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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 apologised, I can remove it if it makes you all feel better. 

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

I apologised, I can remove it if it makes you all feel better. 

That would certainly make sense, but the purpose isn't to make us feel better, but to make you look less stupid.

I originally took your apology in good faith, but you just keep doubling-down on writing dumb things and misunderstanding words such as "vigilante". I don't feel that you're bringing anything useful to this discussion.

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

Joys of dyslexia, aye. 

I was going to keep the comment up to learn from my mistakes but fine, I'll take it down. 

He is a vigilante, lookup the definition.  

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

He is a vigilante, lookup the definition.  

No, you're simply wrong on this. A vigilante metes out punishment for crimes, something which Mikey clearly doesn't do.

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

Joys of dyslexia, aye. 

I was going to keep the comment up to learn from my mistakes but fine, I'll take it down. 

He is a vigilante, lookup the definition.  

Definition of vigilante

: a member of a volunteer committee organized to suppress and punish crime summarily (as when the processes of law are viewed as inadequate)

To my knowledge CyclingMikey has never punished motorists - he simply gathers evidence (sometimes giving the perp a chance to correct their mistake) and hands it over to the police i.e. he's relying on the law process. That means that we can definitely agree that CyclingMikey is in no way a vigilante, going by the most common definition.

By the way, if you wish to make a point about word usage, then it makes far more sense for you to post the definition that you are using, especially if (as in this case) it is different to how other people interpret the word. Simply demanding that other people look up the definition will make you look foolish if you've been misusing that particular word and making false accusations.

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chrisonabike replied to hawkinspeter | 1 year ago
1 like

Jacques Derrida - "you can make a definition but all other definitions remain in play". (BTW I've no idea if that's actually what he said.  Or meant.  I might even be thinking of Michael Fish).

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RoubaixCube | 1 year ago
5 likes

"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."

So he doesnt like it that more and more people are getting caught breaking the law and have to suffer the consequences?

Surely its counter productive to society to carry on allowing people to break the law and suffer no consequences? and the more people that get caught the better as it bumps up the standard of driving on the roads? 

I can be cruising at 40kmh - above the legal speed limit for that stretch of road but someone will still be tailgating me, honking their horn in an effort to bully me even if im not holding them up. But If im doing 40kmh and he's up my arse. Then he's breaking the law and deserves to get punished because he put his foot in it.

If people are worried (Neal included...) about getting caught, It means that people who do have cameras are doing an EXCELLENT job at helping the community teach drivers not to break the law and keeping them in line.

And its always a roll of the dice if Mr Plod will do anything meaningful with the submissions anyway. police action always seems to be all over the place - some reports have no action or the least amount of action taken despite clear evidence of law breaking while the same footage can have the whole law and even the laws kitchen sink thrown at them if you submit the footage a second or third time - so people who break the law still have a chance at dodging justice.

If i was Mikey, I wouldnt waste time watching the video either.

Rather than calling Mikey out about what he does. Neil as a driving instructor should be working with Mikey to educate drivers but im guessing he wont because he'll probably lose business. Its more beneficial for him to pick his side and stir the pot so he can potentially make more money off it.

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AlsoSomniloquism replied to RoubaixCube | 1 year ago
2 likes
Quote:

Surely its counter productive to society to carry on allowing people to break the law and suffer no consequences? and the more people that get caught the better as it bumps up the standard of driving on the roads?

Ashley's mate, the BlackBelt barrister raised questions on informing people where temp speed cams are each day as it was supposedly a topic on SM. He stated that as they are safety cameras, then telling people where they are should be fine as the "law-abiding" will slow in that area knowing they are out and the people who would speed "because they have robbed a bank" won't be bothered. So essentially he is ok with people speeding all the time when they know the cameras are not on and only slowing when they know they might be caught. I didn't read specific comments but the top one was a "stealth tax on motorists" type comment. 

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hawkinspeter replied to AlsoSomniloquism | 1 year ago
3 likes
AlsoSomniloquism wrote:

Ashley's mate, the BlackBelt barrister raised questions on informing people where temp speed cams are each day as it was supposedly a topic on SM. He stated that as they are safety cameras, then telling people where they are should be fine as the "law-abiding" will slow in that area knowing they are out and the people who would speed "because they have robbed a bank" won't be bothered. So essentially he is ok with people speeding all the time when they know the cameras are not on and only slowing when they know they might be caught. I didn't read specific comments but the top one was a "stealth tax on motorists" type comment. 

To avoid speeding offences being a "stealth tax" (albeit an opt-in stealth tax), how about if the penalty for speeding offenses was something like confiscating the vehicle for a week/month/year depending on the severity of the crime? That would also make the law more applicable to rich people.

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OnYerBike replied to hawkinspeter | 1 year ago
1 like

It's hard to ensure punishment is completely fair - if the vehicle is confiscated then that would no doubt hit people who have one car for the whole family far harder than households with multiple cars, especially households with more cars than people. A short term driving ban might seem fairer in principle, although harder to enforce.

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hawkinspeter replied to OnYerBike | 1 year ago
1 like
OnYerBike wrote:

It's hard to ensure punishment is completely fair - if the vehicle is confiscated then that would no doubt hit people who have one car for the whole family far harder than households with multiple cars, especially households with more cars than people. A short term driving ban might seem fairer in principle, although harder to enforce.

Ultimately, people with more responsibilities are always going to feel more effects from punishment. The big advantage of confiscating the cars is the reduction in both congestion and air pollution. Ultimately, we want the punishment for speeding to cause a change in behaviour and having your car suddenly confiscated in the middle of a journey is likely to make people take notice.

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eburtthebike | 1 year ago
6 likes

I don't think I've ever seen such a misinformed, inaccurate and illogical piece by anyone ever.  There are so many errors of logic and mistaken assumptions that it's impossible to list them all, but here's one example.

Mikey stops cars on the wrong side of the road at Gandalf Corner because what they are doing is illegal and dangerous.  This is what AN says:

"My only question with what Mikey does at this particular corner is how many people have been convinced not to use a mobile phone because of what he does?"

He isn't stopping them for using a mobile phone AN, it's because they're driving dangerously and illegally.

He justifies not reporting dangerous driving by saying:

"If I was to report every single thing that I saw, the negativity towards those instructors and students would definitely have a negative effect on road safety."

Just how would it do that?  Not reporting it demonstrates clearly to the students that dangerous illegal driving is perfectly acceptable, which very definitely has a negative effect on road safety.

Mikey is definitely right "Not going to bother watching it. I don’t rate his opinion."  And Mikey doesn't have ads for junk wallets either.

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ktache | 1 year ago
7 likes

Been thinking about Neal, wondering how he would feel, nervous and very novice driver under his instruction, behemoth juggernaut approaches from behind, it's operator wishes to overtake, do they get to use their incredibly loud horn, you know, just to let the driver they were there?

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chrisonabike replied to ktache | 1 year ago
1 like

By his logic on overtaking bikes they'd have to wait there forever - even if you could see the other lane was clear for miles ahead - until there was space to pass at the distance recommended by the highway code.  And that is why you should always single-up in a vehicle (maybe by sitting in the novice's lap?) if another is waiting behind.

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NOtotheEU | 1 year ago
2 likes

I'm usually 50/50 on Ashleys opinions about cyclists but I've said before and it's worth repeating, if every driver followed his advice then the roads would be safer for everyone, especially us cyclists.

I'm a Mickey fan so obviously I disagree with this video but overall I think he does a good job promoting road safety in his own way.

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IanMK | 1 year ago
8 likes

He's trying to come over as the voice of reason but he clearly has a vested interest to be pro driver so it has built in bias.
The thing I don't get is why you wouldn't want to get Bad and dangerous drivers off the road. These drivers make life a misery for all road users. It just shows poor critical thinking in the face of trying to be populist in a car centric society.

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Happymanc | 1 year ago
8 likes

Youtuber says something to get views shocker 

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itperlar | 1 year ago
8 likes

I've lived and/or worked continuesly in the Regents Park area for 20 years and something has for sure worked. Cycling there is becoming safer and while it is impossible to prove the connection to his work something has worked so thank you CyclingMikey. Whatever Ashley's views I suspect he does not live/work in the area and have not witnessed the positive change there or in the rest of central London. 

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Rendel Harris replied to itperlar | 1 year ago
5 likes

He doesn't, he is based in Liverpool I believe. Apparently the Parks Police have noted in meetings that there has been a significant drop in incidents around "Gandalf Corner" since Mikey started his campaign, so you're dead right about the improvements and their cause. The police support his efforts, they wouldn't do that if he was just some busybody who was actually creating more problems than he was solving.

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BalladOfStruth | 1 year ago
7 likes

Another day, another horrendously bad cycling take by Ashley Neal...

 

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Clem Fandango | 1 year ago
17 likes

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

Ummm...what does that tell you about driving standards then?  

 

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AlsoSomniloquism replied to Clem Fandango | 1 year ago
9 likes

Probably scared most are traced back to his school of motoring.

Also, his take that people would be against learners etc. The amount of bad driving I see around learners is on par with the bad driving against cyclists. Speeding passed, cutting up, pulling out in front off, being on the recieving end of horn use and bad language. I do wonder how many drivers forget they were learners once. If the bad driving against them could be used in evidence, then drivers might actually be more considerate around them. 

Still, being as he films his youtube narration pieces whilst driving around, I would have thought his take on bad and distracted driving is automatically null and void.

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nosferatu1001 replied to Clem Fandango | 1 year ago
7 likes
Clem Fandango wrote:

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

Ummm...what does that tell you about driving standards then?  

which was pointed out by me and others in the comments.  We had a back and forth as AN didn't like me defending cycling mikey actions. He took great offence at CM calling someone a shithead but didn't frame it in context, which was the far greater abuse he got first. Apparently he incites road rage. When I pointed out he does not such thing, it went quiet 

Ashley claims to cycle regularly, I just wonder where, if he doesn't see the issues that we're seeing ? 

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Hirsute replied to nosferatu1001 | 1 year ago
8 likes

He was on here but he didn't listen to what was said.

One of his recent videos had a comment about how difficult it is to see cyclists - I guess I must have exceptional skills in seeing cyclists despite my glasses.

Or maybe I just have outstanding night vision for black on black.

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nosferatu1001 replied to Hirsute | 1 year ago
5 likes
hirsute wrote:

He was on here but he didn't listen to what was said.

One of his recent videos had a comment about how difficult it is to see cyclists - I guess I must have exceptional skills in seeing cyclists despite my glasses.

Or maybe I just have outstanding night vision for black on black.

i challenged in his "cyclists are hard enough ti see already" comment. Was told it's because bikes aren't as big as cars. When I pointed out that they're still visible, so not HARD to see, and being taller than all but wankpanzers are often MORE visible, he went silent. 

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hawkinspeter replied to nosferatu1001 | 1 year ago
9 likes
nosferatu1001 wrote:

i challenged in his "cyclists are hard enough ti see already" comment. Was told it's because bikes aren't as big as cars. When I pointed out that they're still visible, so not HARD to see, and being taller than all but wankpanzers are often MORE visible, he went silent. 

Maybe you just cut him off before he could finish his sentence: "cyclists are hard enough to see already as we don't bother looking properly, despite what should be taught by driving instructors"

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nosferatu1001 replied to hawkinspeter | 1 year ago
5 likes

Yep! I pointed out drivers aren't taught well enough  to see cyclists in general, and as his previous anti cycling video showed, he doesn't teach brilliantly either, and didn't get anything back.  He can't accept criticism of driving instructors from us mere plebs, and then pointing out drivers just don't look for the perfectly visible cyclists didn't get anything either. 

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IanMSpencer replied to Hirsute | 1 year ago
2 likes

I pointed out a Matt grey Merc to SWMBO which also had illegal dull greyed rear number plate and greyed rear lights. It was remarkably similar to the colour of the road. I wonder how long before someone rear ends or sideswipes them through not seeing them.

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anagallis_arvensis | 1 year ago
10 likes

I enjoy Neale's cycling videos the way he stumbles over himself trying not to be anti cyclist whilst continually failing to understand what's going on is funny. I commented on that vid and one of disciples said that Mikey had forced a driver to have to mount the kerb to get past, the fact that they still fail to see a driver's actions as the drivers action says it all!

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nosferatu1001 replied to anagallis_arvensis | 1 year ago
5 likes
anagallis_arvensis wrote:

I enjoy Neale's cycling videos the way he stumbles over himself trying not to be anti cyclist whilst continually failing to understand what's going on is funny. I commented on that vid and one of disciples said that Mikey had forced a driver to have to mount the kerb to get past, the fact that they still fail to see a driver's actions as the drivers action says it all!

more than one blamed Mikey for "forcing" drivers to mount the kerb, or "making hundreds of drivers lives hell" while they waited because an entitled prick of a driver argued why their dangerous driving wasn't dangerous.  
 

he said he's going to do a compilation of all the time mikey has "incited" road rage. All because mikey wasn't nice to him in twitter...

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