The driver in Bexley who attacked a cyclist has been sentenced.
John Nicholls pleaded guilty to common assault.
£400 fine + £100 compensation + £85 costs and £15 victim surcharge.
I think £600 cost for not being able to hold ones temper should make him think twice when deciding to bully another cyclist. Plus the criminal record.
It is interesting to note that, despite the image from the more tabloid of our press (ie: the Mail) that cyclists are lawless anarchists, many of the cyclist stories involve cyclists who are professionals. This one involved a lawyer in his late 40's. So despite the gutter press image, actually many cyclists are professional people who are often between 30 and 50. And many have the means and motivation to be recording their journeys. This should give the motorist pause for thought. There are cyclists, who not only have a record of incidents, but the knowledge and will to pursue wrong-doing through legal channels. For example, the excellent blog, The Cycling Lawyer, has posted about a motorist who pushed him into traffic, and the actions he has taken through the courts and police . And quite rightly so, this type of deeply unpleasant behaviour needs to be confronted. Normally, as a cyclist we cannot do this at the time against someone driving a car, but we should be able to pursue through a sympathetic police service.
Unfortunately as the Cycling Lawyer case, and the Bexley assault, shows, the police either don't take cyclist assaults seriously, or are so incompetent that anyone caught is sheer luck. I simply don't believe it is the latter - I think generally that cyclist assaults are treated by police and the courts as a bit of "argee bargee" and that many believe the provocation argument - even if the provocation is simply the cyclist being on the road. This is utterly unacceptable - the police and courts need to be more robust in their actions. They should also take note that many cyclists are au-fait with their rights and the law and record incidents for evidence. Not least because they can end up looking like Inspector Clouseau on a really bad day when the video and police follow-up is published.
The Bexley case does also throw up some interesting things. Firstly, the driver's license has escaped any sanction. And yet surely punching someone else over an incident whilst driving should surely be viewed as a driving related offence? Also, the police were initially stumped by the fact that the owner of the car claimed it had been stolen (and then returned in pristine condition hours later). This either means Nicholls stole the car, or the owner was lying. Either way, it should result in some action - surely people shouldn't simply be allowed to lie to the police to get away with a crime? Lastly, Nicholls was apparently, full of remorse, presumably for getting caught and being shown up to be a little thug to the hundreds of thousands who watched the video and read the reports.
The above Bexley incident has had satisfactory resolution in my opinion (even if some questions aren't answered concerning the ownership of the car). But I cannot help but wonder what would have happened without video evidence, even with the large numbers of witnesses. It is a sobering thought to think that we appear to have little protection from the law in these cases unless we happen to organise a myriad of witnesses and video evidence and then run a press campaign that gets the story into local and national press.