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“I wholeheartedly disagree with his approach” – YouTube driving instructor Ashley Neal on CyclingMikey

Driving school owner visits Gandalf Corner but says many road rage incidents captured by Mike van Erp are of his own making

Footballer-turned driving instructor Ashley Neal says that he “wholeheartedly” disagrees with the approach taken by fellow YouTuber CyclingMikey in trying to make roads safer, saying that by confronting law-breaking drivers he actually creates many road rage incidents.

Neal, who runs a driving school in Liverpool, visited London’s Regents Park and the junction nicknamed Gandalf Corner where, for several years now, Mike van Erp – Cycling Mikey – has regularly positioned himself, filming law-breaking drivers often on their mobile phone, or going the wrong side of a keep left sign to try and avoid queueing traffic.

In an eight-minute YouTube video, Neal explains how Gandalf Corner, which he describes as an “unremarkable” junction got its nickname, highlights some examples of law-breaking drivers there – including by using footage from CyclingMikey’s own YouTube channel.

“He’s caught many people over the years,” Neal explains. “Most are reported to the police. Some receive fines and points on the licence, others just have driver improvement courses, and there’s a few who don’t get any punishment whatsoever.”

Certainly, Neal has no truck with drivers who break the law – he points out that “impatience is normally the reason many road users take this short cut, however, this puts others at risk,” and that “pedestrians are only going to be expecting vehicles to be coming from their right as they cross this section of road, they wouldn’t expect vehicles to be coming from the opposite side of the road.”

He also highlights that van Erp “also catches a lot of people on their mobile phone, usually when they’re just queueing in traffic,” although he quickly qualifies that by adding, “that doesn’t mean that using your mobile phone while queueing in traffic is allowed,” mentioning the stricter laws that came into force earlier this year.

What Neal does appear to have an issue with, however, is van Erp – and other cyclists who use cameras – submitting that footage to the police for potential action to be taken against the motorists concerned, even though that is something that police forces across the country actively encourage.

“Mikey also takes great pride in showcasing all the fines that people have got and the points they got on the licence,” he says. “This isn't something that I would do. Most of you understand my educational stance on things. I've never reported anyone for anything.

“That doesn't mean reporting is a bad thing. It just depends on your own single circumstances. And for me, I run a driving school in Liverpool. I'm responsible for many instructors and all their students. If I was reporting every single thing that I saw, the negativity towards those instructors and students would definitely have a negative effect on road safety.

“The next thing is that if I reported every single offence that I saw I’d have no time to do anything else,” he adds.

Both have huge reach through their social media channels. Neal’s YouTube channel has 106,000 subscribers, compared to just over 80,000 on CyclingMikey’s channel – and views of individual videos posted by van Erp often run into several millions, while the driving instructor’s most popular upload is currently 3,000 short of seven figures.

Neal does use his YouTube presence to educate motorists over how to drive safely, as well as highlighting examples of poor driving (including, ironically, his own, as highlighted in the link below) – but in this case, he also points out that some cyclists break the law, too.

> Footballer-turned-driving instructor Ashley Neal divides opinion with use of horn in overtaking video

“What Mikey has done is actually rallied many cyclists to take a similar reporting approach,” he says. “This may have a positive impact nationally on stopping people using their mobile phones, but honestly, I think it's created a different problem. I've actually asked Mikey about this on his videos before but he didn't respond.

“Quite often you can see on the footage while he’s challenging the motorist for contravening the keep left bollard, cyclists doing exactly the same.

“Now, I understand that anyone driving a tonne’s worth of metal is going to do a hell of a lot more damage than anyone riding a bike, but with the speeds involved at this junction and at this crossing area, honestly, it becomes a lot less relevant.

“Some motorists think because of the lack of requirement for number plates and licences to ride a bicycle, cyclists are getting away with things that motorists don't.

“I understand that this is a false equivalence and the updates to the Highway Code back this up. But this way of looking out for your own is wrong, you're either pro road safety or not, This disparity between different types of road users just causes resentment and divide.

“We've now got legions of cyclists, all around the country, trying to capture that moment and shouting ‘you're on camera, you know’.

“If you catch someone committing an offence, just report it if you wish to. Plainly and simply we need to be building bridges, not creating divide. All roads need to be shared safely and sensibly.”

“If you haven’t seen Mikey’s videos, please check them out. And also, I'd like you to tell me whether you find them entertaining, whether they help with. road safety or whether they hinder,” Neal continues.

“In my personal opinion, I wholeheartedly disagree with his approach, he effectively camps out here and creates many of these road rage incidents, all of his own accord.

“He could just record the offenders and then report them to the police anyway, without standing in and blocking the road. I've actually seen on a number of his uploads different types of road users taking to the pavement because of his actions,” he adds.

What Neal does not mention, but van Erp has in numerous media appearances, including on the road.cc Podcast, is one of the principal reasons why he is so passionate about making the roads safer and bringing law-breaking motorists to justice  – his father was killed by a drink driver while van Erp was still a teenager.

> Tired of road crime”: CyclingMikey on episode 16 of the road.cc Podcast

A number of van Erp’s followers on Twitter expressed support for him, with @velobetty for example saying that while she usually respects Neal’s opinions, “I think he's pretty wrong on this one.”

Van Erp himself – currently enjoying a cycling holiday on the Continent – is aware of the video, but says he won’t be watching it.

Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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188 comments

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ste.gt13 replied to Richard D | 1 year ago
1 like

That's a pretty poor and ignorant comparison. 

You're totally missing the point. 

Cycling Mikey goes to this spot purposely to start a row. He literally pulls up on his bike and waits for motorists to come along to skip the traffic. So he can record them for his channel and fight them until they go back in the queue. 

How the hell does to relate to victim blaming? He's not a victim, he's a wannabe vigilante. 

Again, why so much anger and abuse? 

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brooksby replied to ste.gt13 | 1 year ago
3 likes

He's only a vigilante if he wears a cape and is stringing them up or carving a bat symbol in their faces or something.

Going to somewhere renowned for a specific law breaking activity, recording said activitity, and handing it over to the police, is no different than if the police themselves were setting up a mobile camera there, surely?

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ste.gt13 replied to brooksby | 1 year ago
0 likes

Google the meaning of vigilante. 

Difference is, drivers will behave with a police officer over a vigilante with a camera phone as they can book them there and then.

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Rendel Harris replied to ste.gt13 | 1 year ago
3 likes
ste.gt13 wrote:

Google the meaning of vigilante. 
 

A vigilante is someone who takes the law into their own hands and metes out punishment for it, usually in the form of violence. Someone correctly reporting a crime or misdemeanour to the proper authorities to be dealt with is not a vigilante. Is your Google broken?

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ste.gt13 replied to Rendel Harris | 1 year ago
1 like

Seems to me he is dictating drivers to follow the law, to me that falls under that particular definition. 

If he was just recording and reporting, I wouldn't say he was a vigilante. 

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chrisonabike replied to ste.gt13 | 1 year ago
1 like

So it's all a lot of argument about your "as the person in the street understands it" meanings of words then?  I've even managed to find a reading that backs you up.  Get'chor definitions below!

From here - I'm guessing you want the first meaning (an antisocial vigilante?): Vigilante: a person who tries in an unofficial way to prevent crime, or to catch and punish someone who has committed a crime, especially because they do not think that official organizations, such as the police, are controlling crime effectively. Vigilantes usually join together to form groups.

Are you saying it's entrapment?  One set of definitions doesn't agree but I'm sure someone somewhere does.

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AlsoSomniloquism replied to ste.gt13 | 1 year ago
2 likes
Quote:

vigilante
/ˌvɪdʒɪˈlanti/
Learn to pronounce
noun

a member of a self-appointed group of citizens who undertake law enforcement in their community without legal authority, typically because the legal agencies are thought to be inadequate.

Also, look at the way drivers have treated fully marked up Police officer cycling on the roads including the recent comments to the PO cyclist in the Vine video over the weekend. 
 

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AlsoSomniloquism replied to brooksby | 1 year ago
3 likes

For the corner, he is actually giving people the option to get back in line and drive properly. The only ones he reports are the ones who decide that the car can push a pedestrian out of the way or continue on and break the law. 

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andystow replied to ste.gt13 | 1 year ago
2 likes
ste.gt13 wrote:

That's a pretty poor and ignorant comparison. 

You're totally missing the point. 

Cycling Mikey goes to this spot purposely to start a row. He literally pulls up on his bike and waits for motorists to come along to skip the traffic. So he can record them for his channel and fight them until they go back in the queue. 

How the hell does to relate to victim blaming? He's not a victim, he's a wannabe vigilante. 

Again, why so much anger and abuse? 

I would totally support a skilled female MMA fighter dressing in a short skirt and pretending to be tipsy around nightclubs, then filming her interactions with would-be rapists. I certainly wouldn't blame her for the actions of her assailants victims involuntary sparring partners.

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chrisonabike replied to andystow | 1 year ago
3 likes

I think where this new poster is going wrong is that they think it's entrapment.  In your example you could argue (I wouldn't) that the woman being there was provoking crime where none would otherwise be.  In the case of Gandalf corner however - or Chris Eubank / others on phones - the actual offense has already occured before someone appears.  So the only possible point ste.gt13 could have - and they seem to be saying this - is that pointing this out to the driver or asking them to stop breaking the law is wrong.  Why?  Because apparently that is such provocation that it creates rage.  That either: a) makes anything the angry person does next justifiable / partly the fault of the person pointing this out. b) OR that it then "incites them" / primes them to commit offenses elsewhere.  Again that somehow being the fault of the person pointing this out. (Not quite sure which of those or if both).

I don't quite get it but maybe it's just a new take on "Better to be safe than right"?

Another bit I don't understand is the connection to posting things online.  ste.gt13 has said the filming part is OK - but only as long as you don't ever mention this to people who aren't the police as that's just "seeking attention".

Anywya presumably they're OK with you stopping someone stealing your bike (proportional use of force / whatever) but not OK with you shouting "stop thief" when you see someone else stealing a bike.  And presumably if you get assaulted or someone else does because the thief is angry that's something on you. OR maybe you can do that, but just don't mention it later on the internets m'kay, superman?

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ste.gt13 replied to hawkinspeter | 1 year ago
1 like

Thanks for not reading the rest of my 'tripe' and proving my point. Ashley is pointing out it's better not to fight fire with fire and not to encourage road rage.

When I say I hate cyclists, read the abuse in these comments and tell me the community comes off likable and friendly. Sorry if that offended you to call me an idiot.

Ashley has good discussions, not a debate or 'I'm right and you're wrong' fight, he has a genuine discussion about road safety. He was open to discuss with Cycling Mikey but he just hid and put an ignorant comment on twitter. People here seem to get angry and just wave the word 'idiot' and 'he doesn't know what he's talking about' comments around. I think it's healthy to be open to different viewpoints. If Cycling Mikey was willing to discuss with Ashley, this could have been a positive story that would have benefited them and the community but... nope, Mikey and everyone else here are all sticking with the 'us vrs them' mindset, I'm right and you're wrong etc. It's a shame really. 

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hawkinspeter replied to ste.gt13 | 1 year ago
3 likes
ste.gt13 wrote:

Thanks for not reading the rest of my 'tripe' and proving my point. Ashley is pointing out it's better not to fight fire with fire and not to encourage road rage.

When I say I hate cyclists, read the abuse in these comments and tell me the community comes off likable and friendly. Sorry if that offended you to call me an idiot.

Ashley has good discussions, not a debate or 'I'm right and you're wrong' fight, he has a genuine discussion about road safety. He was open to discuss with Cycling Mikey but he just hid and put an ignorant comment on twitter. People here seem to get angry and just wave the word 'idiot' and 'he doesn't know what he's talking about' comments around. I think it's healthy to be open to different viewpoints. If Cycling Mikey was willing to discuss with Ashley, this could have been a positive story that would have benefitted them and the community but... nope, Mikey and everyone else here are all sticking with the 'us vrs them' mindset, I'm right and you're wrong etc. It's a shame really. 

Firstly, you're opening sentence is specifically about how you hate a whole class of people and then you expect to have a rational debate with those same people?

From what little I've heard of Ashley, he seems to be highly biased towards car culture and less interested in road safety - he seems to be factually wrong about many aspects. I'm not quite sure what kind of sensible debate can be had when one side is ignoring reason and the law and instead just making emotional appeals to "not antagonise" the law breakers. Road safety would absolutely be improved if more people were prepared to call out selfish, dangerous behaviour such as using phones in cars etc.

You seem to be appealing to the "us-vs-them" platitudes, but you're forgetting that most cyclists are also motorists (not me, though). The real dichotomy is between people that recognise that there are multiple valid forms of transport and the minority of drivers that are willing to endanger others for their own convenience.

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ste.gt13 replied to hawkinspeter | 1 year ago
1 like

I'm sorry but when I read these comments, I was like, god I can see why drivers spew at us if these people are yelling in their windows with cameras.  

You have a very negative viewpoint  but when you call me an idiot and then open with hearsay on Ashley, I was surprised. Always enter the room with an openmind, look at the facts. Watch his videos, he replies to his comments. 
If Ashley Neal was factually incorrect, there would be streams of correction videos. In your opinion, he may be wrong about this but I think he's fairly logical. He has the knowlege of the law, the highway code and everyday experience to back it up. It's literally his job. He has pretty good credibility over you or most when discussing road safty. As a cyclist, I see his point. I personally avoid conflict and just let the police do their work. 

'Road safety would absolutely be improved if more people were prepared to call out selfish, dangerous behaviour such as using phones in cars etc.'

I just see more road rage incidents coming out of this. Literally there is throusands of viral videos of people confronting each other where there has been injury and death. I'm sure the police wouldn't encourage it either. Record and report fine but I wouldn't recommend pushing people into anger. You never know who you're dealing with. 

You seem to be appealing to the "us-vs-them" platitudes, but you're forgetting that most cyclists are also motorists (not me, though). The real dichotomy is between people that recognise that there are multiple valid forms of transport and the minority of drivers that are willing to endanger others for their own convenience.

It's on both sides. But I'm saying we should close the gap. Ashley actually has videos encouraging drivers to respect cyclists. Here it's attack attack attack.
I personally grew up farming, drove a HGV for a couple years and I worked in the cycling industry for 7 years as technical specialist.

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hawkinspeter replied to ste.gt13 | 1 year ago
6 likes
ste.gt13 wrote:

I'm sorry but when I read these comments, I was like, god I can see why drivers spew at us if these people are yelling in their windows with cameras.  

You have a very negative viewpoint  but when you call me an idiot and then open with hearsay on Ashley, I was surprised. Always enter the room with an openmind, look at the facts. Watch his videos, he replies to his comments. 
If Ashley Neal was factually incorrect, there would be streams of correction videos. In your opinion, he may be wrong about this but I think he's fairly logical. He has the knowlege of the law, the highway code and everyday experience to back it up. It's literally his job. He has pretty good credibility over you or most when discussing road safty. As a cyclist, I see his point. I personally avoid conflict and just let the police do their work. 

'Road safety would absolutely be improved if more people were prepared to call out selfish, dangerous behaviour such as using phones in cars etc.'

I just see more road rage incidents coming out of this. Literally there is throusands of viral videos of people confronting each other where there has been injury and death. I'm sure the police wouldn't encourage it either. Record and report fine but I wouldn't recommend pushing people into anger. You never know who you're dealing with. 

You seem to be appealing to the "us-vs-them" platitudes, but you're forgetting that most cyclists are also motorists (not me, though). The real dichotomy is between people that recognise that there are multiple valid forms of transport and the minority of drivers that are willing to endanger others for their own convenience.

It's on both sides. But I'm saying we should close the gap. Ashley actually has videos encouraging drivers to respect cyclists. Here it's attack attack attack.
I personally grew up farming, drove a HGV for a couple years and I worked in the cycling industry for 7 years as techical specialist.

You seem to be very much taken with choosing a side in the "us-vs-them" so-called debate. Why do you think that a cyclist that gets angry after having been put at risk by poor driving is somehow worse than a driver getting angry when caught out doing something wrong? If a driver doesn't want to have an angry cyclist confronting them, then they just have to drive with care and consideration and if they do make a mistake (which everyone does), then they can surely apologise and defuse the situation that they caused. Meanwhile, a cyclist can be riding absolutely perfectly and considerately and get some random motorist endangering them for no reason. Do you see how those two things are not equivalent?

I disagree that "correction videos" are the typical response to incorrect videos - that's fundamentally not how YouTube works (especially now that the dislike button has gone). See eburtthebike's post earlier about a specific instance where Ashley is flat out wrong as I have no desire to watch Ashley's videos (I'm unlikely to watch videos by CyclingMikey either apart from the odd clip that is shown on this site). I'm not convinced that Ashley is employed to work on road safety - who exactly pays him for this?

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ste.gt13 replied to hawkinspeter | 1 year ago
0 likes

Nope. Literally surrounded by cyclists daily. I don't have issue with cyclists getting angry when they have an incident. 
I think cyclists who deliberately go out, hide in a bush and go looking for an argument are a problem and it can endanger themselves and people around them if it goes the wrong way. We have the spandex but we're not super heros. 

Ashley is an driving instructor who runs own business. Research him just like I researched Cycling Mikey. 

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chrisonabike replied to ste.gt13 | 1 year ago
6 likes

Ah - it's finally dawned on me.  Thank you for your persistance.  Luckily someone else has your answer and you appear to already agree with it partly:

https://cyclingfallacies.com/en/55/collective-responsibility-collective-guilt

"I don't hate all cyclists"... so there is no "us" then.

You seem concerned that no-one is reading your words or "doing the research".  But are you sure you're not projecting?

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ste.gt13 replied to chrisonabike | 1 year ago
0 likes

Nope, that article is not what I'm saying at all. I give up. 

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Rendel Harris replied to ste.gt13 | 1 year ago
6 likes
ste.gt13 wrote:

Nope, that article is not what I'm saying at all. I give up. 

Please do.

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Rendel Harris replied to ste.gt13 | 1 year ago
5 likes
ste.gt13 wrote:

I think cyclists who deliberately go out, hide in a bush and go looking for an argument are a problem and it can endanger themselves and people around them if it goes the wrong way. We have the spandex but we're not super heros. 

Ashley is an driving instructor who runs own business. Research him just like I researched Cycling Mikey. 

If you had actually researched Mikey's activities properly, you would know that none of his activities around Gandalf Corner are performed on a bicycle. Seems your research capacities are somewhere on a par with your spelling and grammar.

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ste.gt13 replied to Rendel Harris | 1 year ago
0 likes

He's not on his bike but his bike is to one side in his videos but I have no idea why it matters if he was on his bike or not but there you go. (You can see his bike when he stopped a Volvo SUV). I'm a bike geek, my eyes clocked his bike a couple of times. My point stilll stands about going out deliberately to cause road rage, not safe and not a good look for the rest of us. He could of just filmed them and reported them without the argument. 

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Rendel Harris replied to ste.gt13 | 1 year ago
5 likes
ste.gt13 wrote:

He's not on his bike but his bike is to one side in his videos but I have no idea why it matters if he was on his bike or not but there you go. 

If you have no idea why it matters, why did you make a point of castigating "cyclists who go out and hide behind a bush" (which he doesn't, by the way, another triumph for your research).

Don't bother answering though, you're such a blatant troll, turns up, "I'm a cyclist myself but I hate cyclists", argues ad nauseam with everybody. Jog on.

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ste.gt13 replied to Rendel Harris | 1 year ago
0 likes

Why so angry? I watched quite a lot of his videos, he literally hides behind a bush on a corner. 

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eburtthebike replied to ste.gt13 | 1 year ago
2 likes

Yep, that comment is just so dogmatically digging in to all the points made by AN, it is clear that you are he.

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ste.gt13 replied to eburtthebike | 1 year ago
0 likes

Didn't expect a comment like that! lol 
No, I'm not him.😂

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Hirsute replied to eburtthebike | 1 year ago
3 likes

In that case, he's come back under a new username.

Hard to believe that a supposedly road safety person would make videos whilst driving with the inherent increased risk.

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eburtthebike replied to ste.gt13 | 1 year ago
5 likes

Given the complete failure of logic, comprehension and sense in your post, identical to the approach taken in AN's video, I'm pretty confident you're him.

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ste.gt13 replied to eburtthebike | 1 year ago
0 likes

Why don't you email Road.cc to check me out. Honestly, dumbest comment I've read. 

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Hirsute replied to ste.gt13 | 1 year ago
9 likes

You repeatedly come across drivers who have had an argument with and then classify their reactions for the subsequent arguments you have.

Do you also hate yourself ?

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ste.gt13 replied to Hirsute | 1 year ago
0 likes

Thanks, nice comment. Appreciate it. 
@road.cc, bullying normally a thing here? 

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hawkinspeter replied to ste.gt13 | 1 year ago
6 likes
ste.gt13 wrote:

Thanks, nice comment. Appreciate it. 
@road.cc, bullying normally a thing here? 

You deliberately started your first ever post here by insulting a whole community, so what do you really expect?

Also, I thought you wanted to welcome different viewpoints, but now you're playing the "bullying" card?

It would seem that your only purpose here is to be a troll and waste our time with your nonsensical ramblings.

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