Support road.cc

Like this site? Help us to make it better.

Cyclist shares shocking footage of driver ramming him off bike after close pass complaint, slams suspended sentence "an absolute waste of time"

"Attacks on cyclists are becoming much more common... I believe it's time to give cyclists more protection under the law"...

A cyclist, injured after being deliberately rammed off his bike by a driver who had moments earlier close passed him, has shared the footage of the incident with road.cc and warned that the roads have become "very unsafe" and "attacks are becoming much more common", suggesting that cyclists need "more protection under the law."

On Monday, we reported the news that the driver involved, Sarah Torgerson, had received a two-year suspended sentence for the incident which was described as "like a hate attack" by the cyclist, John Crothers, the recorder telling the court she had "effectively ruined" his life after ramming him off his bike when he objected to a close pass.

Suffering whiplash and severe bruising, John's £8,000 bike was written off in the incident, and he was left thinking he had broken his back after landing violently on the kerb. Having recovered physically, he then had to overcome the psychological impact and reported suffering anxiety and nearly having a panic attack when trying to cycle again. 

"I'm back on the bike now although I commute a lot less," he told road.cc. "I'm still a lot more stressed on the bike... it is my belief that Leicester roads are very unsafe and attacks on cyclists are becoming much more common. I believe it's time to give cyclists more protection under the law."

John was also critical of the sentence the driver received, two years in prison suspended for two years, along with a two-year driving ban and requirement to work with probation services for 30 days.

 "I think a suspended sentence in this case is an absolute waste of time," he said. "Also given it runs out at the same time as her ban... this is clearly someone who uses their car as a weapon. I would have preferred a longer disqualification especially as this is her second conviction for dangerous driving.

Leicester incident injuries (road.cc reader)

"Also 30 hours of probation/counselling... the £180 pound fine... she would have got a larger fine for the initial close pass. There's been a lot made of the slap on the mirror, this didn't do any damage, the damage was done when she drove her car into me."

The sentence came despite recorder Justin Wigoder telling Leicester Crown Court it was a "very serious offence" which would carry the "right sentence [... of] three to four years in prison" as "cyclists are vulnerable and it's the court's first duty to protect them".

Leicester incident injuries (road.cc reader)

However, citing mitigating factors including Torgerson's mental health history, the fact she has two young children, and a doctor's opinion that she suffers with post-traumatic stress disorder that might cause "outbursts", Mr Wigoder concluded she would not be sent "straight to prison".

The footage of the incident, which happened on 2 February 2022, shows John cycling south on Loughborough Road in Birstall when he is overtaken by two vehicles, the second being driven by 40-year-old Torgerson, who close passed him approaching a road narrowing.

Leicester incident screenshots (road.cc reader)
Leicester incident screenshots (road.cc reader)

Moments later, as the traffic slowed, he caught up with the driver and objected to the close overtake, telling her that he had a camera running and had filmed the incident.

In response, the driver stuck a finger up at him and both parties continued on their way. Then, the driver forced her Ford Focus past, again very close to the cyclist who "reached out and banged down on her wing mirror".

Leicester incident screenshots (road.cc reader)

Torgerson then deliberately drove into John, launching him into the air and causing a heavy impact to his spine as he landed on the kerb and hit his head on the road. The driver, who it is reported has a previous conviction for dangerous driving from 2007, admitted ramming the cyclist when she phoned Leicestershire Police from the scene.

Leicester incident screenshots (road.cc reader)
Leicester incident screenshots (road.cc reader)

John suffered whiplash and bruising, his bike written off and a watch worth more than £700 smashed. He also reported having to cancel a cycling trip to Mallorca.

"This incident felt like a hate attack on me," he said. "I feel hate towards cyclists is getting worse. We are people too.

"Since this incident, when I last went out on my bike I almost had a panic attack. I'm even a lot more nervous in a car, even when my wife's driving me. I'm not normally a nervous person. It's the fact she deliberately drove into me."

Dan is the road.cc news editor and has spent the past four years writing stories and features, as well as (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. Having previously written about nearly every other sport under the sun for the Express, and the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for the Non-League Paper, Dan joined road.cc in 2020. Come the weekend you'll find him labouring up a hill, probably with a mouth full of jelly babies, or making a bonk-induced trip to a south of England petrol station... in search of more jelly babies.

Add new comment

61 comments

Avatar
Verycroix | 8 months ago
2 likes

Can anybody tell me how many drivers were charged with close passing by Police Scotland?

Avatar
dubwise replied to Verycroix | 8 months ago
8 likes

No, but guessing it would be close to zero.

Avatar
bikes replied to Verycroix | 8 months ago
0 likes

Surely zero. Last time I checked, as there is no portal to upload footage they want you to phone 101 and then an officer may visit your house to view the footage! Then there's the problem of how they get the footage even if they happen to visit your house at a time when you're at home.

PS I'm not making this up, it's from the cyclinguk website.

Avatar
rideANDdie | 8 months ago
25 likes

Imagine when he pulls up after the close pass, he pulls out a firearm and just fires into the car, not caring if he kills the driver or any passenger and the calls the police and admits it. In any universe would he get a suspended sentence? Would anyone consider that behaviour just "bad cycling". Would anyone say that it was the drivers fault in any way? ... I bet not, so why are people here and elsewhere saying he should have protected himself, is Wayne Cousins somehow less guilty because he targeted a woman alone at night who "could have" done more to protect herself? This is assault with a weapon intended to harm someone who was neither a threat nor a doing anything criminal. Unless his behaviour was threat, then she had no right to harm him. She did so not because she considered him a threat but the exact opposite, she was the threat and he wasn't on he knees begging for his life, so she tried to seriously harm him because he had the audacity to point out that she was the one acting threateningly towards him. He wasnt scared enough, he didn't think he would or should be seriously hurt for riding his bike, that was his crime, thinking his safety actually mattered.

Avatar
marmotte27 replied to rideANDdie | 8 months ago
9 likes

It's called victim blaming and is a result of discriminatory in- and outgroup thinking.

Avatar
lesterama replied to rideANDdie | 8 months ago
8 likes

Also, ,the 'moment of madness' defence only appears to apply to people driving:

BBC News - Boy admits manslaughter of man he tripped up in Hanwell
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-67298418

Avatar
bikes | 8 months ago
6 likes

Could this now be pursued in civil court?

Avatar
VIPcyclist | 8 months ago
7 likes

Having been knocked off my bike, brake checked etc I have come to the conclusion that : you don't overtake the car that has just close passed you, you don't shout at them (a fear fuck is acceptable), you don't pass if they stop - keep your distance - and you don't try and take it up with them at the time.

Avatar
Non Tribal Peddler replied to VIPcyclist | 8 months ago
2 likes

Pragmatic reality.  Maybe the guy felt more empowered to tell her off and threaten her with the camera as she was female?  Idiotic to risk his life like that though - obviously a shite driver and a nutter.  Protect yourself. Always.

Avatar
Hirsute replied to Non Tribal Peddler | 8 months ago
1 like

The cyclists had pretty much commited to that without knowing anything about the driver.

Avatar
jamessansome replied to Non Tribal Peddler | 8 months ago
2 likes

I wouldn't have thought he knew if the driver was male/female prior to the first exchange. The close pass had happened and the cyclist based their reaction on that.

Avatar
John shortys replied to Non Tribal Peddler | 8 months ago
0 likes

That's a very odd comment probably says more about your own views. I didn't assume the sex of the driver and lacking the zen like calmness that some people posses. I was not empowered I was angry.

Avatar
neilmck replied to Non Tribal Peddler | 8 months ago
0 likes

I have found that if you are a bloke then a middle aged female driver is the most likely type of driver to be agressive against you. I have wondered if it is a life-time revenge thing, now finally they are in the big car and the man is vulnerable.

Avatar
Rendel Harris replied to VIPcyclist | 8 months ago
15 likes

VIPcyclist wrote:

Having been knocked off my bike, brake checked etc I have come to the conclusion that : you don't overtake the car that has just close passed you, you don't shout at them (a fear fuck is acceptable), you don't pass if they stop - keep your distance - and you don't try and take it up with them at the time.

Would you accept this in any other walk of life? Would you not challenge if someone deliberately knocked over your pint, clipped your kid's ear, defecated in your front garden (probably not all at the same time)? Nobody should feel obliged to challenge, and discretion is definitely the better part of valour, but we all know that when bullies and thugs aren't challenged they're just going to keep on bullying.

Avatar
Shades replied to VIPcyclist | 8 months ago
5 likes

I recently had a similar close pass on a pedestrian refuge pinch point; I protested as the driver squeezed me towards the curb and he was yelling at me behind a closed window.  I turned off the road immediately after that (car went straight on), following my route but was regularly checking behind me for the car.  Submitted my camera footage and had the standard 'fixed penalty, prosecution or letter issued to the driver' e mail from the police.  Unless there's a big gap I always take primary position at refuges.  If I've had an altercation with a driver then the very last place on earth I want to be is in front of them; they obviously think they're invincible behind the wheel.  A newspaper report on this said she'd had a previous conviction for dangerous driving; she had form!  

Avatar
Capt Sisko | 8 months ago
5 likes

Whilst I wholeheartedly agree with everyone else here in that the motorist should be behind bars and ought to be made to undetake physoligical examination before being allowed to be in charge of anything motor powerful than a toothbrush, I do wonder if the courts took the antagonising of the motorist into account when considering sentencing.

As the saying goes 'When you begin a journey of revenge, start by digging two graves: one for your enemy, and one for yourself.' In this case, part of that second grave is an excuse for the judge to hand out a more leanient sentence.

Avatar
Rendel Harris replied to Capt Sisko | 8 months ago
13 likes

Judges are obliged to explain all the factors that they regard as mitigating in sentencing, the fact that he didn't mention it makes it unlikely that it played a serious part in his decision-making process. Could have been subconsciously affected by it I suppose.

Avatar
polainm replied to Rendel Harris | 8 months ago
2 likes

Judges rarely are cyclists. However nearly all of them drive. 

Avatar
Muddy Ford | 8 months ago
16 likes

Need to post these on X and tag Matthew Briggs in every one where the driver gets away with murder or ABH using their car as a weapon. He needs some perspective, if he genuinely wants to make the roads safer. 

Avatar
Zjtm231 replied to Muddy Ford | 8 months ago
20 likes

Unfortunately he doesnt actually give a hoot about road saftey. Horrible person

Avatar
brooksby | 8 months ago
22 likes

Imagine phoning the police after something like that and explaining that yes, you did ram them on purpose, but they did after all touch your wing mirror... 

If her psychological issues are so bad that they were used in attempted mitigation, then she clearly should not be on the road again until they can be demonstrated as clearly having been "fixed".  Because as it is, she is clearly an ongoing threat to other road users.

Avatar
Safety replied to brooksby | 8 months ago
3 likes

brooksby | 1 hour ago
7 likes

Imagine phoning the police after something like that and explaining that yes, you did ram them on purpose, but they did after all touch your wing mirror..
Having just watched the TV drama long shadow about the Yorkshire ripper, Your statement makes me thing there just might be institution bias against cyclists just as there was back then against woman.

Avatar
jkirkcaldy | 8 months ago
21 likes

It baffles me how this doesnt count as attempted murder or agrivated assault at a minimum and how it doesnt result in an immediate driving ban. 

Avatar
OldRidgeback replied to jkirkcaldy | 8 months ago
8 likes

I'd have thought an assault charge appropriate.

Avatar
Brauchsel replied to jkirkcaldy | 8 months ago
4 likes

Indeed. Motoring offences should be limited to cases where the driving is an essential ingredient, e.g. dangerous driving, speeding, unsafe vehicles etc. Where we already have laws which cover deliberately or recklessly injuring or killing people, we should use them. 

I don't think an attempted murder charge would quite stick here, but (attempted) GBH might: deliberately ramming a cyclist with your car must show an intention to cause them really serious harm. 

Avatar
mitsky | 8 months ago
28 likes

Scenario 1: Someone uses a hammer, weighing a couple of kilos at most, to deliberately hurt someone.
Gets arrested and imprisoned for GBH/attempted murder.

Scenario 2) Driver uses vehicle, weighing more than 1000 kilos, as weapon to attack cyclist and driver admits it to the police.
Doesn't get arrested on the spot and simply recieves suspended sentence.

Hmm...

Avatar
Jogle replied to mitsky | 8 months ago
13 likes
mitsky wrote:

Scenario 1: Someone uses a hammer, weighing a couple of kilos at most, to deliberately hurt someone.
Gets arrested and imprisoned for GBH/attempted murder.

Yes, that's ridiculous, that's clearly a health and safety in the workplace issue!

That's what I struggle to understand. If you use a hammer or a knife to injure someone, it's not put down to that weapon's primary use, but if you use a motor vehicle, it's a driving offence.

Avatar
chrisonabike replied to Jogle | 8 months ago
9 likes

Ah, but everybody drives, all the time!

Carrying a hammer?  You've made a choice.

But "I have to drive..."

Avatar
Spammercial replied to mitsky | 8 months ago
1 like
mitsky wrote:

Scenario 1: Someone uses a hammer, weighing a couple of kilos at most, to deliberately hurt someone.
Gets arrested and imprisoned for GBH/attempted murder.

Scenario 2) Driver uses vehicle, weighing more than 1000 kilos, as weapon to attack cyclist and driver admits it to the police.
Doesn't get arrested on the spot and simply recieves suspended sentence.

Hmm...

Nice...I'll check if the guy I want to kill rides a bike...in case...I'll do it without any risk...thank you very much

Avatar
brooksby replied to Spammercial | 8 months ago
4 likes

Spammercial wrote:
mitsky wrote:

Scenario 1: Someone uses a hammer, weighing a couple of kilos at most, to deliberately hurt someone.
Gets arrested and imprisoned for GBH/attempted murder.

Scenario 2) Driver uses vehicle, weighing more than 1000 kilos, as weapon to attack cyclist and driver admits it to the police.
Doesn't get arrested on the spot and simply recieves suspended sentence.

Hmm...

Nice...I'll check if the guy I want to kill rides a bike...in case...I'll do it without any risk...thank you very much

You already have someone you want to kill?? 

Pages

Latest Comments