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Road rage driver who rammed cyclist off bike after pursuit avoids jail

Tanveer Ahmed followed the rider before deliberately knocking him off his bike after the cyclist damaged the driver's wing mirror...

A road rage driver who followed a cyclist before deliberately knocking the rider off their bike has avoided a jail sentence at Sheffield Crown Court.

Tanveer Ahmed was handed a 16-month sentence, suspended for two years, and ordered to pay £1,000 in compensation by Judge Richardson after pleading guilty to assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

The Sheffield Star reports Ahmed's behaviour was described as "deplorable" by the judge, who heard the motorist had reacted to the cyclist hitting his wing mirror by following the rider and "flinging him onto the tarmac".

However, the judge acknowledged there was an "element of provocation" due to a photograph showing damage to the wing mirror, and said he had "escaped prison by a very narrow margin".

> Driver “used car as a weapon” in road rage hit-and-run attack on cyclist

The cyclist was left with an injury to his right shin that needed four stitches, a back injury and grazes, following the incident on 8 August 2019.

His bike, worth £7,000, was damaged beyond repair, and the court heard it cost £10,839.80 to buy a replacement of the same specification.

Sheffield Crown Court heard how prior to the assault the cyclist and Ahmed crossed paths while driving along Sharrow Vale Road where the victim went around the driver as he "thought he had right of way".

"He [the cyclist] thought he had right of way and went around Mr Ahmed […] he then realised Mr Ahmed was driving right up behind him, driving six inches away from his back," prosecutor Tom Heath explained.

The 39-year-old motorist revved his engine at the cyclist before the rider then followed the driver as they travelled in the same direction along a one-way street.

> Bristol drivers are Britain's worst for road rage, according to new research

While stopped in traffic at the Hunter's Bar roundabout the cyclist saw Ahmed's vehicle and "tapped" his wing mirror, according to Mr Heath.

Ahmed claimed the cyclist had "smashed" his wing mirror, an allegation to which prosecuting barrister Mr Heath confirmed: "In fairness to the defendant, there is a photograph which shows damage to the wing mirror."

"The cyclist carried on and the lights changed and Mr Ahmed came past and was revving his engine again," Mr Heath continued, explaining how the cyclist had turned into Neill Road to escape the driver.

"He tried to get in between two parked cars, and as he did, he saw Ahmed drive into the back of his bike, flinging him on to the tarmac."

Ahmed fled the scene as members of the public stopped to help the injured cyclist, but was arrested two hours after the incident, and claimed in police interview that the rider had been the "aggressor".

In a statement read to the court, the cyclist said he no longer "takes the same level of enjoyment" in cycling, saying the back injury hinders his ability to ride a bike and play with his daughter.

Despite pleading guilty to assault occasioning actual bodily harm, probation officer Linda McCuish told the court that in Ahmed's pre-sentence report he stressed the cyclist "was cycling in the middle of the road".

"He said that at the time he was having some family concerns and said he was feeling shocked by what had happened during this altercation," Linda McCuish said.

Judge Richardson described Ahmed's actions as "disgraceful", "deplorable" and amounted to "road rage", before telling the defendant he had "escaped prison by a very narrow margin", but had he pleaded not guilty then he would have received jail time.

In addition to his suspended sentence and being ordered to pay £1,000 compensation, Ahmed was sentenced to 250 hours of unpaid work, a three-month curfew and 10 sessions of rehabilitation activity.

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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30 comments

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mdavidford | 2 years ago
1 like

Not particularly relevant to the story, but I particularly enjoyed this, erm... unorthodox piece of 'cycling infrastructure' at that roundabout.

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HoarseMann replied to mdavidford | 2 years ago
0 likes

It might be relevant. I wondered if it had all started if the cyclist had used the lane on the right to go around the car.

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Spangly Shiny | 2 years ago
0 likes

Some confusion here. If they were travelling along Sharrow Vale Road toward Hunter's Bar Roundabout they would have been going the wrong way along a one way street.

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Jacobi | 2 years ago
6 likes

Prosecuting barrister Mr Heath confirmed: "In fairness to the defendant, there is a photograph which shows damage to the wing mirror." A photograph of damage isn't proof the cyclist did it. The driver could have done that himself. Prosecuting barrister, Mr Heath, needs to have a word with himself.

Linda McCuish told the court that in Ahmed's pre-sentence report he stressed the cyclist "was cycling in the middle of the road" That's not an excuse to assault somneone with a motor vehicle. Any judge who accepts that as a plea in mitigation is telling motorists it's OK to assault cyclists if you're unhappy with where on the road they cycle.

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Rendel Harris replied to Jacobi | 2 years ago
4 likes

That's just what I thought, and even if it was genuine evidence (which it sounds as if it's not, in my experience with wing mirrors they can take a heck of a pounding, it's more likely that the cyclist's hand would be smashed than the mirror) how is it the job of the prosecuting barrister to draw attention to supposed mitigation?

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jh2727 replied to Jacobi | 2 years ago
1 like
Jacobi wrote:

Prosecuting barrister Mr Heath confirmed: "In fairness to the defendant, there is a photograph which shows damage to the wing mirror." A photograph of damage isn't proof the cyclist did it. The driver could have done that himself. Prosecuting barrister, Mr Heath, needs to have a word with himself.

The driver could have done the damage... More to the point, cars are inanimate and as such incapable of healing themselves. The damage could have been done at any time by any anyone.

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janusz0 | 2 years ago
5 likes

> "thought he had right of way"

I'm a bit peeved that that phrase wasn't struck out. Of course both the driver and the cyclist had* right of way - they were on a road weren't they?  What the cyclist presumably had was "priority".

Anyway the important point is that this judgement seems more sensible than many we've read about recently.

Stricltly speaking: s/had/were on a/

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Donaldp | 2 years ago
4 likes

You would hope that the victim has already been able to recover the full replacement cost of his bike father this assault.

 

The criminal guilty plea must make it a slam dunk if it were taken to civil court.

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eburtthebike | 2 years ago
9 likes

"Judge Richardson described Ahmed's actions as "disgraceful", "deplorable" and amounted to "road rage", before telling the defendant he had "escaped prison by a very narrow margin", but had he pleaded not guilty then he would have received jail time."

Or if the victim had been anybody except a cyclist.

"In fairness to the defendant, there is a photograph which shows damage to the wing mirror."

But that could have been taken at any time, so is far from conclusive proof that the cyclist smashed it, and the driver could have done it himself later to justify his actions.

Same old story; attack someone with anything other than a car and you're jailed; use a car and you aren't.

 

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bloodylazylayabout replied to eburtthebike | 2 years ago
4 likes
eburtthebike wrote:

"Judge Richardson described Ahmed's actions as "disgraceful", "deplorable" and amounted to "road rage", before telling the defendant he had "escaped prison by a very narrow margin", but had he pleaded not guilty then he would have received jail time."

Or if the victim had been anybody except a cyclist.

"In fairness to the defendant, there is a photograph which shows damage to the wing mirror."

But that could have been taken at any time, so is far from conclusive proof that the cyclist smashed it, and the driver could have done it himself later to justify his actions.

Same old story; attack someone with anything other than a car and you're jailed; use a car and you aren't.

 

Not only that, but the driver was also the initial aggressor tailgating, so his mitigation is pretty weak

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Carior | 2 years ago
13 likes

Ah - the UK justice system - commit actual bodily harm (I would argue you could go for GBH seeing as the back injury is still a problem and the skin was broken which is typically wounded which counts as GBH) - do it using a deadly 1.5 tonne instrument capable of causing untold damage.  Then leg it... and guess what, you don't even end up in prison... 

It amazes me that anyone gets put away for crimes in this country - just do it in a car and you'll avoid the clink, even if you do try and run someone over (but definitely don't run someone over on a bicycle).

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Richard D replied to Carior | 2 years ago
5 likes

Absolutely.  Leg it down the road armed with a baseball bat after someone who you think has committed some slight against you, and hit them with it, you're doing some proper jail time.

Do the same thing in a car and get ordered to pay compensation amounting to less than 10% of the damage you have done, and with a minimal risk of jail time.

Once again, the lesson is that if you want to murder someone and pretty much get away with it, put your victim on a bike then run them over.  

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Grahamd | 2 years ago
5 likes

The link also states:

"250 hours of unpaid work; a three-month curfew; a 10-session rehabilitation activity requirement"

I get the impression the judge was throwing everything at him with the exception of an immediate person sentence.

 

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imajez replied to Grahamd | 2 years ago
5 likes

Still allowed to drive too it would seem. 

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Grahamd replied to imajez | 2 years ago
3 likes

Missed that one. Shame the judge seemed to as well.

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rct | 2 years ago
6 likes

Was he charged with any driving offences seperately?

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Safety | 2 years ago
13 likes

It's quite right that the insurer pays the correct level of compensation in this and other similar cases. But when the cause is a deliberate criminal act the insurer should be able to recover their costs from the criminal responsible. We don't have muggers taking out insurance to cover themselves in case of getting caught. Why should dangerous or drunk driving etc. be any different?
That would bring a more realistic level of punishment and deterrent.

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Captain Badger replied to Safety | 2 years ago
3 likes
Safety wrote:

It's quite right that the insurer pays the correct level of compensation in this and other similar cases. But when the cause is a deliberate criminal act the insurer should be able to recover their costs from the criminal responsible. We don't have muggers taking out insurance to cover themselves in case of getting caught. Why should dangerous or drunk driving etc. be any different? That would bring a more realistic level of punishment and deterrent.

Hmm. Financial punishments are not worth it I think, and of course it is dependent on the damage they cause - the policy you suggest would lead to a deal more punishment for the situation above than say for the same happening to me on my ancient £300 utility bike. In addition, financial punishments' severity is subjective to the criminal - community service, prison, probation etc is less iniquitous.

 

 

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imajez replied to Captain Badger | 2 years ago
0 likes

Pretty sure compensation in this case is not meant to be just the bike.

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Captain Badger replied to imajez | 2 years ago
0 likes
imajez wrote:

Pretty sure compensation in this case is not meant to be just the bike.

I was responding to Safety's suggestion that the insurance company could chase the convicted for costs of the bike. I don't see that as necessary or desirable.

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wycombewheeler replied to Captain Badger | 2 years ago
0 likes
Captain Badger wrote:
Safety wrote:

It's quite right that the insurer pays the correct level of compensation in this and other similar cases. But when the cause is a deliberate criminal act the insurer should be able to recover their costs from the criminal responsible. We don't have muggers taking out insurance to cover themselves in case of getting caught. Why should dangerous or drunk driving etc. be any different? That would bring a more realistic level of punishment and deterrent.

Hmm. Financial punishments are not worth it I think, and of course it is dependent on the damage they cause - the policy you suggest would lead to a deal more punishment for the situation above than say for the same happening to me on my ancient £300 utility bike. In addition, financial punishments' severity is subjective to the criminal - community service, prison, probation etc is less iniquitous.

It's not about punishment it's about the costs of criminal acts not being levied against the innocent.

Should the cyclist bear the cost of a replacement bike?

Should all insurance policy holders bear the cost?

Should the person deliberately destroying something, pay for the replacement cost?

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Argos74 replied to Safety | 2 years ago
4 likes

The insurer will have to meet their RTA liabilities, one would hope in full. The insurer may further argue that by deliberately causing the collision, the insured driver has "failed to take reasonable precautions to prevent a claim from happening, and to minimise the cost of the claim", and "claim back from you (the insured driver) costs that we have paid".

 

Hmm. Not sure if there's any precedent on this though. I couldn't find any.

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nosferatu1001 replied to Argos74 | 2 years ago
1 like

Drunk drivers aren't covered by their insurer - as in, their insurer will sue to recover - on the basis committing a criminal act invalidates their rwuirmernt to cover your losses. 

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wycombewheeler | 2 years ago
0 likes

how does £1000 in compensation cover the £7000 bike? never mind the injuries, or has there already been an insurance payout?

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hawkinspeter replied to wycombewheeler | 2 years ago
3 likes
wycombewheeler wrote:

how does £100 in compensation cover the £700 bike? never mind the injuries, or has there already been an insurance payout?

The article now says £1,000, but either way, a private claim for damages would be easy to pursue.

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wycombewheeler replied to hawkinspeter | 2 years ago
1 like

I missed a zero of both numbers

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IanMK replied to wycombewheeler | 2 years ago
4 likes

It doesn't suggest he was uninsured so he should be able to claim on the drivers insurance for the bike and any injury sustained.

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Richard D replied to IanMK | 2 years ago
2 likes

The problem with that is that everyone who pays for insurance is contributing a little bit to this knob's criminal actions.  Unless the insurance company seeks to recover their losses from the insured (and I don't believe that is at all common), the driver sees a hike in his premiums and loses his excess, but walks away several thousand pounds better off than he would have been if he'd had to pay for his actions himself  2

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newtonuk replied to wycombewheeler | 2 years ago
0 likes

That is court ordered compensation and has nothing to do with an insurance claim or settlement.

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bobinski replied to newtonuk | 2 years ago
0 likes
newtonuk wrote:

That is court ordered compensation and has nothing to do with an insurance claim or settlement.

 

This.

As someone who works in the criminal justice system i can say the pandemic has meant that those on the cusp of going into custody, or who wouuld go into custody normally, are more likelt to be given suspended sentences. Even for more serious offences than this. 

The reality is under charging to get a plea eg. ABH rather than GBH and then accepting a guilty plea on an uncontested basis and then, as i say, a non custodial sentence. Personally, and i am not saying this sentence is right though it is within the sentencing tange, suspended sentences with such conditions are probably more onerous than a spell in prison. 

 

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