are in part motivated by his experience as a teenager when his father was killed by a drunk driver, has said that in 2019 alone he caught 358 drivers – and two cyclists – breaking the law, with fines totalling tens of thousands of pounds after his submission of footage to the police.
He is well-known for posting footage on his YouTube channel of people he has witnessed committing road traffic offences, including a number of famous faces such as film maker Guy Ritchie, former boxer Chris Eubank, and ex-Chelsea footballer and current Everton manager Frank Lampard.
Ryan joined road.cc as a news writer in December 2021. He has written about cycling and some ball-centric sports for various websites, newspapers, magazines and radio. Before returning to writing about cycling full-time, he completed a PhD in History and published a book and numerous academic articles on religion and politics in Victorian Britain and Ireland (though he remained committed to boring his university colleagues and students with endless cycling trivia). He can be found riding his bike very slowly through the Dromara Hills of Co. Down.