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Police respond over Manchester cyclist whom they warned over behaviour after he was threatened by driver while filtering

“It is not appropriate for any retaliation, be that physical or verbal,” says GMP

Our story last week about a cyclist who was warned by Greater Manchester Police over his behaviour after he was threatened by a driver while filtering through traffic got a lot of attention – and now we have a reply from the force explaining their response to the rider.

As we reported on Friday, the cyclist, named Sam, pulled onto Manchester’s Princess Street and filtered between two lines of traffic queueing at a set of traffic lights – as is perfectly legal, with the Highway Code telling motorists to “be aware of other road users, especially cycles and motorcycles who may be filtering through the traffic.”

As Sam approached the lights, they turned green, so he tried to move back into the line of vehicles to his left, whereupon a female motorist on his inside would not let him through, telling him – wrongly – he should be riding on the left.

He pointed out that there is no legal obligation for him to do so, with the driver – who, moreover, was on her mobile phone – threatening to knock him off his bike “next time.” To which he replies, "you'll knock me of next time, you're threatening assault, all-right, see you later", in a conversational tone of voice, before riding off. 

Sam sent the footage to GMP, with the responding officer telling him: “This video clip shows you squeezing between vehicles and the lights changing then you being alongside entering into an argument with the driver of a moving vehicle.

“To be clear your behaviour in this regard is to cease.

“I understand your wish to help improve road safety, this is not the way to do it, it is not the intention of the service we offer and if repeated I will direct my team to consider criminal offences.”

We contacted GMP for a comment, asking them: “We'd like to know what offences those would be, given that the motorist appears to have been the one to start the argument?”

In response, the force issued the following statement, asking us to publish it in full, which we are happy to do.

Cyclists are key contributors to Operation Considerate, the ongoing campaign to encourage all road users to show each other greater respect.

We welcome helmet and dash-cam footage from all road users, we can’t have eyes everywhere so this is a valuable resource.

We do sometimes become concerned with what we see in footage provided to us however, the road users providing us with footage can on occasion put their own safety at risk, the safety of other road users and pedestrians.

We understand the frustration and anger some road users may feel when they feel their lives are put in danger however it is not appropriate for any retaliation, be that physical or verbal. Those who engage in this sort of behaviour risk being prosecuted for public order offences themselves, even if the original issue was not their fault.

Emotions can become heightened on the roads, but we would encourage all road users not to cross the line, stay safe and let police deal with any issues.

The aim of Operation Considerate is to improve safety for all, part of that is to educate road users not jump straight to a prosecution so for this reason we may send warning letters as a first resort, we will however judge all incidents on a case-by-case basis.

As our roads become ever-more congested and increasingly we see a wider range of vehicles, particularly bicycles, it is important that everyone understands the Highway Code and treats each other with the respect that we all deserve on our roads.

It is unclear whether the driver – or at least, the registered keeper of the vehicle involved in the incident – was issued with a similar warning to the one given to Sam, and we are seeking clarification on that point from GMP. It is also unclear what part of Sam's reply to the driver's comment about knocking him off next time the force considers "retaliation".

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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37 comments

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Legs_Eleven_Wor... | 4 years ago
0 likes

‘It all started when the cyclist answered back…’

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workhard | 4 years ago
0 likes

I would hope I wouldn't have filtered quite as Sam did and would not have found myself stranded, and in the wrong lane. Sometimes to mix it with the traffic you have to assert your right to be traffic i.e. hold the lane, cut back hard into the lane, stop the filter and accept you may lose out on some advantage over the tin boxes.

Having found myself in a position where as I'm out wide chummy is going to, inevitably, undertake me, and accepting they probably just think they too are filtering, especially if I'm in the offside lane, the one with the right turn arrow in it, if they get mouthy then I'd hope I'd just let it go and reflect on what I could do differently next time. 

 

TL;DR There are lots of cnuts on the road, and the only cnut I can control is me.

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workhard | 4 years ago
5 likes

Clearly GMP think like primary school head teachers from the 1960/70s.  One gave me the cane for "retaliating" i.e. I punched some bully tosser kid back when they hit me. They got off scot-free and I was punished. Go figure.

Responding verbally, and in a reasonable tone and using reasonable language (no oaths and anglo-saxon, no threats or promises, no shouty-shouty), to a nobber twat driver who is behaving behind the wheel like an entitled twunt and putting your well-being at risk is NOT RETALIATION. Not in any sensible meaning of that word.

GMP just trying to wriggle out of having made themselves look stupid.  Almost as stupid as the logic of "we wont prosecute serious offence A by X in their car because 30 seconds later Y commited the much less serious offence of B on his bike."

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BehindTheBikesheds replied to workhard | 4 years ago
0 likes

workhard wrote:

Clearly GMP think like primary school head teachers from the 1960/70s.  One gave me the cane for "retaliating" i.e. I punched some bully tosser kid back when they hit me. They got off scot-free and I was punished. Go figure.

Responding verbally, and in a reasonable tone and using reasonable language (no oaths and anglo-saxon, no threats or promises, no shouty-shouty), to a nobber twat driver who is behaving behind the wheel like an entitled twunt and putting your well-being at risk is NOT RETALIATION. Not in any sensible meaning of that word.

GMP just trying to wriggle out of having made themselves look stupid.  Almost as stupid as the logic of "we wont prosecute serious offence A by X in their car because 30 seconds later Y commited the much less serious offence of B on his bike."

70s and early 80s was brutal at school, certainly in the North of my childhood. A particularly nasty twat of a PE teacher in my first year at juniors (so 9 going to be 10) slapped me across the face really hard. Apparently I'd spoken out when we were lined up.  it really hurt and I had a red mark on my face for the next day or three, mum asked me what had happened, I told  her, who then told my dad when he got back from sea a couple of days later. He went over to the school,  identified him - it was pretty easy tbh, it the ugly fug on the school fields in the trackie shouting at the kids thinking he was all hard bullying little boys, and gave him one back but with extras.

Apparently told him that if he slapped me again that whilst he wouldn't march on the field again he'd be waiting for him near the car park to fill in him properly. I got asked to play in the rugby team the following week (I'd been ignored for months despite being the biggest kid in my year and fairly decent player).

That's how we used to sort things BITD and in a tight knit community, nonces, burglers and other wrong uns that got caught were very often dealt with, as per your example, this is not retaliation, it's sorting the matter out.

In lieu of the fact that plod don't give a flying fuck about justice or the law, maybe the threat of a motorist getting a slap or more might actually make some of them think twice about driving like absolute baw-bags in the first instance, but maybe not.

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kil0ran replied to BehindTheBikesheds | 4 years ago
0 likes

BehindTheBikesheds wrote:

workhard wrote:

Clearly GMP think like primary school head teachers from the 1960/70s.  One gave me the cane for "retaliating" i.e. I punched some bully tosser kid back when they hit me. They got off scot-free and I was punished. Go figure.

Responding verbally, and in a reasonable tone and using reasonable language (no oaths and anglo-saxon, no threats or promises, no shouty-shouty), to a nobber twat driver who is behaving behind the wheel like an entitled twunt and putting your well-being at risk is NOT RETALIATION. Not in any sensible meaning of that word.

GMP just trying to wriggle out of having made themselves look stupid.  Almost as stupid as the logic of "we wont prosecute serious offence A by X in their car because 30 seconds later Y commited the much less serious offence of B on his bike."

70s and early 80s was brutal at school, certainly in the North of my childhood. A particularly nasty twat of a PE teacher in my first year at juniors (so 9 going to be 10) slapped me across the face really hard. Apparently I'd spoken out when we were lined up.  it really hurt and I had a red mark on my face for the next day or three, mum asked me what had happened, I told  her, who then told my dad when he got back from sea a couple of days later. He went over to the school,  identified him - it was pretty easy tbh, it the ugly fug on the school fields in the trackie shouting at the kids thinking he was all hard bullying little boys, and gave him one back but with extras.

Apparently told him that if he slapped me again that whilst he wouldn't march on the field again he'd be waiting for him near the car park to fill in him properly. I got asked to play in the rugby team the following week (I'd been ignored for months despite being the biggest kid in my year and fairly decent player).

That's how we used to sort things BITD and in a tight knit community, nonces, burglers and other wrong uns that got caught were very often dealt with, as per your example, this is not retaliation, it's sorting the matter out.

In lieu of the fact that plod don't give a flying fuck about justice or the law, maybe the threat of a motorist getting a slap or more might actually make some of them think twice about driving like absolute baw-bags in the first instance, but maybe not.

Ah, 80s senior school PE teachers. Fascists or nonces (or both) the lot of them. Make Shane Sutton look like the Dalai Lama. We had one who would longingly gaze at us in the showers and comment how boys were no good once they got hairy. His oppo's favourite punishment was hooking - bend over, touch your toes, hockey stick yanked between the legs. Both of these characters were trusted to take boys away on football trips on their own, or up Pen-y-fan (missus). Odd how the ones selected were always the Martin Kemp & Tony Hadley lookalikes...

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FluffyKittenofT... replied to kil0ran | 4 years ago
0 likes

kil0ran wrote:

BehindTheBikesheds wrote:

workhard wrote:

Clearly GMP think like primary school head teachers from the 1960/70s.  One gave me the cane for "retaliating" i.e. I punched some bully tosser kid back when they hit me. They got off scot-free and I was punished. Go figure.

Responding verbally, and in a reasonable tone and using reasonable language (no oaths and anglo-saxon, no threats or promises, no shouty-shouty), to a nobber twat driver who is behaving behind the wheel like an entitled twunt and putting your well-being at risk is NOT RETALIATION. Not in any sensible meaning of that word.

GMP just trying to wriggle out of having made themselves look stupid.  Almost as stupid as the logic of "we wont prosecute serious offence A by X in their car because 30 seconds later Y commited the much less serious offence of B on his bike."

70s and early 80s was brutal at school, certainly in the North of my childhood. A particularly nasty twat of a PE teacher in my first year at juniors (so 9 going to be 10) slapped me across the face really hard. Apparently I'd spoken out when we were lined up.  it really hurt and I had a red mark on my face for the next day or three, mum asked me what had happened, I told  her, who then told my dad when he got back from sea a couple of days later. He went over to the school,  identified him - it was pretty easy tbh, it the ugly fug on the school fields in the trackie shouting at the kids thinking he was all hard bullying little boys, and gave him one back but with extras.

Apparently told him that if he slapped me again that whilst he wouldn't march on the field again he'd be waiting for him near the car park to fill in him properly. I got asked to play in the rugby team the following week (I'd been ignored for months despite being the biggest kid in my year and fairly decent player).

That's how we used to sort things BITD and in a tight knit community, nonces, burglers and other wrong uns that got caught were very often dealt with, as per your example, this is not retaliation, it's sorting the matter out.

In lieu of the fact that plod don't give a flying fuck about justice or the law, maybe the threat of a motorist getting a slap or more might actually make some of them think twice about driving like absolute baw-bags in the first instance, but maybe not.

Ah, 80s senior school PE teachers. Fascists or nonces (or both) the lot of them. Make Shane Sutton look like the Dalai Lama. We had one who would longingly gaze at us in the showers and comment how boys were no good once they got hairy. His oppo's favourite punishment was hooking - bend over, touch your toes, hockey stick yanked between the legs. Both of these characters were trusted to take boys away on football trips on their own, or up Pen-y-fan (missus). Odd how the ones selected were always the Martin Kemp & Tony Hadley lookalikes...

 

Yup.  And it's not just a 'Northern' thing (they weren't all Brian Glover out of Kes, though maybe they were, under the surface, just with different accents).  All frustrated failed professional footballers fantasising that they were managing a league team, with a highly suspect love of administering corporal punishment.

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ktache | 4 years ago
0 likes

I definitely could not call myself young, but I see coppers on bikes every so often, chatting to a couple of them a while back they said the stab vest is incredibly warm, and the proper hat one was a BTP officer at the station, less than 2 years back, on my way to work, chatted to him and he called my commuter a "hack" bike, I did correct him on this, deeply cared for and expensively maintained but very muddy, and mentioned his hat as it does say Police better than anything, and makes him stand out in a crowd.

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SculturaD | 4 years ago
3 likes

So GMP is saying, that they will consider charging anyone who has a civilised educational discussion with other road users.
Smells like discrimination from GMP and being jobswoths.

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dassie | 4 years ago
0 likes

Personally , when filtering, I like to rejoin the line of moving traffic asap, so most probably would have indicated and slotted in behind the white car, and directly in front of the black vehicle, as they moved off.

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brooksby | 4 years ago
6 likes

Quote:

“It is not appropriate for any retaliation, be that physical or verbal,” says GMP

Then surely pretty much every single video on this site ought to have led to a prosecution by one police force or another?  I mean, there are SO MANY instances shown of motorists shouting at cyclists about something or other (and a few of cyclists shouting back).  How would the court system cope??

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WeLoveHills | 4 years ago
9 likes

The "response" is contextually meaningless and completely irrelevant. It doesn't address any of the points under discussion and does not even attempt to explain how it was possible that the warning to Sam was given as a result of embarrassing lack of familiarity with the highway code.

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lesterama replied to WeLoveHills | 4 years ago
1 like

WeLoveHills wrote:

The "response" is contextually meaningless and completely irrelevant. It doesn't address any of the points under discussion and does not even attempt to explain how it was possible that the warning to Sam was given as a result of embarrassing lack of familiarity with the highway code.

Exactly. I am so angy at this pathetic police response.

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morgoth985 replied to WeLoveHills | 4 years ago
2 likes

WeLoveHills wrote:

The "response" is contextually meaningless and completely irrelevant. It doesn't address any of the points under discussion and does not even attempt to explain how it was possible that the warning to Sam was given as a result of embarrassing lack of familiarity with the highway code.

 

Absolutely.  This is worse than pathetic as our good friend above suggested.  It is outrageous.  There is nothing from Sam that in any sane analysis could amount to "retaliation".   What we have is careless driving and threats of violence from the driver.  Sam has behaved with commendable restraint.

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Muddy Ford | 4 years ago
4 likes

The cyclists action was miscalculated, assuming he would be let back in or break away from the lights first. However they were not illegal or against the HC. 

The driver intentionally blocked the cyclist, then threatened their life. The police response is apalling because that driver will hit someone one day and there might be no witness for the poor victim

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ktache | 4 years ago
1 like

I wave whenever I see a copper on a bicycle, and always smile when I see one on foot with a proper hat.

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OnTheRopes replied to ktache | 4 years ago
1 like

ktache wrote:

I wave whenever I see a copper on a bicycle, and always smile when I see one on foot with a proper hat.

You must be be very old and have a great memory

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Neill_M | 4 years ago
0 likes

The police have been  a motorised force since the 1960s, hardly surprising they'd side with motorists.

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Neill_M | 4 years ago
1 like

The police have been  a motorised force since the 1960s, hardly surprising they'd side with motorists.

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burtthebike | 4 years ago
2 likes

How fortunate that our hard pressed police, overwhelmed and unable to respond to many emergencies, have the time to compose such verbiage.

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Milkfloat | 4 years ago
0 likes

Whilst GMP’s response is predictable and actually correct, I don’t think Road.cc should have published it without clarification regarding the consequences the driver suffered.  GMP now have no need to reply to that, they already had their weasel statement published.

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BehindTheBikesheds replied to Milkfloat | 4 years ago
5 likes

Milkfloat wrote:

Whilst GMP’s response is predictable and actually correct, I don’t think Road.cc should have published it without clarification regarding the consequences the driver suffered.  GMP now have no need to reply to that, they already had their weasel statement published.

Do explain why they are 'actually correct'?

If you can bring up the relevant law, if you can also explain how the constable is acting within his sworn oath/attestation to be fair/equal/non discriminatory/pick and choose who you apply x rules/laws toward and also with respect  to precedent, as I and a few others would be interested in your interpretation/opinion.

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NorthEastJimmy | 4 years ago
2 likes

And the great devide between different roads users and the police gets even worse.  Typical useless and wordy response you get from all the polititions and higher powers in this country that just makes you hate life in general!

 Heres to being British 

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Hirsute | 4 years ago
16 likes

Talking to someone in a normal manner is now retaliation.
When I get called a 'fucking cunt' for simply being on the road, what does that amount to?

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Jetmans Dad replied to Hirsute | 4 years ago
1 like

hirsute wrote:

Talking to someone in a normal manner is now retaliation. When I get called a 'fucking cunt' for simply being on the road, what does that amount to?

Just make sure you swear at every car you pass as a matter of course ... then it's retaliation. 

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workhard replied to Hirsute | 4 years ago
0 likes

hirsute wrote:

Talking to someone in a normal manner is now retaliation. When I get called a 'fucking cunt' for simply being on the road, what does that amount to?

It's only retaliation if you call them a "fucking cunt" in reply.

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burtthebike | 4 years ago
7 likes

Was the driver the relative of a police person, or an off duty police?

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crazy-legs | 4 years ago
1 like

Slightly playing devils' advocate here but the cyclist bringing up the 1.5m thing was utterly pointless and only ever going to result in "but you passed me closer than that" from the motorist. There's no time to explain the actual physics of it and she's clearly not in a mood to listen and learn so trying to explain niceties like that is just going to result in arguments.

The best option (if conversation has to be entered into) is to ask why she's rushing to the back of the car in front - her move got her absolutely nowhere and the cyclist was past and away in no time.

Otherwise I'd have waved goodbye as I rode off - maybe wished her all the best stuck in traffic.  3

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ChrisB200SX | 4 years ago
9 likes

Still trying to figure out how the cyclist put themselves in danger or retaliated?

Really hope the GMP see the light and apologise before educating the driver and the anti-cycling police person/people responsible for the replies so far.

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Prosper0 | 4 years ago
11 likes

GMP totally not answering the question. Unacceptable from a public body. 

Road.cc please drill further. 

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alansmurphy | 4 years ago
1 like

Disagree, you can't ride up the side of a car and then demand they give you 1.5metres.

 

Also filtering is fine, but surely you have to be confident of the ability to complete the pass, just like a car. He seems to be heading a long way on the opposite side of a road and hoping that a gap will appear...

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