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Undertaking motorist’s claim that he mounted grass verge “in panic” to avoid crash “utter bollocks”, says cyclist “lucky to be alive”

“He was clearly overtaking a number of vehicles and took evasive action – he undertook the minibus too before he undertook me,” the cyclist says, after the driver was banned for 12 months for the dangerous close pass

A cyclist who narrowly avoided being struck by a recklessly undertaking motorist – who last week received a 12-month driving ban for the dangerous manoeuvre – has slammed the driver’s “utter bollocks” claim that he mounted the grass verge in a moment of “panic” to avoid crashing into another overtaking vehicle in front, with the cyclist instead noting that the driver had undertaken a minibus moments before almost hitting her and leaving her feeling “lucky to be alive”.

Last week, Steven Turner pleaded guilty at Jedburgh Sheriff Court to dangerous driving in relation to the shocking incident, which took place on the A701 towards Leadburn, just before Lamancha, in the Scottish Borders, on 29 May 2023.

He was disqualified from driving for 12 months, fined £340, and ordered to re-sit an extended test upon his ban’s expiry, a “very disappointing” punishment Sarah Gibson – the cyclist almost struck by the 25-year-old as he mounted the verge – nonetheless described as “better than nothing”.

Footage of the harrowing incident, captured on a following vehicle’s dashcam and sent to road.cc by Gibson, shows Turner undertaking one vehicle with his Mitsubishi 4x4 (which was not taxed or insured at the time of the incident) – as another motorist attempted to overtake the cyclist in the normal manner – before continuing to drive along the grass verge, front wheel askew, missing the cyclist by inches, and pulling back onto the road just in front of the overtaking driver.

“I have cycled that road many times,” cyclist Gibson tells road.cc. “I remember the incident like it was yesterday. I could hear a strange noise just before the driver undertook me and missed me – God knows how! When I saw the video I was like, Jesus, I’m lucky to be alive.”

In court, Turner, who has recently moved to Devon after joining the British Army, claimed that he had “panicked” by mounting the verge, arguing that he did so because he did not want to collide with the vehicle in front of him.

The 25-year-old also claimed that he had wanted to stop and apologise to the cyclist for the dangerous pass, but chose to carry on instead.

Driver mounts grass verge to undertake cyclist (Sarah Gibson)

> “Panicked” motorist who mounted grass verge to undertake cyclist banned from driving for 12 months

However, Gibson is adamant that Turner’s reckless driving was not the result of a moment of “panic”, but the end product of a desire to overtake several vehicles at once.

“His response is utter bollocks,” she tells road.cc. “He was clearly overtaking a number of vehicles and took evasive action. He undertook the minibus too before he undertook me.

“To say he made the manoeuvre to avoid colliding with the vehicle safely overtaking me is a lie. It would be interesting to know if the judge watched the video.”

She continued: “As I had his full vehicle registration number, we also established that he had no tax, MOT, or insurance. Hopefully he has been charged for that too. As an ex-serving soldier I know he will also be punished via the military discipline system.”

Gibson also says she was initially informed that the case against Turner had been closed, “as they were unable to cite him to court”.

“I appealed and case was reopened,” she says. “To get the email to say he had been to court and plead guilty was a relief.

“I’m very disappointed with his sentence and fine, but it’s better than nothing.”

> Cyclist slams “disgraceful” 12-month driving ban and £540 fine for drink driver who “ruined” his life

However, despite suffering no physical injuries during Turner’s reckless undertake, Gibson says the incident has “ruined my enjoyment of cycling outside on normal roads” and she even considered selling her bike.

“I now only use recognised cycle paths for the majority of the ride and if I have to use a main road it is minimal and I am very nervous when I hear any vehicle approaching to overtake me,” she says. 

“I have daily reminders of the incident when I see the same or similar 4x4 vehicle.”

Ryan joined road.cc in December 2021 and since then has kept the site’s readers and listeners informed and enthralled (well at least occasionally) on news, the live blog, and the road.cc Podcast. After boarding a wrong bus at the world championships and ruining a good pair of jeans at the cyclocross, he now serves as road.cc’s senior news writer. Before his foray into cycling journalism, he wallowed in the equally pitiless world of academia, where he wrote a book about Victorian politics and droned on about cycling and bikes to classes of bored students (while taking every chance he could get to talk about cycling in print or on the radio). He can be found riding his bike very slowly around the narrow, scenic country lanes of Co. Down.

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40 comments

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Hirsute | 2 months ago
2 likes

Lead item in exposed dash cam !

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j42NdLIoVPU

"Sarah - send your clip to the police, that maniac needs to be off the road."

"The first one blew my mind! I'm almost the car was stolen and they were being chased by police because that was pure insanity."

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Daclu Trelub | 2 months ago
0 likes

Kerist on a bike! That was effing close!

Total arsehole deserves more than a year's ban - that woulda / coulda easily ended a life.

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wtjs | 2 months ago
7 likes

As I had his full vehicle registration number, we also established that he had no tax, MOT, or insurance. Hopefully he has been charged for that too

Doubt it! These, like driving offences against troublemaking cyclists, are not considered by the police to be real offences. Hence, the oft-repeated photo of WU59 UMH, no MOT or VED for 6 1/2 years, failed MOT 6 months ago, regularly parked outside the pub 100 yards from the police station, business website and phone numbers on the vehicle, smashed rear light cluster, repeated reports over 7 months to Lancashire Constabulary and Lancashire PCC Snowden etc. etc

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wtjs | 2 months ago
8 likes

This is all nonsense! The cyclist cannot have been subjected to a dangerous and close 'undertake' because you can see that she doesn't swerve or brake. I am obviously the ideal candidate for any OpSnap vacancy!

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quiff | 2 months ago
0 likes

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BIRMINGHAMisaDUMP | 2 months ago
6 likes

What a pathetic 'punishement'. Everything about this demonstrates the arrogance and disdain motorists have for everyone (and they get away with it); no insurance, no MOT, huge, dumb unnecessary vehicle for the UK, incredibly dangerous driving. It's sad to contemplate, that had the cyclist been killed the driver would only have got a little bit more of a fine - and perhaps another 12 months ban. 

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wtjs replied to BIRMINGHAMisaDUMP | 2 months ago
0 likes

What a pathetic 'punishment'. Everything about this demonstrates the arrogance and disdain motorists have for everyone (and they get away with it); no insurance, no MOT, huge, dumb unnecessary vehicle for the UK, incredibly dangerous driving

Agreed. I also, through gritted teeth (no, not about e-bikes) agree with Rendel

Ms Gibson saying that as a former serviceperson she knows that he would get extra sanctions from his employers

Let's hope the army provides real sanctions, as opposed to the pretend ones from the police and the courts, although my experience with Stagecoach and the other employers we hear about here leads me into pessimism

 

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IanMSpencer | 2 months ago
7 likes

I think it is since lockdown, but I now expect to see crazy stunts on any journey I make.

Trivial compared to this, but I watched a black BMW catch up with me in an average speed camera 30mph road (so fair bet driving on false plates) with an awkward junction just after a bus lane, I could see him cutting into the bus lane positioning to undertake which was the lane I needed to turn left after the bus lane so I shaded across early, he switched back then at the lights switched to the right turn only lane 3. Sure enough, floored it to go straight on. This was at half 9 in light traffic.

It's not poor driving, it's deliberately aggressive and dangerous driving and it seems to becoming more of a problem.

When I was a lad, I tried driving like a lunatic but in a 1300 Allegro with a 0-60 of pensionable age and the road holding of an old Porsche with remoulds on a wet country lane it was never James Bond stuff. These days, most cars are able to accelerate to silly speeds without effort, so wild driving inevitably is ending up with more "Car Crashes into Building" news reports. It would be interesting to see if there has been a significant change in accident profiles over the last decade with increasing performance of most cars against increased safety systems.

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eburtthebike replied to IanMSpencer | 2 months ago
4 likes

IanMSpencer wrote:

It would be interesting to see if there has been a significant change in accident profiles over the last decade with increasing performance of most cars against increased safety systems.

Due to risk compensation, it is almost inevitable that crashes increase with safety systems that just protect the driver, and it would certainly be useful to see the collision figures.

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mikewood replied to IanMSpencer | 2 months ago
2 likes

IanMSpencer wrote:

I think it is since lockdown, but I now expect to see crazy stunts on any journey I make. Trivial compared to this, but I watched a black BMW catch up with me in an average speed camera 30mph road (so fair bet driving on false plates) with an awkward junction just after a bus lane, I could see him cutting into the bus lane positioning to undertake which was the lane I needed to turn left after the bus lane so I shaded across early, he switched back then at the lights switched to the right turn only lane 3. Sure enough, floored it to go straight on. This was at half 9 in light traffic. It's not poor driving, it's deliberately aggressive and dangerous driving and it seems to becoming more of a problem. When I was a lad, I tried driving like a lunatic but in a 1300 Allegro with a 0-60 of pensionable age and the road holding of an old Porsche with remoulds on a wet country lane it was never James Bond stuff. These days, most cars are able to accelerate to silly speeds without effort, so wild driving inevitably is ending up with more "Car Crashes into Building" news reports. It would be interesting to see if there has been a significant change in accident profiles over the last decade with increasing performance of most cars against increased safety systems.

Agreed Ian. Modern cars are so good that the first time the respose to any control input isn't linear and they get understeer, oversteer, loss of traction etc, they are on their way to the crash site. Note that I didn't use the word "accident" It's the inevitable outcome of an action, not an accident!

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IanMSpencer replied to mikewood | 2 months ago
1 like

I remember that about 20 years ago, a bunch of men in a new Mercedes were killed when they left the road. At the time I believed they'd been caught out by the stability control which kept them on the road until it couldn't.

A mate of mine worked at TRW and was fixing the stability control on one of the early Chinese MGs. They were essentially trying to fix a poorly handling car with software. That might work within certain boundaries, but that's got to be nasty when it crosses limits.

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mitsky replied to IanMSpencer | 2 months ago
0 likes

"... but I watched the driver of a black BMW catch up with me..."

Language matters.

http://rc-rg.com

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IanMSpencer replied to mitsky | 2 months ago
1 like

Well, both he and the BMW caught up, but originally I couldn't see whether there was a driver.  3

When it came to decisions I did attribute that to the driver, so a plead not guilty to language misuse.

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chrisonabike | 2 months ago
6 likes

That lad had been watching too many army recruitment ads - "Get off the road!" *.

Another reminder that the notion that a small fine plus telling people not to do something again (on pain of telling them not to do it again) really doesn't work for some people.  And they tend to be the ones who go on to kill someone / drive through someone's wall.

* From time back - "Kill the lights! Get off the road! Through the trees."  I couldn't find this one but while googling came across something maybe more appropriate.

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Oldfatgit replied to chrisonabike | 2 months ago
0 likes

I always chuckle at how quickly the advert stops after the "through the trees".

It's almost as if the driver takes the instruction literally...

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stonojnr | 2 months ago
10 likes

That's even crazier than Id been struggling to picture it, where do you start with that, other than how is this guy allowed anywhere near driving a vehicle again.

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Hirsute replied to stonojnr | 2 months ago
2 likes

I was left trying to work out the 100s of comments expected on dashcam UK etc.
Still, I don't expect it will be long to read the actual ones !

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stonojnr replied to Hirsute | 2 months ago
12 likes

I'll wait for the Ashley Neal reaction video, bound to blame the cyclist for poor road positioning

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OldRidgeback | 2 months ago
26 likes

I think that's one of the worst close passes I've ever seen on this website. I can't understand why the driver hasn't been banned for 10 years at least.

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Rendel Harris | 2 months ago
11 likes

What would the odds be that the driver was drunk and/or on drugs at the time? Looks like a classic cocaine/amphetamine-fuelled manoeuvre to me.

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leipreachan | 2 months ago
13 likes

340 pounds? Only ~6 time to fuel your car. Maybe even less.

The fine should be measured in thousands, not dozens

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eburtthebike | 2 months ago
14 likes

Not sure I want someone so reckless with a gun in their hand.  Or the fact that he is completely irresponsible, driving without VED, MoT or insurance.

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mitsky | 2 months ago
18 likes

"...  he had no tax, MOT, or insurance..."

Based on that, I wonder if it will even be bothered about the ban or requirement to do an extended re-test.
I won't hold my breath.

Another example of an unduly lenient sentence?

Further example of an extreme case for which I advocate the criminal loses its taste buds and libido.
Nothing else will make such things think twice about behaving like this.

I'd love to know what the "military discipline system" is.

"But cyclists..."

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giff77 replied to mitsky | 2 months ago
4 likes

It's a court system that mirrors the civil courts. The serving individual can end up with various sanctions and worst case scenario could be court martial. Also means that the individual would find it harder to gain promotion and spend his time of service as a private. 

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Flâneur replied to giff77 | 2 months ago
2 likes

My understanding is that this occurred prior to him taking the King's shilling so he probably can't be disciplined for something that he commited prior to signing up.

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stonojnr replied to Flâneur | 2 months ago
0 likes

But it says ex-serving soldier in the article ? Unless that's the rider saying they know as an ex serving soldier themselves.

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Rendel Harris replied to stonojnr | 2 months ago
1 like

stonojnr wrote:

But it says ex-serving soldier in the article ? Unless that's the rider saying they know as an ex serving soldier themselves.

The latter I think, Ms Gibson saying that as a former serviceperson she knows that he would get extra sanctions from his emplyers, though unfortunately "Turner, who has recently moved to Devon after joining the British Army" implies that he joined up post-incident and so wouldn't get what he so richly deserves.

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giff77 replied to Flâneur | 2 months ago
0 likes

Possibly. Though I would imagine that he needed to declare an upcoming court appearance as a serving soldier regardless of when the offence was committed. 

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Daclu Trelub replied to Flâneur | 2 months ago
0 likes

Flâneur wrote:

My understanding is that this occurred prior to him taking the King's shilling so he probably can't be disciplined for something that he commited prior to signing up.

Really? Perhaps he joined the French Foreign Legion.

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wtjs replied to giff77 | 2 months ago
0 likes

It's a court system that mirrors the civil courts

Oh dear! That's not very encouraging. What will he be 'suffering' then? A year's ban against undertaking extremely close to a cyclist across the grass verge unless he really has to?

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