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Cyclist bemoans police reporting system as furious driver who shouted abuse and got out car to confront him "gets a talking to"

"A victim of a crime shouldn't have to know the system [...] if you think this is about cyclists vs motorists, it isn't. It's about the basic ability for laws and norms to be upheld"...

A cyclist in London has raised concerns about the way footage of incidents on the road can be reported, using his own case as an example of how reports can fall through the cracks as police forces "follow procedure" and are "drowning under cases".

The cyclist behind the Dylillama Twitter account originally shared footage of an incident in Bromley, south east London, on social media last month — and later reported it to the police — after an objection to a close pass led to a motorist driving alongside him for an uncomfortable length of time before accelerating ahead to get out of his vehicle further up the road to wait for the rider.

The whole incident is seen in the footage below, the driver objecting to his "too close, mate" call as they overtook, prompting him to brake and exchange words with the cyclist. "Stay away from me, piss off, move on," the rider can be heard saying, repeatedly asking the driver to continue on their way.

When the driver eventually does it is only to wait in a side road further along the route, getting out of his car and moving into the road as the cyclist approaches. While the rider tells him to "calm down", the man can be heard saying: "Come on, you prick".

When the rider came to report the footage, "the police online reporting tool instructions led me to report it as an assault when it would have been better to report as solely a traffic issue".

"That itself is insane — want to assault someone? Do it in a car," he said. "A victim of a crime shouldn't have to know the system."

The problem came as the roads policing team "stopped investigating while the police investigated the assault", meaning that while this happened "14 days went by, more actually".

"This meant the statutory deadline for the traffic offences expired," he continued. "The police concluded that the rest of the conduct did not warrant charging or prosecution. So the driver will get a talking to and remain 'on the system'."

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

When we contacted the Metropolitan Police about the story we were told: "Police were contacted on 26 August by a man reported an incident where a driver had verbally threatened him while he was cycling on Farnborough Hill, Bromley.

"Officers investigated the incident, including viewing footage provided by the cyclist, to establish if any offences in relation to the threatening behaviour aspect could be identified. They could not and the complainant was informed.

"While there will be no further action at this time, the registered owner of the car will be contacted by police and advised about his conduct."

The cyclist called it a "pretty poor outcome" but added he has "absolutely no issue" with the officers involved, saying "they did their best with what they had" and instead blamed the whole reporting process as "a bit of a farce".

He continued: "I don't blame any of the individual officers involved. The roads unit was following procedure. The police officer I spoke to was drowning under cases and got to mine as soon as he could. The charging decision has to consider both chance of conviction and the capacity of the courts system to deal with something like this, in and amongst thousands of other back-logged cases.

"I am okay. I can handle myself, de-escalate a situation and carry on my way. I love riding enough that this won't impact me. But I shouldn't be the standard — think about the precedent this sets for actually vulnerable riders and what it does for encouraging cycling.

"Budgets throughout the whole of the system are in crisis, from on the street policing, to back office consideration of offences, through to the ability to prosecute in court or provide restorative justice outside the courts. It's all broken.

> Should dealing with third-party camera reports from cyclists be outsourced? Close pass op pioneer Mark Hodson on the road.cc Podcast

"If you think this is about cyclists vs motorists it isn't. It's about the basic ability for laws and norms to be upheld. I hope the man in the video gets help. I am a normal person, a partner, a father, a friend, who happens to ride a bike. For that kind of rage to exist in someone for so little reason is beyond comprehension. I hope the the chat with the police gives him reflection and peace."

This tale is nothing new either. Through our Near Miss of the Day series, our campaign making a point about driving standards and the lack of consideration for vulnerable road users on UK roads, we have reported on numerous instances where footage has gone unpunished due to issues.

Last November, Thames Valley Police apologised to a road.cc reader for not requesting clearer footage sooner, meaning it was too late to prosecute a close pass driver.

"To pursue allegations of careless/inconsiderate driving, we are required by law to send a written Notice of Intended Prosecution (NoIP) to the registered keeper of the vehicle within 14 days of the incident," the force told us.

"In this case, we did not initially have sufficiently clear enough evidence to satisfy stage one. A request was made for clearer footage on 2 September and this was provided on the same day. However, as the time limit for prosecution had expired, we were unable to pursue a prosecution or request that the offending driver attend a driver education course on this occasion.

"Had the request for clearer footage been done sooner, there is a possibility we could have considered sending the driver on an educational course. For this, we apologise."

While back in June, a Staffordshire cyclist told us of a police email mix-up which allowed a driver to get away without punishment for squeezing him off the road on a country lane, again the 14-day window expiring by the time it was resolved.

Near Miss of the Day 866 (credit: Rob Edwards)

Dan joined road.cc in 2020, and spent most of his first year (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. At the start of 2022 he took on the role of news editor. Before joining road.cc, Dan wrote about various sports, including football and boxing for the Daily Express, and covered the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for The Non-League Paper. Part of the generation inspired by the 2012 Olympics, Dan has been 'enjoying' life on two wheels ever since and spends his weekends making bonk-induced trips to the petrol stations of the south of England.

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44 comments

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Gimpl | 7 months ago
0 likes

Terrible incident but really - the noise of that hub!!!

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Johny | 7 months ago
1 like

Do you think the vigilantism that sites like this encourages, lead's to already over stretched police forces being deluged with a mass of minor incidents, which they can't possibly sift through to catch the minority that really should be dealt with?

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Hirsute replied to Johny | 7 months ago
8 likes

Oh another newbie with a stupid agenda.

1 look up what a vigilante is
2 why do police have portals to submit evidence
3 most submissions are by drivers, some are even from peds
4 if police gave proper feedback and were consistent then submitters would be selective. No one wants to waste their time with a submission below the requirement
5 what exactly are you trying to achieve, other than appear to be trolling

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perce replied to Johny | 7 months ago
7 likes

No, I think vigilantism is encouraged by courts handing out lenient sentences time and time again.

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Left_is_for_Losers replied to Johny | 7 months ago
0 likes
Johny wrote:

Do you think the vigilantism that sites like this encourages, lead's to already over stretched police forces being deluged with a mass of minor incidents, which they can't possibly sift through to catch the minority that really should be dealt with?

Yes. Most are a waste of valuable time. 

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AlsoSomniloquism replied to Left_is_for_Losers | 7 months ago
4 likes

How would you know? How would the submitter know? For example, yesterday on the way home, I encounterd a car deciding to come off this island on my side of the road because they wanted to try to avoid the bus gate cameras. Not just that, they accelerated towards me at the same time because they were unsure where the cameras were pointed. So would that be a waste of time submitting to the Police when they have broken multiple road laws?

edit: Although I do suppose most submissions made to the Police are a waste of time for the submitter as shown by the FOI from last year which showed only one person had been charged for anything cyclist submitted in 2022 (which apparently turned out to be one of my submissions if true). Which being as I also submitted other even worse passes that year again shows it is the Police deciding that they are a waste of time and not the submitters fault.

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NOtotheEU replied to AlsoSomniloquism | 7 months ago
3 likes
AlsoSomniloquism wrote:

Although I do suppose most submissions made to the Police are a waste of time for the submitter as shown by the FOI from last year which showed only one person had been charged for anything cyclist submitted in 2022 (which apparently turned out to be one of my submissions if true). Which being as I also submitted other even worse passes that year again shows it is the Police deciding that they are a waste of time and not the submitters fault.

This week for the first time ever I had an email from WMP a day after reporting a close pass forcing me off the road (& no MOT) to say they were prosecuting them. Most probably a one off but maybe all the public statements they've made this year about finally taking dangerous driving seriously are true?

I wasted a MASSIVE amount of time in 2022 if that is true, well done for being the one that got through though!

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AlsoSomniloquism replied to NOtotheEU | 7 months ago
1 like
Quote:

I wasted a MASSIVE amount of time in 2022 if that is true, well done for being the one that got through though!

 

it might have been the wording of the FOI reply, but I'm pretty sure they stated only one cyclist submission had actually been charged with Careless Driving. 
I was only alerted as this  was supposed to be going to court. As I mentioned in the description, they were also being charged with (I assume) no license which might be why they took this one to the court. I'm not sure how they knew who was driving, but as I was told after the "driver" didn't turn up to court and was found guilty in absence, I can only assume the registered keeper had told the Police who the driver was, and it was a patsy name they didn't realise had accumalated enough points to be banned. 

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AlsoSomniloquism replied to Johny | 7 months ago
3 likes

Nice to know when my wife was a vigilante when she reported seeing the people breaking of the laws of the land to the Police. 

And look at this vigilante here filming and submitting to the Police. 
I mean it was only a close pass and no one got hit if you have decided that is the reason cyclist submissions are a waste of time. 
 

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giff77 replied to Johny | 7 months ago
1 like

Oh dear. 
 

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Gortoncycling | 7 months ago
9 likes

Similar but different experience. I filmed a driver (or a new rangerover) using their phone. They took exception did a hasty U turn, drove through a red light, mounted the pavement got out approached me before throwing water at me and then the water bottle. Reported it both as a traffic offence and an assault. CPS discontinued the assault apparently as it wasn't clear from the footage that it was me being assaulted even though there was reflection in the car window, am I expected to turn the camera on myself?!

Ended up with a half arsed apology letter and honestly the hoop jumping to even get the footage to the police being asked to come into a station, then to email it, then I uploaded it to 3 different file sharing sites as well as attaching it to the email as apparently they couldn't download it.

A previous case I had a driver unbuckling their seatbelt asking to fight me after I witnessed him on their phone. The polices response was to tell me not to engage at all with drivers, which is hard to do when you're stopped next to them and they wind their window down and talk to you. It seems Assault although it can apply to verbal threats too, doesn't apply if you are in a motor vehicle, and deliberately swerving with 2t of steel at someone on 2 wheels is just standard driving and not attempted murder.

My experience is that the police (at least around me) largely only care about obvious mobile phone reports. Go through a red light; warning letter, Turn left through a green man pedestrian crossing where it is right turn only; nothing, Pull a U turn at a junction where it is ahead only; nothing, park on crossing zigzags, warning letter.

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HoldingOn replied to Gortoncycling | 7 months ago
1 like

Guessing from your username, it happened in Manchester?

There is another user on here, wtjs, who has considerable (bad) experience with Lancashire Constabulary (different Constabulary, I know)

There is a forum topic here that talks about that experience.
You may find it useful.

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badhorse | 7 months ago
5 likes

I am precisely in the same situation as I write this comment. I was punishpassed by the bus driver I have It on the camera, it has been reported as an assault. But now the police are telling me they cannot say 100% that the bus driver did it on purpose....I am still fighting but how can I fight back effectively when the officer in charge of the case thinks that a cyclist must give way to a bus if the Bus is overtaking me in the bus lane....

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hawkinspeter replied to badhorse | 7 months ago
5 likes
badhorse wrote:

I am precisely in the same situation as I write this comment. I was punishpassed by the bus driver I have It on the camera, it has been reported as an assault. But now the police are telling me they cannot say 100% that the bus driver did it on purpose....I am still fighting but how can I fight back effectively when the officer in charge of the case thinks that a cyclist must give way to a bus if the Bus is overtaking me in the bus lane....

That sounds like a bullshit excuse by the police. I don't see the relevance of the driver's intention as assault can happen unintentionally and still be illegal. If they pursue it as a driving offence then the intention also doesn't matter as a close pass is still a close pass.

The first step is to raise a formal complaint against the police force.

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AidanR | 7 months ago
6 likes

People who don't cycle see a driver carrying on an argument next to a cyclist.

People who do cycle see a man threatening a person with 2 tons of metal.

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Nerolab replied to AidanR | 7 months ago
6 likes

I finally fixed my GoPro to my bike. I've had aggressive drivers driving at me, cutting me up, passing way too close and in spite of submitting within a 7 day window, I've been told there wasn't enough time or even worse, my cycling was dangerous so they won't pursue the aggressive car driver. I was filtering through stationary traffic (no cycle lanes - Rossendale council take note!) which makes me a dangerous cyclist apparently ! 
Most drivers are respectful but it takes just the one hateful motorist to spoil your day - or worse.

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HoldingOn replied to Nerolab | 7 months ago
5 likes

I have had the police act on footage submitted one day and then they reject similar footage the next - it seems to be entirely at the whim of the reviewer.

I keep submitting - despite there being a chance (or in wtjs' case, a guarantee) that the police won't do anything: I want it on their conscience, not mine.

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Rendel Harris replied to HoldingOn | 7 months ago
3 likes
HoldingOn wrote:

I have had the police act on footage submitted one day and then they reject similar footage the next - it seems to be entirely at the whim of the reviewer.

Doesn't even have to be similar footage, last year I submitted two incidents on the same day, from the same commute home. In one the driver passed by about 75 cm, probably wouldn't even have reported it if he hadn't slowed down and given me the finger further up the road (not shown on the video submitted to the police) for shouting out "too close!" In the other, the driver deliberately moved close at high speed (well in excess of the 20 mph road limit), skimmed me by less than 30 cm before moving away again, quite clearly on purpose (don't know why, we hadn't had any previous interaction). The first one got an NIP and an education course, the second one was NFA.

I don't wish to cast aspersions on the boys in blue or their civilian assistants but I have had a conversation with the head of the Met's video footage unit in which he told me that they were absolutely swamped and badly understaffed (which is not their fault, obviously), I do wonder if a certain proportion of submissions simply don't get looked at. There's no way of knowing; if they could simply provide a one line explanation for an NFA then one could be certain at least they had viewed the video, the current "If you don't hear from us within six weeks then that means we've taken no further action" is clearly open to abuse.

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wtjs replied to Rendel Harris | 7 months ago
4 likes

I do wonder if a certain proportion of submissions simply don't get looked at

You don't have to wonder- Lancashire Constabulary actually declares this dodge as an excuse for doing nothing about offences: 'we were too busy to look at these reports'. That was before they hit on the dodge of never responding to any of them.

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HoldingOn replied to Rendel Harris | 7 months ago
0 likes

Feels like someone will create a computer program to process these submissions, to "streamline" the process.

I don't know if that would be a good or bad thing!

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Hirsute replied to HoldingOn | 7 months ago
2 likes

Andy cox has been working on a national standard and submission portal standard.
It's a judgement when assessing them which is far beyond any AI if that's what you allude to.

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HoldingOn replied to Hirsute | 7 months ago
1 like
Hirsute wrote:

It's a judgement when assessing them which is far beyond any AI if that's what you allude to.

I think I hear someone bashing on their keyboard yelling "CHALLENGE ACCEPTED!" 

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wtjs replied to HoldingOn | 7 months ago
3 likes

I keep submitting - despite there being a chance (or in wtjs' case, a guarantee) that the police won't do anything

You can rely on Lancashire Constabulary! This is really just an excuse to give this everyday 'why do we care, there are no consequences?' one its first airing

https://upride.cc/incident/po18osk_vwtransporter_closepass/

PS People shouldn't think I'm just accepting my fate- I'm still working on sorting the b******s out.

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HoldingOn replied to wtjs | 7 months ago
5 likes
wtjs wrote:

 

PS People shouldn't think I'm just accepting my fate- I'm still working on sorting the b******s out.

Fair play to you. Most (normal) people won't see your hard work, let alone thank you for it, but I certainly thank you for striving to make the roads safer for everyone!

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wtjs replied to HoldingOn | 7 months ago
3 likes

 I certainly thank you for striving to make the roads safer for everyone!

My efforts are mainly for my own benefit- I know that with the police we have here presently, they would have the 'insufficient evidence' and 'our thoughts and prayers go out to the bereaved members of his family' statements issued almost before I'd hit the deck after the lorry/ bus/ Audi/ BMW/ Mercedes etc. had ploughed into me. The greatest weapon the police have presently is the refusal to tell you what they did, even when they claim to have taken action.

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Born_peddling | 7 months ago
4 likes

Pretty much your standard "police action" tho if roles were reversed sure you probably would find yourself under caution and or potential fine for road rage bs and you have to remember the government has dropped it's cycle pretense and is backing drivers again. Best advice if you have to log something to the police don't use their automated service talk to an officer and get their service number while you're at it so you've got your receipt when they inevitably ignore the report! If possible record interaction for your own records.

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Andrewbanshee | 7 months ago
4 likes

Another advert for vigilantism. Honestly the odds are heavily stacked against people who cycle it is probably best to assume the worst so protect yourself and tell the police when they arrive that you felt extremely vulnerable. Why else would someone stop their car other than to do damage?

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Simon E replied to Andrewbanshee | 7 months ago
5 likes
Andrewbanshee wrote:

Why else would someone stop their car other than to do damage?

Precisely. He wasn't stopping to apologise or ask to have the 1.5 metre rule explained to him.

And you can bet he'd have not dreamt of doing that if the cyclist was a 6'4" bodybuilder, like one of our local lads.

If he's already that angry then I'm pretty sure a polite phone call from an office bod on behalf of the local plod won't make any difference. And 'being on the system' will only possibly be of any use if someone else reports it AND the plod decide to act. Somewhat unlikely.

The twat needs to be taught a proper lesson.

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levestane | 7 months ago
0 likes

.

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Bungle_52 | 7 months ago
7 likes

From the article :  "The police concluded that the rest of the conduct did not warrant charging or prosecution. So the driver will get a talking to and remain 'on the system'."

Unfortunately this is a good outcome. The fact that the driver is "on the system" should make it easier to deal effectively with them if they do it again which may at least have an effect on their future behaviour. The police could easily have blamed the cyclist for shouting at the driver as in NMOTD 806 (https://road.cc/content/news/nmotd-806-driver-reverses-cyclist-and-runs-...) and done nothing. I am appalled to have to say that this is an improved outcome and a step in the right direction.  

How on earth have we got to this state of affairs.

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