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Cyclist stopped by police three times and “told to put bike in van” after a “load of complaints” from motorists on foggy climb

Isle of Man Constabulary says officers were “dispatched to check on the welfare of the cyclist” after several reports of near misses with drivers

A cyclist who was riding in foggy conditions on the Isle of Man’s Mountain Road says he was stopped by police three times and ordered to “put my bike in the van as it was too dangerous”, following complaints from motorists on the climb.

Chris Glencorse, from Scissett, West Yorkshire, was climbing the A18 Snaefell Mountain Road between Ramsey and Douglas yesterday, as part of a three-day cycling trip to the Isle of Man, when he was stopped by officers who were dispatched to check on his welfare, after several drivers reported that they had nearly struck the cyclist due to the apparent poor visibility and adverse conditions on the road.

A video of the incident was posted on Twitter yesterday afternoon by Chris following his ride and has since been viewed over 650,000 times.

In the post, the cyclist wrote: “Unbelievably the Isle of Man Police thought it was appropriate to stop me three times while cycling over the mountain, the last time to tell me to put the bike in the van because of complaints by car drivers. That’s not how the Highway Code works. I didn’t get in the van.”

However, a spokesperson for the Isle of Man Constabulary told road.cc that the officers simply “offered to transport the cyclist and his bicycle to Douglas to ensure he arrived safely” and that the incident was a “timely reminder to all motorists that cyclists frequently use the A18 Mountain Road” and to “ensure that you drive/cycle to the conditions and arrive at your destination safely”.

Glencorse, a 51-year-old utility and touring cyclist who has completed in recent years bucket list rides such as Land’s End to John O’Groats, the Hebridean Way, Mizen Head to Malin Head, and L’Etape du Tour, says he was inspired to take on the Isle of Man’s famous hills by reading Simon Warren’s seminal 100 Greatest Cycling Climbs books.

“The book started me off on to do lists, and I’m slowly working my way through the second 100, so thought I’d do a quick tour of the island, do a lap of the TT course, and tick the three climbs off,” he tells road.cc.

The Yorkshire-based cyclist says he normally takes on his cycle touring trips with friends, but couldn’t quite convince them that three sodden spring days on the Isle of Man would be much fun.

“Obviously the weather was horrendous [yesterday], but I’m here and there is no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothes, so I set out, as I have done countless times before in bad weather,” he continued.

“I’ve two lights on the back, a 1200 lumen front light, had a bright orange jacket on, and hi viz overshoes and gloves.

“All was okay for the first 29 miles, if horrible and wet and windy, then I started the climb out of Ramsey. The road was busyish, but no more than say Holme Moss back home, and while visibility wasn’t great, it was about 200 yards so fine to be seen.”

Cyclist stopped by police while riding on Isle of Man Mountain Road 2 (credit - Chris Glencorse)

A photo taken by Chris as he made his way along the road

However, as Chris made his way up the famous Isle of Man TT climb – which was reopened earlier this week to traffic after icy conditions forced it to close for six days – he was stopped by police following reports from “concerned” drivers who had passed the cyclist on the road.

“I’ll admit I’m not the fastest climber, but slow and steady wins the race, and I’d just got past the really steep bit when a police van pulled up alongside and scared the s*** out of me by giving it the full blues and twos,” he says.

“[The officer] opened his window and told me he wanted to speak to me and to pull in at the bungalow about half a mile ahead. I told him I wasn’t doing anything wrong, and he said they’d had ‘a load of complaints’ from car drivers that a cyclist was riding up the mountain in all black and couldn’t be seen.”

After stopping at the bungalow as instructed, Chris then refused to provide the officer with his name, “as I was doing nothing wrong”.

He continued: “He repeated the complaints of the motorists, at which point I pointed to my hi viz clothes, the lights, and then asked him what I was doing wrong. He confirmed I wasn’t doing anything wrong, at which point I told him I was going to carry on.”

Chris then told road.cc that he was approached again by the same officer five minutes later, and that he once again refused to stop, before the driver allegedly “pulled around me” and forced the cyclist to come to a halt.

“He then told me his sergeant had told him I had to put my bike in the van as it was too dangerous and they would drive me back to Douglas,” he claims.

“It’s here I slightly lost my s***. I told him he’d have to arrest me to get me into the van. He then got me to sign something to say I was carrying on at my own risk, at which point I asked him, does that mean if a car ploughs into me it would be my fault?

“After now becoming piss wet through and freezing, I told him I was carrying on so if he kindly would leave me alone. To be fair, I had some sympathy with the officer, he was just doing what he was being told and he did seem uncomfortable.

“Anyway the day was now a bit ruined, so I had a cup of coffee in Douglas and made my way to Castletown.”

Chris told road.cc that he is currently contemplating reporting the officers for what he believes were their unnecessary actions on the road.

However, the Isle of Man Constabulary has since argued that their officers acted following reports from callers “concerned” for the cyclist’s safety “due to the poor visibility and heavy fog”.

“Yesterday, we received a number of calls from members of the public in regards to concerns for a cyclist on the A18 the Mountain Road,” a spokesperson told road.cc.

“Several of the concerned callers advised that the weather was adverse (heavy fog) and stated that they had nearly struck the cyclist.

“Following this, officers were dispatched to check on the welfare of the cyclist, who advised he was cycling from Ramsey to Douglas. The officers offered to transport the cyclist and his bicycle to Douglas to ensure he arrived safely. However, this was declined.

“We are pleased to say that the cyclist arrived in Douglas safely, but this is a timely reminder to all motorists that cyclists frequently use the A18 Mountain Road and therefore please ensure that you drive/cycle to the conditions and arrive at your destination safely.”

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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105 comments

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Thetruthasiseeit | 10 months ago
0 likes

Ever since I was a child (& we're going back many, many years now) I have always paid particular attention to crossing the road.
People ask me why I look both ways when crossing one way traffic areas.
"You won't get knocked down" they say, "it's illegal to go that way" Or "you'd be able to sue them".
Well, I don't know about you, but I don't actually want the pain and possibly life changing, or even threatening, injuries of being knocked over, even if they were in the wrong.

In the same way that if the police requested that I not cycle in a dangerous place, I wouldn't go all rebellious and insist it is my right to do so.

If 3 people actually cared enough to ring the police because they were concerned about my welfare, I'd be flipping grateful.

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perce replied to Thetruthasiseeit | 10 months ago
3 likes

Oh crap I've gone back in time again. I thought it had got colder all of a sudden.

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Hirsute replied to Thetruthasiseeit | 10 months ago
0 likes

And you found this news item from 6 months ago to post that.
Why ???

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AlsoSomniloquism replied to Hirsute | 10 months ago
1 like

TBF to the OP, the article was linked from the Orkney Island article posted the other day. 

TNBF, any username that contains "truth" is not normally worth replying to. 

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giff77 replied to Thetruthasiseeit | 10 months ago
1 like
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Krzystoff | 1 year ago
0 likes

Power to him for defending his right to use the road.
Mind, there are plenty of inexperienced and_or elderly riders that wobble all over the road, particularly when hillclimbing, if they're aren't using the right gears - it's not clear if that was the case here, but worth mentioning since many cyclists can improve their safety if they work to keep in a straight line, and not scare the bejaysus out of other passing vehicles.

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Rendel Harris replied to Krzystoff | 1 year ago
3 likes
Krzystoff wrote:

Power to him for defending his right to use the road. Mind, there are plenty of inexperienced and_or elderly riders that wobble all over the road, particularly when hillclimbing, if they're aren't using the right gears - it's not clear if that was the case here

Seems likely not:

Quote:

Glencorse, a 51-year-old utility and touring cyclist who has completed in recent years bucket list rides such as Land’s End to John O’Groats, the Hebridean Way, Mizen Head to Malin Head, and L’Etape du Tour

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brooksby replied to Krzystoff | 1 year ago
4 likes
Krzystoff wrote:

Power to him for defending his right to use the road. Mind, there are plenty of inexperienced and_or elderly riders that wobble all over the road, particularly when hillclimbing, if they're aren't using the right gears - it's not clear if that was the case here, but worth mentioning since many cyclists can improve their safety if they work to keep in a straight line, and not scare the bejaysus out of other passing vehicles.

Did Speed Buggy and Herbie retire to the Isle of Man?  I think you mean 'scare the bejaysus out of the drivers of other passing vehicles'... 

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Sriracha | 1 year ago
18 likes

"Hello, Police?"
"What's your emergency, caller?"
"I want to report a vehicle in front of me."
"Sir, are you wasting police time?"
"No! I nearly drove into him."
"Um, sir, you do realise now you are implicating yourself ...."
"Oh, no, you don't understand - he's a cyclist."
"Ah, thank you sir, and sorry. We'll pick him up straight away."

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Bungle_52 | 1 year ago
11 likes

What happened to the hierarchey of road users. I thought it was down to drivers to take more care around cycists not the other way round.

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SaneRebel replied to Bungle_52 | 1 year ago
0 likes

The IoM, not being part of the UK, has its own Highway Code https://www.gov.im/categories/travel-traffic-and-motoring/highway-code/ - (had a quick look and can't see anything similar the updates the GB one had last year, including hierarchry).

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Bungle_52 replied to SaneRebel | 1 year ago
2 likes

Well this is how the introduction begins.

"The most vulnerable road users are pedestrians, particularly children, older or disabled people, pedal cyclists, motorcyclists and horse riders. It is important that all road users are aware of the Code and are considerate towards each other. This applies to pedestrians as much as to drivers and riders."

Pretty similar I'd say but as you say not as explicit as the UK version. I guess the last two sentences could be interpreted as cyclists should be considerate to motorists by staying out of their way.

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Cycloid | 1 year ago
10 likes

Every incident like this is another turn of the screw, click of the ratchet (indexed gear lever) against logic and reason in the argument about HiVis (and helmets). The average motorist will just take away the irresponsible actions (bias confirmation) of another  cyclist.

I sometimes wear HiVis and nearly always use daytime lights, not because I believe they will magically protect me, but because I want to be seen AS ARESPONSIBLE CYCLIST. In the event of a collision I don't want to do the defense lawyer's job for him. This of course is sad state of affairs.

What is terrible about this incident is that it has escalated the argument to a new level. Not only MUST you wear HiVis in all conditions, but you must not ride at all in difficult conditions. Who decides which roads and conditions are difficult? The standard line of many NGOs (AA, RAC etc) and the IoM Police is that "We only have cyclist safety at heart". If Mr Loophole is reading this he is probably cracking open a bottle of the Good Tattinger.

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Benthic | 1 year ago
8 likes

"...complaints’ from car drivers that a cyclist was riding up the mountain in all black and couldn’t be seen.

How did the drivers know he was there?

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eburtthebike replied to Benthic | 1 year ago
5 likes
Benthic wrote:

"...complaints’ from car drivers that a cyclist was riding up the mountain in all black and couldn’t be seen.

How did the drivers know he was there?

Because they couldn't see him!  No, wait.......

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Holts replied to Benthic | 1 year ago
0 likes

Try reading , it was because of near misses , I came across another idiot riding with no reflectives and a piddling light of little use in dense fog and no doubt he would have been surprised if he got knocked off , of course because he was Saint Cyclist it would have been all the motorists fault .

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ShutTheFrontDawes replied to Holts | 1 year ago
6 likes
Holts wrote:

Try reading , it was because of near misses , I came across another idiot riding with no reflectives and a piddling light of little use in dense fog and no doubt he would have been surprised if he got knocked off , of course because he was Saint Cyclist it would have been all the motorists fault .

So they were really reporting themselves for dangerous driving (driving in a manner unsafe for the conditions) and the filth just got the wrong end of the stick? Right? Right?!

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Holts replied to ShutTheFrontDawes | 1 year ago
0 likes

You exemplify the problem with cyclists , it is up to you to make sure you can be seen , because you are riding without adequate visibility you expect everyone to make allowances for you , it's like riding in the dark with no lights no reflectives , wonderful idea , trouble is you are a bit softer than the metal you will make contact with , take some responsibility rather than try and blame others , exactly what the Police were indicating.

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ktache replied to Holts | 1 year ago
17 likes

The cyclist was wearing hiviz and had lights on.

The police managed to track him down three times.

Unlike the some of the motorists he was probably riding to the conditions.

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Mungecrundle replied to ktache | 1 year ago
7 likes

Ironically, black would have been a good choice for foggy conditions.

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perce replied to Holts | 1 year ago
8 likes

The problem with cyclists. On a cycling website.

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Rendel Harris replied to Holts | 1 year ago
13 likes
Holts wrote:

You exemplify the problem with cyclists

May I ask, are you actually a cyclist or just here to have a go at them?

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giff77 replied to Rendel Harris | 1 year ago
9 likes

Reincarnation? 

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Rendel Harris replied to giff77 | 1 year ago
5 likes
giff77 wrote:

Reincarnation? 

Distinct possibility!

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BalladOfStruth replied to Holts | 1 year ago
14 likes

There's a theoretical and a practical approach to these issues. Of course it's a good idea to give yourself the best chance to be seen by drivers and I don't think anyone here would disagree with that. But that does not change the fact that 100% of the danger is presented by the driver, and that the driver has a responsibility to drive at a speed appropriate to the prevailing conditions (HC rule 125 and 126 "Drive at a speed that will allow you to stop well within the distance you can see to be clear").

That's why there's opposition to the visibility point when it's brought up here - the discussion shouldn't focus on the visibility of the cyclist because that's not the root cause of the problem and it's not the source of the risk. If a driver hits a cyclist in reduced visibility conditions, it's not the cyclist's fault for not being dressed up like a hi-vis Christmas tree, it's the driver's fault for driving too fast for the conditions. The driver is the one presenting all the risk, the driver is the one who has a responsibility to look out for other road users. If we let the discussion focus on what the cyclist was wearing, that just removes agency from the driver and furthers the worrying perception that piloting two tonnes of high-seed metal in public isn't something that people need to take seriously. No – if you hit something because you couldn’t see it in time, you’re driving too fast. End of.

Besides, this is all irrelevant - the cyclist in this story was visible.

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ShutTheFrontDawes replied to Holts | 1 year ago
8 likes
Holts wrote:

You exemplify the problem with cyclists , it is up to you to make sure you can be seen , because you are riding without adequate visibility you expect everyone to make allowances for you , it's like riding in the dark with no lights no reflectives , wonderful idea , trouble is you are a bit softer than the metal you will make contact with , take some responsibility rather than try and blame others , exactly what the Police were indicating.

Yes I do expect other people to drive to the conditions.

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giff77 replied to Holts | 1 year ago
10 likes

Wearing brights, using see.sence icon on flash, two static cat eye on pannier, pass pixie icon on pannier, good conditions and this individual still made contact.
https://youtu.be/UtM71BQDyng

Took full responsibility for myself and polis took no action beyond a chat advising the motorist to be more careful. 

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wtjs replied to giff77 | 1 year ago
2 likes

polis took no action beyond a chat advising the motorist to be more careful

Very alarming- but sadly unsurprising that the police took as little action as possible while pretending to take action. They have a whole hierarchy of non-penalty penalties, including the one I only heard about (it was on here) a couple of months ago: community resolution. There will be no record of this 'chat' which will come to light if the driver does the same thing again- and if he KSIs a cyclist (not unlikely with disdain for cyclists like this) the police can trot out the 'no offences recorded' in court so the driver can get away with it

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marmotte27 replied to Holts | 1 year ago
3 likes

Holts Maul!

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Benthic replied to Holts | 1 year ago
1 like
Holts wrote:

Try reading , it was because of near misses , I came across another idiot riding with no reflectives and a piddling light of little use in dense fog and no doubt he would have been surprised if he got knocked off , of course because he was Saint Cyclist it would have been all the motorists fault .

Try logic.

How would they know that there was a near miss?

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