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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 hawkinspeter | 1 year ago
0 likes

I apologise. I think my point is still valid, take a read please.
 

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

ste.gt13 wrote:

I apologise. I think my point is still valid, take a read please.

Okay.

I disagree that reporting/confronting poor and dangerous driving is encouraging road rage. It seems to me that drivers that respond with anger when caught out are behaving like spoilt toddlers and do not have the emotional maturity to be allowed to drive.

I can't think of any other activity where we (well not me) excuse violent behaviour and then try to persuade people to accept law breaking and to not confront the criminals (excepting possibly where they are carrying guns). In general, the police are thought of as an extension of the public (i.e. policing by consent) and it is the duty/right of every member of the public to confront law breaking even though that may put themselves at risk. It's a particularly bizarre argument that confronting a law breaking criminal puts everyone else at risk and I don't see any evidence to support that view.

I think Ashley Neal is being disingenuous with his attitude towards Mikey and personally, I think it's a method of getting exposure. I don't believe that Ashley has made any significant contribution to road safety, whilst Mikey most certainly has.

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

Your first sentence on this site is

"As a cyclist and reading these comments, I hate cyclists."

This gives rise to the question - "do you hate yourself?"

I don't see how you contrive this as bullying when it is a question about what you actually wrote.

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ste.gt13 replied to Hirsute | 1 year ago
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Sure why not

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chrisonabike replied to ste.gt13 | 1 year ago
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"Encourage road rage" - I know the point is "why publish" but I think you'll find the rage has already occurred - as it was being filmed.  I very much doubt that - aside from a few road.cc posters and Ashely Neal - the majority of drivers are viewing these videos anyway.

I struggle with the concept that bad drivers up and down the country are stoking their ire like beserkers on CyclingMikey then going out to wreak revenge.  And if they were doesn't that suggest they're people who are going to cause problems regardless?  Maybe that's what they're watching on their phones in traffic though - that would explain Chris Eubank.

In those videos what you were seeing was "Person breaks law(s) by acting in a manner which endangers others and when challenged about it or prevented from continuing to break the law becomes very angry".  So if that's what you mean by "encourages road rage" then you have a point.  But then I myself would also be guilty of "encouraging litter-dropping rage" and "encouraging thwarted-violence rage".

As someone who cycles sometimes I'm sad you've got to the "I hate myself and I want to drive" point.

P.S. Maybe you should also have a word with all the speed cameras which are likely inciting "speed rage" and also all those bollards (sometimes illuminated and retroreflective) encouraging "road infrastructure rage".  That's making the place less safe for us all.

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hawkinspeter replied to chrisonabike | 1 year ago
6 likes

chrisonatrike wrote:

"Encourage road rage" - I know the point is "why publish" but I think you'll find the rage has already occurred - as it was being filmed.  I very much doubt that - aside from a few road.cc posters and Ashely Neal - the majority of drivers are viewing these videos anyway.

I struggle with the concept that bad drivers up and down the country are stoking their ire like beserkers on CyclingMikey then going out to wreak revenge.  And if they were doesn't that suggest they're people who are going to cause problems regardless?  Maybe that's what they're watching on their phones in traffic though - that would explain Chris Eubank.

In those videos what you were seeing was "Person breaks law(s) by acting in a manner which endangers others and when challenged about it or prevented from continuing to break the law becomes very angry".  So if that's what you mean by "encourages road rage" then you have a point.  But then I myself would also be guilty of "encouraging litter-dropping rage" and "encouraging thwarted-violence rage".

As someone who cycles sometimes I'm sad you've got to the "I hate myself and I want to drive" point.

P.S. Maybe you should also have a word with all the speed cameras which are likely inciting "speed rage" and also all those bollards (sometimes illuminated and retroreflective) encouraging "road infrastructure rage".  That's making the place less safe for us all.

What really infuriates me are those concrete posts in front of shops to stop ram-raiders - they're just an incitement for ordinary people to crash into shops (see car-hits-building-thread for details).

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chrisonabike replied to hawkinspeter | 1 year ago
5 likes

I hate those abstract posts too.

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

chrisonatrike wrote:

 

In those videos what you were seeing was "Person breaks law(s) by acting in a manner which endangers others and when challenged about it or prevented from continuing to break the law becomes very angry".  So if that's what you mean by "encourages road rage" then you have a point.  But then I myself would also be guilty of "encouraging litter-dropping rage" and "encouraging thwarted-violence rage".

As someone who cycles sometimes I'm sad you've got to the "I hate myself and I want to drive" point.

P.S. Maybe you should also have a word with all the speed cameras which are likely inciting "speed rage" and also all those bollards (sometimes illuminated and retroreflective) encouraging "road infrastructure rage".  That's making the place less safe for us all.

I'm a cyclist, I've worked in the industry for 7 years.
I drive, I've driven farm machinery to HGV's. I look at everyone's viewpoints like Ashley. 
Encouraging road rage is not a good idea, that's Ashley's message. 
If you spark up a driver on the wrong day, you or others around you could be injured or dead if they snap. As Ashley put it, feel free to record and report, let the police do their job. You raging at them will probably make it worse or encourage the driver to rage at cyclists even more. 

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

But then Ashley states he doesn't report bad driving he sees because it might encourage road rage and abuse against learner drivers. First off, that ship has sailed (look at Rendalls video where even a driving instructor speeds past and bullies another learner). But now he and you are stating don't confront, just report, but then expect to be bullied because another cyclist might have reported that driver in the past but didn't confront. 

Surely if drivers think the learner car or the cyclist has camera which could record their wrongdoing, the message should get through that don;t do anything wrong around them. Of course I haven't covered all the dashcam footage that gets submitted as well.....

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

ste.gt13 wrote:

I'm a cyclist, I've worked in the industry for 7 years.
I drive, I've driven farm machinery to HGV's. I look at everyone's viewpoints like Ashley. 
Encouraging road rage is not a good idea, that's Ashley's message. 
If you spark up a driver on the wrong day, you or others around you could be injured or dead if they snap. As Ashley put it, feel free to record and report, let the police do their job. You raging at them will probably make it worse or encourage the driver to rage at cyclists even more. 

The part in bold is correct - but surely that should point out the problem here?  One of the things we need is to keep individuals who have such poor control that can snap and kill others from the machinery which makes this so easy.  (I'm mainly about removing the motor vehicles from being around people cycling and walking completely but let's have both).  Angry people could of course kill me with their bare hands.  That might take a bit longer however.  My aforementioned pal who dealt with "angry men" as part of the job (think they all were) said that the technique they taught was to try to slow down people's reaction - for most a few seconds is all it takes to get yourself back in control.

It seems the people (like today's video nasty) have longer than that.  So maybe they're in the "bad" category.  In which case even giving them a polite shake of the head might push them over the edge.

Last think is - I don't run a camera.  I don't often react to people.  I didn't in e.g. the case where people in a car threw some cans at me or where they suddenly overtook then swerved in at me while shouting stuff.  I couldn't react - because they initiated the "rage".  But maybe they saw into the future and read this very post I'm now typing?

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

I'll shake my head but I won't instigate a fight. I'll just aim to get away from the driver as soon as possible. I'll just send the footage to the police and let them deal with it after. In that clip, I would of held back, that driver was too aggressive to go along side. He had enough footage to report them. 

The problem I have is people who go out looking for a fight, makes it harder for the rest of us I personally think. 

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

There are clearly people who cannot control themselves.  If they're in a car that's a  huge force multiplier.

Thankfully I believe their numbers are small - compared to the total number of people in cars.

The point you seem to be making is because of the angry people, no-one (outside of another car?  Plenty of drivers run dashcams and upload the footage) should ever directly challenge a driver.  Because that might cause them to lose their shit and kill you then, or will make their barely controlled anger boil over at a later time.  And that's kind of your own fault.

So people should stop doing something legal (but only on bikes?) because the angry psychos.  Do I have you right?

Further, something about having the footage out there spreads division, two tribes, why can't we all get along... I'll skip that because it's late.

My point was that me just riding on the road, perfectly legally and reasonably (take it or not, I don't run a camera) has been enough to cause other people to "instigate a fight".  (Assault me - but the end is in sight so moving on). Which like yourself I didn't take up.  When I hadn't noticed them or couldn't even see them before that.

People here have posted accounts of drivers being triggered by them shaking their heads at them or something similar.

Given that a few people are clearly triggered by anything - including just seeing someone on a bike - I'd suggest that the problem is not someone telling drivers they're wrong.  When most drivers are not psychos - or are you saying they are?

Additionally - how do you propose removing these out-of-control (by your own description) psychos from the road?  Always up for learning something new.

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

I prefer to avoid conflict on the roads, I commute through a city with very little conflicts. I have had bad expierence with a few drivers over time and I have reported drivers. I personally wouldn't wind someone up in a big metal box that could take my life.
I understand you get angry, fair enough but people shouting is not a great way to educate them. Driving Awareness Courses, penalties and court is what I personally think will as it impacts their time and wallet. 
I just record and report when I feel it's neccessary. Driver gets a letter, I forget about it and move on with my life. 
I don't personally don't go a vigilante route as unfortuantely I have other stuff to do in life and I'm not qualified to take on criminals. 

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

ste.gt13 wrote:

I don't personally don't go a vigilante route as unfortuantely I have other stuff to do in life 

So much other stuff to do that you sign up to websites, go straight in telling everyone that you hate them, and wind up and insult people with a mountain of rambling semi-literate comments. Busy busy! 

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ste.gt13 replied to Rendel Harris | 1 year ago
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Apologies for the hating cyclist comment but when you see a tyraid of abuse towards a guy having a discussion, the comments on here don't particually come off friendly. Am I wrong? 

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

Your first sentence on here

"I don't hate all cyclists, just the angry depressing people commenting on here."

which you then said I really mean

"I don't hate all cyclists, just the angry depressing people commenting on here."

It very clear who has the issue here.

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ste.gt13 replied to Hirsute | 1 year ago
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I apologised but I guess it's not good enough, right? I'm not allowed criticise my own kind. 

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

Writing "I don't hate all cyclists, just the angry depressing people commenting on here." isn't criticism, it's just a wild accusation unrelated to the comments made by people you are replying to.

 

 

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

ste.gt13 wrote:

Apologies for the hating cyclist comment but when you see a tyraid of abuse towards a guy having a discussion, the comments on here don't particually come off friendly. Am I wrong? 

You've been calling people dumb, stupid, ignorant, negative, angry, depressing...and then you complain people aren't friendly to you. Go figure.

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

What can I do to make it right? 

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

Still 1 post, I notice...  Didn't come back to engage, after that little brainfart?

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

hi 👋

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

Quote:

Mikey intenially goes out looking for trouble to get views and make money from his channel.

It is amazing how many people think he is doing this for youtube money.
Nope, the only time he gets loads of views is when the Mail /telegraph / scum or other papers decide to do a stupid story about "being a vigilante". Yet you blame Mikey and not the coverage they give for him being the "instigator". People like Parris, Clarkson and Liddle were encouraging hate and attacks on cyclists well before Mikey came on the scene with their *checks notes* jokes about stringing up wire at head height. 

I suspect Mikey has made the roads safer with his work then Ashley ever has with his, especially if the latter has never reported any crime he has seen on them and directed to his students. 

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eburtthebike replied to AlsoSomniloquism | 1 year ago
3 likes

AlsoSomniloquism wrote:

Quote:

Mikey intenially goes out looking for trouble to get views and make money from his channel.

It is amazing how many people think he is doing this for youtube money.

Because in this ultra-right wing society, most people can't concieve of doing the right thing without being paid for it.  Just doing it because it's right went out with the Victorians.

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nosferatu1001 replied to AlsoSomniloquism | 1 year ago
3 likes

AlsoSomniloquism wrote:

Quote:

Mikey intenially goes out looking for trouble to get views and make money from his channel.

It is amazing how many people think he is doing this for youtube money.
Nope, the only time he gets loads of views is when the Mail /telegraph / scum or other papers decide to do a stupid story about "being a vigilante". Yet you blame Mikey and not the coverage they give for him being the "instigator". People like Parris, Clarkson and Liddle were encouraging hate and attacks on cyclists well before Mikey came on the scene with their *checks notes* jokes about stringing up wire at head height. 

I suspect Mikey has made the roads safer with his work then Ashley ever has with his, especially if the latter has never reported any crime he has seen on them and directed to his students. 

when his learner broke the law by going through a light in amber, at low speed with no one behind, he didn't seem too bothered by it, as it was the cyclists fault for distracting the learner by suddenly appearing.    The cyclist that could be clearly seen for hundreds of metres back.  

 

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Hirsute replied to nosferatu1001 | 1 year ago
2 likes

In another video he said there is a rsik from being rear ended if you stop, so better to keep going. Doesn't say much about driving standards if you don't think the learner in front will stop for amber.

Another one was driving on the pavement is ok if the obstruction is too near a junction. The idea that you could just get out of the car and push the obstructing car to a safer spot was a step too far.

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AlsoSomniloquism replied to Hirsute | 1 year ago
0 likes

As a fellow UK Dash Cam viewer, I think you'll remember one where someone braked hard as the lights changed to yellow. Someone then rear ended him and the comments were full of "Safer to keep going etc". Not many were lights were changing so should have stopped if safe to do so and car behind should definitely have been braking and not accelerating as well.

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

Don't encourage road rage.
Road rage can encourage drivers to use their cars as a weopon and cause harm to you or those around 

"Shut the fuck up and get to the back of the bus, Rosa. You'll only make the white folks hate us even more".

Have a word with yourself, mate.

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ste.gt13 replied to Eton Rifle | 1 year ago
0 likes

I just prefer to ride my bike without fighting, it's not hard. 
The anger in these comments blow my mind. 

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

ste.gt13 wrote:

I just prefer to ride my bike without fighting, it's not hard. 
The anger in these comments blow my mind. 

It must be really confusing for you to join a cycling website, announce that you hate everyone on the site and then for some inexplicable reason, they don't welcome all your stupid comments. That's right, must be because they're all angry and nothing to do with you being a prick.

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