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Cycling club repeatedly harassed by same driver frustrated over lack of police action, saying incidents are "intimidating and causing stress and alarm to members"

The incidents have left some Westbury Wheelers cyclists too scared to ride through the small Wiltshire village of Coulston after repeated threats, with a club ride leader stressing the importance of running cameras to document video evidence for police

A cycling club ride leader has stressed the importance of cyclists running cameras on the road after being told that police were unable to investigate a series of "intimidating" incidents involving the same driver across multiple days in the same small village. 

Sean Price, a lifetime member of Westbury Wheelers Cycling Club, claims the club's rides have been targeted numerous times by the driver, who has passed the group too closely and shouted abuse on more than one occasion. 

Sean says the first incident occurred on 1 June, and three others on Saturday 22, Sunday 23 and Tuesday 25 June.

"In the latest incident, the driver was following three riders and shouting abuse", Mr Price told road.cc. 

"All three of those occasions it's happened shortly after we start our rides, almost as if he knows when and where the club meet." 

Westbury Wheelers intend to purchase more bike cameras after being told police needed video evidence of alleged harassment and dangerous driving offences

While police are investigating under two crime reference numbers, Sean says the initial incident "was not fully investigated due to lack of video evidence", having only managed to capture a close pass (above) that police deemed not serious enough to issue a fixed penalty notice for. Sean says he was told that police instead intended to offer the driver the choice of attending an awareness course. 

He added: "Luckily I caught one of the incidents on my rear facing Garmin Varia RCT715.  There are only two bike cameras regularly used by the club members.

"The initial incident was not fully investigated due to lack of video evidence. The club have added to their agenda the purchase of bike cameras to help ride leaders and other riders to catch these criminals.

"The incidents are intimidating and causing stress and alarm to our members. Some have not ridden as a result and we as a club are avoiding that village until police action has been taken." 

> Here's what to do if you capture a near miss, close pass or collision on camera while cycling

The small settlement where the alleged incidents took place, Coulston in Wiltshire, is the same village that road.cc tech editor Mat Brett was involved in a serious, unexplained collision on Monday 24 June. On 4 July, Wiltshire Police published an appeal for witnesses

Separately, Sean told road.cc that a female Westbury Wheelers member was recently threatened at a Westbury supermarket, saying that "...what happened to Mat would happen to her." 

In a statement regarding the alleged incidents involving the Westbury Wheelers cyclists, a Wiltshire Police spokesperson told road.cc: 

“We have received a report of incidents of potentially dangerous driving relating to a grey Mini Clubman over the past month in villages around Westbury. Our enquiries are ongoing.

“Any witnesses or anyone with information is asked to contact us on 101 quoting reference 54240074847.”

Arriving at road.cc in 2017 via 220 Triathlon Magazine, Jack dipped his toe in most jobs on the site and over at eBikeTips before being named the new editor of road.cc in 2020, much to his surprise. His cycling life began during his students days, when he cobbled together a few hundred quid off the back of a hard winter selling hats (long story) and bought his first road bike - a Trek 1.1 that was quickly relegated to winter steed, before it was sadly pinched a few years later. Creatively replacing it with a Trek 1.2, Jack mostly rides this bike around local cycle paths nowadays, but when he wants to get the racer out and be competitive his preferred events are time trials, sportives, triathlons and pogo sticking - the latter being another long story.  

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25 comments

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hawkinspeter | 1 week ago
18 likes

The police need to be treating this kind of thing very seriously, especially as it seems likely that the driver will escalate their threats over time if they think they'll get away with it. Ideally, this should be treated as a terrorist act as their intention does seem to be to terrify.

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Safety | 1 week ago
25 likes

It seems very strange to me that they can't take action without "sufficient" video evidence. Imagine a group of people were walking along a street and were abused and physically threatened by an individual they could identify. Do we seriously think the police would say to the several victims I'm sorry your sworn statements are not enough didn't you video the incident?
How did we ever convict criminals in the past?

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gavben replied to Safety | 1 week ago
12 likes

It's standard. I reported a driver to Cambridgeshire police for harassing my 11 year old son & threatening to run either of us down if they ever saw us again. The first words from the operator: "you know we won't do anything about this?"

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stonojnr replied to Safety | 1 week ago
3 likes

It will be recorded but what can the police do about it? Driver will deny all knowledge of it, so unless there's evidence & independent witnesses they can't prosecute.

In times of yore a local beat copper would have known the likely miscreants and had a word to sort them out.

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brooksby replied to stonojnr | 1 week ago
4 likes

But presumably the number plate would/could be kept on file, and if that vehicle was ever involved in an 'incident' involving a cyclist then the driver has demonstrated how they dislike cyclists and it could be used by the prosecution?

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chrisonabike replied to brooksby | 1 week ago
2 likes

brooksby wrote:

But presumably the number plate would/could be kept on file, and if that vehicle was ever involved in an 'incident' involving a cyclist then the driver has demonstrated how they dislike cyclists and it could be used by the prosecution?

This is where our otherwise authoritarian system of actually requiring drivers to be licensed, vehicles to be uniquely identifiable AND registered to a keeper etc falls flat when the person the police contact says "I have no memory of that" or the necessity of proving who was in the driver's seat at the time * rears its head.

* In at least one case in Scotland even that would appear to be insufficient!

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stonojnr replied to brooksby | 1 week ago
1 like

prosecution for what though ? it demonstrates a driver of the same vehicle has had another 'incident' with a cyclist, which maybe totally within the expected norms if its a village with a small population, youre bound to run into the same people alot, who do the same things, again a local bobby might have resolved the issue way back, but we dont do that kind of preventative policing anymore.

So it will be recorded again, until such time theres something concrete to pin on the driver, you cant charge people with stuff just on one persons word against the other, as the lawyers will just argue among themselves, get paid alot and get it kicked out

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GMBasix replied to stonojnr | 1 week ago
7 likes

A s59 warning does not require the same degree of evidence: if a constable in uniform has reaosnable grounds for believing that it is going on, a warning can be given. Subsequently, the vehicle can be seized.

Applies to the car and the driver - different driver in the same car, or same driver in a different car... car gets seized.

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chrisonabike replied to GMBasix | 1 week ago
3 likes

Interesting!  I guess the discussion would be over the warning requirement and exemptions - presumably there's plenty of get-outs there for places like Lancs which don't want to get drawn into this kind of policing (starting with police discretion to address something or not...)?

Does exist in Wiltshire though:

https://www.wiltshire.police.uk/SysSiteAssets/foi-media/wiltshire/2022/1...

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GMBasix replied to chrisonabike | 1 week ago
3 likes

Yes - you still need a force to be willing to uphold the law against a particular type of illegal behaviour. the prevailing accounts here tend to suggest that places like Lancs don't enjoy that level of support and protection for cyclists.

Perhaps those with new MPs representing the area might wish to discuss the issue with the Home Office to address the focus on policing roads. 9 out of 15 Lancs constituency seats are Labour gains this time, 2 held (excluding the Speaker). If they want to make a mark, here is something that a group of local people might work towards.

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wtjs replied to GMBasix | 1 week ago
3 likes

9 out of 15 Lancs constituency seats are Labour gains this time, 2 held (excluding the Speaker). If they want to make a mark, here is something that a group of local people might work towards

Not as easy as it sounds. I tried with the previous Tory PCC, and I'm about to confront the Labour retread PCC with evidence. However the mass of OPCC staff aren't interested in evidence (just like the police) and are  'we can't interfere with the operational decisions of the police' types- even when the operational decisions of the police consist of taking action against offenders only when they're people the police don't like. So when the PCC doesn't do anything, it'll have to be the MP- that is also difficult as I've met her, and was introduced as someone who delivered election material for her. Fortunately, she won't know my name

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GMBasix replied to wtjs | 1 week ago
2 likes

Quite right that the Commissioner doesn't interfere with operational matters, but strategic matters are very much the interest of the PCC.

A few cases are operational; a litany is a structural/strategic policy.

Approaching the MP, use your contacts within the campaign team to get closer to her constituency team (if they differ). Keep up the offer to support campaigning. Maintain the low-level chatter about the poor state of driving and lack of policing. And when you do speak to her, your path to doing so may be better received than without warming things up.

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wtjs replied to Safety | 1 week ago
5 likes

It seems very strange to me that they can't take action without "sufficient" video evidence

It hardly matters how sufficient the evidence truly is when our main enemy, the police, refuse to take action from 'anti-cyclist and pro-driver' motives. There's not much problem with this evidence, but no action was taken, and there was no reply from Amazon

https://upride.cc/incident/ld71uom_amazonprime_handheldmobilephone/

I reported WT16 ATX months ago for failed MOT, but it's still seen regularly around Garstang

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Surreyrider | 1 week ago
4 likes

I have watched that video above several times (no sound) and TBH I wouldn't consider that a close pass in Surrey.

But I wasn't there and know nothing of the other incidents.

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stonojnr replied to Surreyrider | 1 week ago
6 likes

On first viewing yeah it looked pretty standard to me too, but noticed the focus is on the first rider.

Rewatch again with the rider 2nd in line, blue arm warmers, and note how close the Mini is to them.

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eburtthebike | 1 week ago
18 likes

The invevitable result of a car-based society, where drivers are told repeatedly that they pay for the roads and nobody else is entitled to use them, and pedestrians and cyclists are marginalised and despised.  Well done Clarkson et al.

I hope the police take this seriously, especially in the light of the Mat Brett incident, and investigate thoroughly.

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Hirsute | 1 week ago
11 likes

My wife has demanded a camera after too many close passes and then a bloke stopping to shout abuse at her that she'd held him up.

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lonpfrb replied to Hirsute | 1 week ago
11 likes
Hirsute wrote:

My wife has demanded a camera after too many close passes and then a bloke stopping to shout abuse at her that he was such a bad driver that he couldn't overtake her safely.

FTFY 😁

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marmotte27 | 1 week ago
0 likes

What's this about Matt Brett having been in a "collision" rather than an "incident" ?

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Rendel Harris replied to marmotte27 | 1 week ago
5 likes

.

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marmotte27 replied to Rendel Harris | 1 week ago
1 like

Thanks.

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HoarseMann | 1 week ago
5 likes

Quote:

Seaprately, Sean told road.cc that a female Westbury Wheelers member was recently threatened at a Westbury supermarket, saying that "...what happened to Mat would happen to her."

That's outrageous. I suspect this driver is very local to the Coulston area, do they have a Nissan Navara in their household as well as a Mini Clubman?! Very concerning.

Edit: just noticed the vehicle ahead of the mini in the video is a Nissan Navara. Probably nothing to do with it, but bit of a coincidence.

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pockstone | 1 week ago
5 likes

West country cops eh? Still haven't heard anything (beyond an acknowledgement) about my report to Devon & Cornwall Police of assault-by- muckspreader as featured here and in the Sun recently.

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Secret_squirrel replied to pockstone | 1 week ago
3 likes

Wiltshire cops are not fit for purpose. 
 

They can't even investigate serial killers proper let alone enforce road traffic laws. 

(Wilts motorway cops are the only exception)

Country bumpkin keystone cops

 

 

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Festus replied to Secret_squirrel | 1 week ago
4 likes

Whats a policeman thought they died out years ago never see them around here, we get the odd multi coloured vehicle heading to the local cafe around breakfast time maybe thats them.

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