People Hitting Cyclists

At some time or other, any cyclist will have experienced some abuse from passing motorists. This may take form of being shouted at, things thrown at or even worse, pushed off the bike.

There’s not much to do about it, and unfortunately in the ‘happy slapping culture’, people feel it is something that is funny, something they can do with impunity and something they can usually get away with.

I rarely read a letter in Cycling Weekly which actually has anything worthwhile to say.  -’I think people should wear a helmet’ I thing people shouldn’t wear a helmet’. All pretty tedious. But, this one week, one letter did catch my attention.

Someone wrote in saying they were cycling along, when a car passed carefully. He was grateful a car had the decency to pass carefully and slowly for a change, rather than speeding past without a second thought. But, just as he was feeling grateful for the careful driving, he felt an almighty wack on his backside, followed by hoots of laughter from those inside the car. The car sped off.

Now usually, that would be the end of the story. But, this cyclist happened to be a police officer. He managed to get the registration number, and when he got back to police station he followed up on the case. Those driving the car were eventually fined around £100 costs in court.

The funny thing is that the cyclist was actually wearing something identifying his relationship with the police. So much for ‘dumb criminals’

Unfortunately, when something like that happens, it is tempting to do nothing because, even if you did get the registration number, the police will invariably say they don’t have enough resources to follow it up. But, if the incident is potentially dangerous – you should get the registration plate, and ideally report it. The police may well probably just file it. But, it could be useful if there was a more serious incident they later investigated.

Anyway, it’s good to know that occasionally stupid people can be fined. If there were just a few more cases like this, it would act as a great deterrent and would help to avoid many unpleasant experiences on the road.

Ironically, the other day, I was catching up with an old cyclist friend who left working in a bike shop to go and become a police officer. He’s a great  bloke and will make a great police officer, but it was rather revealing listen to how difficult it is to actually prosectue criminals. He says so many small things police turn a blind eye becuase it’s just too time consuming and expensive to follow up. It left him rather discouraged by the state of the criminal system, but without radical change that’s the way it will stay.


6 Responses to People Hitting Cyclists

  1. Ben Woodcock September 25, 2012 at 6:11 pm #

    Well… riding home from work yesterday evening and minding my own business, i suddenly received an almighty slap round the back of the head from a shoe deliberately held out of the passenger side window of a van – needless to say it didn’t make ME in the slightest bit happy! Fortunately didn’t do any significant damage, although could quite easily been a lot worse, but nevertheless was immensely reckless – and just completely unnecessary…

    People in cars think they can have a quick joke at the poor little cyclists expense then get away with it just by driving off; imagine this guys surprise though when i came racing up to him whilst he was stuck at the next traffic lights!! :D I chased him down the road for half a mile or so (yes – a man on a push bike giving a high speed pursuit to two men in a full sized van!) but was knackered from previous 35 miles of riding + a days work, so he got away. Had no idea what i’d do if i caught him anyway and didn’t even bother getting the reg as i knew Walsall police would do FA about it (although no doubt they’d prosecute me if i chose do to anything vigilante…).

    Its all just indicative of the complete lack of respect that cyclists get on the road here, (even despite a summer of bringing home the gold and glory for Britain on the race course) …and of an increasingly worrying attitude, rife amongst many drivers nowadays – from tradesmen in vans to “sub-urb SUV” drivers to impatient merc slickers – that think they are entitled to get away with doing absolutely anything they want, with no regard to the safety of other road users.

    personally, i’ll be carrying a blade in my saddlebag from now on and will make my presence felt on the tyres of any scumbag who tries something like this on me again.

    thanks for this article.

  2. Cautious May 11, 2012 at 7:40 pm #

    I suppose I should not be reading these events prior to my cycling lesson tomorrow but one has to learn of the experiences.
    Hmm I think I would change my cycling route in the same way one does when driving. But then wha t do I know. :)

    • tejvan May 12, 2012 at 7:43 am #

      These incidents are really rare. I hope it doesn’t put you off. Mostly cycling is great fun.

  3. Jonathan May 10, 2012 at 11:18 am #

    Well here is a story in reverse.

    I was cycling along a few weeks ago (one of those days when it wasn’t raining – they used to happen you know). I was in a bus lane, when all of a sudden a car shot past me. I was rather annoyed as it was totally unexpected and I could have easily been hit as the road is full of potholes.

    Anyway I decided to chase after the car to give him one of my world famous withering looks. So after catching him up I looked into the car only to see the driver wearing a metropolitan Police jacket. Go figure!

  4. Tom Randall May 8, 2012 at 9:43 pm #

    A very good point, I think a lot of cyclists just put up with this sort of thing. I have reported something like this once, having a cup of coke thrown at me, and the police did follow it up although not too energetically. As with all things, we need to get off our backsides and do something to make a change!

  5. MrHappyCyclist May 7, 2012 at 7:35 pm #

    Unfortunately, every time I make a report to the police, it means half a day off work to visit the police station. Goodness knows how much time off work if one actually wen to court!

Leave a Reply

+ 3 = 11