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Manchester bus driver says he doesn't blame RLJ cyclist for running into him (+ video)

Rider says brake cable failed before he went through red light

The driver of a Manchester bus that a cyclist ran into the side of after going through a red light has defended the rider’s actions after the latter said that his brake cable had snapped.

He also said that contrary to what the motorbike rider who filmed the incident said, he had been aware of what had happened and stopped his double decker after the incident last week to go back and check that the cyclist was okay.

In case you missed it, here's the video.

In a message posted on the Facebook page of the Manchester Evening News, he wrote:  “I was the driver of the bus and just to let everyone know I parked just round the corner and ran back.

“The cyclist was very lucky and only suffered a cut to one of his knuckles. Also in the cyclist’s defence his brake cable snapped and he couldn’t stop.”

He added: “Scariest thing that ever happened to me.”

In a comment to the YouTube video of the incident, which took place at the junction of Portland Street and Oxford Street, the cyclist said: “It was me. Thought I’d just get the lights, hence the speed.

“Realised it wasn’t happening, squeezed the front brake. Cable snapped. Not enough time to lose speed on back wheel in the wet. Not fun.”

He went on: “It’s a fixed back wheel, front brake for urgent braking, pushing back on the pedals gives you controlled but sadly slower braking with the back wheel, so what you see is me pushing back as hard as I can but it’s a crap bit of road surface and it was wet.”

By law, bikes ridden on the road in the UK need to have a front and rear braking system, which this cyclist’s bike would satisfy.

But this incident does highlight that if you are riding fixed and your front brake suffers some kind of catastrophic failure, your ability to avoid trouble is going to largely depend on the power you can push back in to the pedals and your ability to control a skid.

That said, the latter is likely to apply if you are using a conventional braking set-up too, and fixie riders will no doubt argue that they have plenty of experience when it comes to skidding.

Others of course might argue that this wouldn't have happened if the rider had been running disc brakes. Probably.

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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28 comments

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andyp | 8 years ago
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What a twonk.

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Iamnot Wiggins | 8 years ago
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"Thought I'd just get the lights".

Even though they were red before you got to the junction?

Reads as "I was looking to jump the lights".

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bendertherobot | 8 years ago
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Does the taxi jump the red as well? I assume that's what the bus is beeping at?

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simon59 | 8 years ago
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He accelerated toowards an amber light so he was already breaking the law. The amber light is there to get you to stop before the red. Had he just freewheeled to the line then he wouldn't have had a problem, even if the cable broke. Then of course how did he brake a multi-strand steel cable? Either the cable was frayed or it came out of the lock bolt. Either way his bike was not in a road worthy condition. People like that do not do cyclists any favours.

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farrell replied to simon59 | 8 years ago
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simon59 wrote:

He accelerated toowards an amber light so he was already breaking the law.

Quick question: Are you as het up about the guy who took the video doing exactly the same thing?

If it is, as it seems, just the cyclist you are getting bothered by, then why is that?

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vonhelmet replied to farrell | 8 years ago
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farrell wrote:
simon59 wrote:

He accelerated toowards an amber light so he was already breaking the law.

Quick question: Are you as het up about the guy who took the video doing exactly the same thing?

If it is, as it seems, just the cyclist you are getting bothered by, then why is that?

This is a bit of a red herring, as accelerating towards an amber light is not against the law, so long as you follow it up with actually stopping ahead of it. Otherwise it would be illegal to accelerate towards an amber light that might be visible several hundred yards in the distance, which would be patently absurd.

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Flying Scot | 9 years ago
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I reckon its a freewheel and single brake combo on a wet road.

Any experienced fixed wheel rider can control or lock the rear wheel easily, hop lock, down, skid. Assuming you have a lockring fitted.....

Brakes are death.

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dr2chase replied to Flying Scot | 9 years ago
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As long as we're discussing points-of-failure -- I've never broken a brake cable. I *have* broken a chain, more than once. How well does your "any experienced fixed wheel rider" stop with a broken chain?

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kwi replied to dr2chase | 9 years ago
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dr2chase wrote:

How well does your "any experienced fixed wheel rider" stop with a broken chain?

By using his front brake, unless he's having a really bad day and both things (Cable and chain.) fail at once.

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Flying Scot replied to dr2chase | 8 years ago
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dr2chase wrote:

As long as we're discussing points-of-failure -- I've never broken a brake cable. I *have* broken a chain, more than once. How well does your "any experienced fixed wheel rider" stop with a broken chain?

You broke a single speed chain?

It can happen, but a lot rarer than losing a brake cable.

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kevinmorice | 9 years ago
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Regardless of fixie, brake cable, red light or anything else discussed above. He was going too fast for the road conditions. Wet road and a supposedly bad surface, then even if he had locked up both wheels on working brakes he was still going to end up skidding as far as the bus.

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alexb | 9 years ago
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Ah, but what about those clueless idiots running a freewheel and no rear brake, so getting the cool fixie look with none of the actual functionality?

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farrell replied to alexb | 9 years ago
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alexb wrote:

Ah, but what about those clueless idiots running a freewheel and no rear brake, so getting the cool fixie look with none of the actual functionality?

Brakes are death.

Or something.

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Jimbonic replied to farrell | 8 years ago
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farrell wrote:
alexb wrote:

Ah, but what about those clueless idiots running a freewheel and no rear brake, so getting the cool fixie look with none of the actual functionality?

Brakes are death.

Or something.

Yes, they're idiots.

Mind you, I ride fixed and I can't see how anyone can ride with no actual brakes. Riding in traffic is difficult enough, without the added "excitement" of not being able to stop!

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Ronald replied to alexb | 9 years ago
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alexb wrote:

Ah, but what about those clueless idiots running a freewheel and no rear brake, so getting the cool fixie look with none of the actual functionality?

That, as stated in this article, is illegal in the UK. No sympathy to them.

Personally I have broken a brake cable a few times, and it always went at the start of the braking process, so the cyclists explanation is sound. I would question how sensible it is to run in busy traffic with only a poor substitute of a rear brake though.

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ZsoltK replied to Ronald | 9 years ago
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Ronald wrote:

That, as stated in this article, is illegal in the UK. No sympathy to them.

Factually incorrect. Although the article states as above in reality only one brake system is compulsory. Further to that, it can be argued that a fixed wheel bike is already equipped with a braking system. Mind you, there is no requirement about the braking effectiveness other than "sufficient".

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LondonDynaslow | 9 years ago
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Glad to see the black cab stopped on red, like they always do.

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alex283 | 9 years ago
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Did no one notice how you can very clearly hear his brake screeching?

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Jimbonic replied to alex283 | 9 years ago
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alex283 wrote:

Did no one notice how you can very clearly hear his brake screeching?

Er, no.

However, he certainly doesn't look like he was intending to stop. That or his brakes failed well early on and he just decided to go straight over anyway.

Even his brake cable did snap, this is why I run a back brake on my fixed. It's next to useless, but it's slightly less next to useless than trying to stop with pedals alone. Yes, you can stop (without skidding) on the pedals alone, but it's in the same sort of timeframe you'd factor in for a supertanker.....

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Igor Strelnikov | 9 years ago
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As speak in Russia - "if dick in head then medicine is powerless"

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Curto80 | 9 years ago
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Hmmm all a bit dubious.

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CXR94Di2 | 9 years ago
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I am not convinced from the video it looks like he continues to pedal so why would you cycle at those speeds with one brake system

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cqexbesd replied to CXR94Di2 | 9 years ago
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CXR94Di2 wrote:

I am not convinced from the video it looks like he continues to pedal so why would you cycle at those speeds with one brake system

Because, according to the article, he has a fixed back wheel. He can't just stop pedalling at speed - and if he did manage it he would probably go into a skid which could have worse consequences.

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severs1966 | 9 years ago
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*deleted*

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velo-nh | 9 years ago
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The video could be a valuable learning lesson to show that one video from one camera may not capture everything that's going on. Makes perfect sense that the bus driver would want to stop at a safe location and not cause an even bigger problem. As for the cyclist, stuff happens. Glad it didn't cost him more than a bloody knuckle.

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Airzound | 9 years ago
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Brake cable snapped ……. my arse. He deliberately RLJ'd, tried to stop but as he was was going so fast and it was wet couldn't stop in time so hit the bus. What a tool. Candidate for a Darwin Award.

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edster99 | 9 years ago
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If he'd maintained his single point of failure emergency brake more effectively, he wouldn't have crashed.

Personally I'm not convinced a fixie is appropriate to high traffic density environments.

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mtm_01 replied to edster99 | 9 years ago
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edster99 wrote:

If he'd maintained his single point of failure emergency brake more effectively, he wouldn't have crashed.

Personally I'm not convinced a fixie is appropriate to high traffic density environments.

Nooo - the issue is the decision to sprint for the lights. No sprint and a brake cable failure means the back wheel braking would've seen him stop earlier.

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