Punched by irate driver

Commuting, Day rides, Audax, Incidents, etc.
Posts: 193
Joined: 12 Jan 2007, 10:48am
Location: Newcastle u Tyne

Punched by irate driver

Postby pwward » 19 Sep 2007, 3:03pm

I was assualted yesterday by a driver while cycling. First time ever.

Approaching a mini roundabout a car pulled alongside to overtake. It couldn't complete the manouvre due to traffuc in front and stayed alongside me. But it started to drift in towards me as we went along squashing me against the kerb. When it was 30-40 cm from my handlebar I knocked on the passenger front window.

The man drove a short way on and stopped, blocking my path. As he got out I said, 'You were too close to me'. He approached me and said 'You touched my [rude word removed] car' then (without any squaring up) punched me in the face. I still had my hands on the handlebars and lacked the wits to duck. It knocked me over and blood came from my nose. I shouted 'get his numberplate' as I got up. He drove smartly off.

I have 3 witnesses; a taxi driver and 2 pedestrians who saw events from him stopping and getting out, to him driving off. They helped me and showed concern and shock at what he'd done. The taxi driver took his numberplate.

The Police came. Took everyone's contact details and started talking about statements. I am a GP and was on my way to an evening job on the out of hours service in Gateshead having finished my daytime job. I carried on and got a colleague to photograph my face and document injuries (swollen and bruised eye, swollen nose).

I guess if the bloke isn't prosecuted successfully we can abandon any hope for Northumbria police.

User avatar
Posts: 1181
Joined: 12 Jul 2007, 2:54pm
Location: North Baddesley Hampshire

Postby yakdiver » 19 Sep 2007, 3:08pm

That’s terrible I hope the police can prosecute him

User avatar
Mick F
Posts: 46993
Joined: 7 Jan 2007, 11:24am
Location: Tamar Valley, Cornwall

Postby Mick F » 19 Sep 2007, 3:22pm

Ditto. With knobs on. Then throw away the key.
Mick F. Cornwall


Postby mhara » 19 Sep 2007, 3:34pm

Any experienced cyclist would have done what you did.

Thank goodness there were witnesses and the number plate was noted down.

All the best in nailing such a beligerantly behaved driver.

Posts: 1685
Joined: 11 Jan 2007, 12:23pm
Location: Sheffield UK

Postby pigman » 19 Sep 2007, 3:46pm

mmm ... not so sure how I would approach it? I'm mindful of the fact that a person like that would likely already have a string of convictions of some sort. A magistrates slap on the wrist is unlikely to phase him and you're left with nothing. Are you able to claim some sort of financial recompense through his insurance? Bodily injury caused by a driver is one element (and you have the photos) and was there any damage to the bike that you noticed? The number of independent witnesses you have is useful. You would be wise to argue that your banging on his car was as a polite warning or to stabilise yourself and not as a venting of frustrations. If he was not insured, as this sort is likely not to be, what about the uninsured injuries compensation scheme?

If you are able to ensure a criminal prosecution along with a civil action, then so much the better.

Normally I'm against the "sue for a buck attitude", especially for genuine accidents, but this b##tard deserves to be hurt, and his increased insurance premium will probably provide the biggest hurt.

If you're a CTCer, I'd contact their legal experts, as most of us here are laymen.

Posts: 193
Joined: 12 Jan 2007, 10:48am
Location: Newcastle u Tyne

Postby pwward » 19 Sep 2007, 4:19pm

I couldn't do my out of hours shift. If you don't do it, you don't get paid so he's liable for this. I guess this would be small claims court as its only £200 or so.

I don't really mind what sentence he gets if found guilty. I want a successful prosecution because you just don't go around hitting folks like that. He needs to go through the system.

I heard a crack when he hit me and it wasn't my face, I just have bruising and swelling. I wonder if he's got a 'boxers fracture', a break of the neck of the smallest (little finger) handbone. That would be justice.

Posts: 385
Joined: 12 Jan 2007, 5:44pm
Location: Somewhere on the NCN

Postby rower40 » 19 Sep 2007, 6:14pm

Poetic Justice would be if he came in to your surgery for treatment to his hand. Write out a prescription for elephant-strength laxatives? I'm sure, as a GP, you can think of more interesting/embarrassing 'treatments' for him.
Very best of luck in getting the police to sit up and take notice.
"Little Green Men Are Everywhere... ...But Mostly On Traffic Lights."

Posts: 464
Joined: 6 Jan 2007, 7:13pm
Location: West Somerset, UK

Postby diapason » 19 Sep 2007, 6:43pm

Would the local press and radio run a story "Doctor assaulted on way to emergency call" or something similar? Publicity might encourage the Police to take some action. There was something on a thread here (or on acf) recently about the need to ensure that the Police issue a Notice of Intended Prosecution (check for accuracy) within a fixed timescale. CTC legal dept are probably the best source of expert advice.

I agree with other posters that this man (?) needs to be caught and punished - such behaviour is intolerable in a civilised society.

Advena ego sum in Terra

Posts: 60
Joined: 6 Jan 2007, 7:50pm

Postby downsman » 19 Sep 2007, 6:50pm

I really do hope the Police get their act together on this one, it's unbelievable what people think they can get away with in this country.

It would be nice to think the press might cover the story if it goes to court, and the thug might be named and shamed.

Glad you seem to be OK, but it must have been a pretty nasty shock to say the least :(

Posts: 46
Joined: 6 Sep 2007, 8:05pm
Location: Braintree, Essex

Postby joe.ford » 19 Sep 2007, 8:17pm

ever think they should bring back some of the old fashioned punishments.

Like Hanging. Okay probably a bit harsh, how about the stocks?
I couldn't repair your brakes, so I made your horn louder.


Posts: 3353
Joined: 5 Jan 2007, 1:32pm
Location: North Hertfordshire

Postby fatboy » 20 Sep 2007, 7:52am

joe.ford wrote:ever think they should bring back some of the old fashioned punishments.

how about the stocks?

I like the way that you're thinking. Mind you would a spell in the stocks become a "badge of honour". I think we need to convince people that their responsibilities to be a good, law abiding citizan are more important than their "rights". Everyone bangs on about "rights" which seems to be an excuse "to do whatever I want to do as it's my right". Makes me mad.
"Marriage is a wonderful invention; but then again so is the bicycle puncture repair kit." - Billy Connolly

Posts: 2034
Joined: 6 Aug 2007, 4:48am

Re: Punched by irate driver

Postby james01 » 20 Sep 2007, 9:35am

pwward wrote:I was assualted yesterday by a driver while cycling. First time ever.


This is a scenario which most of us must have come close to, if not actually experienced. There must be many more unreported incidents. It's fortunate that you have witnesses. "Well done" for taking it further, and good luck.
Any court must surely accept that when a car is edging too close, then a non-damaging knocking on the window or bodywork is a sensible and instinctive way of alerting the driver to your presence. The other obvious point is that if the car is near enough to be struck by the cyclist's outstretched arm, this is proof that it's too close for comfort.
The mental stability of a driver who reacts like this to his pride & joy being touched must surely be questioned.

Tom Richardson
Posts: 772
Joined: 25 Jun 2007, 1:45pm

Re: Punched by irate driver

Postby Tom Richardson » 20 Sep 2007, 10:37am

[quote="james01]The mental stability of a driver who reacts like this to his pride & joy being touched must surely be questioned.[/quote]

i think you hit the nail on the head there james. I learned when i worked for a law office and saw clients scrapping in reception because they'd taken personal offence at someone elses appearance that this type of behaviour is due to their mental condition: lack of emotional maturity. It scares me that people like this are allowed to drive vehicles, especially because it seems to make their behaviour worse.

The cops are de-sensitised to this type of thing because they see it all the time so getting something done might not be easy (I'd put even money on it that their first response is to say that they can't trace the registration number) but I'd be comforted if PW can get something done. It won't get the guy the drugs, therapy and incarceration that he needs but it might get some recompense - especially if he can be sued for personal injury - and make him less likely to do it again.

Posts: 4354
Joined: 16 Mar 2007, 1:22pm

Postby glueman » 20 Sep 2007, 10:53am

These scenarios may seem like an accident but they're more an invitation to respond. Driver wound up anyway, sees vulnerable cyclist, squeezes him to see what the rider will do, cyclist responds, driver has the excuse to punch someone he wanted all along.
The brittle carapace of his motor is an extension of himself, ergo, you slapped him first.
My suspicion is such people are prepared for trouble so don't wander into their personal nightmare lightly. If they go for an assault, as he did, drag them through the courts with as much publicity as you can generate.

The most fulfilling response I ever saw was some years ago, off Oxford Street. A mini turned left at speed across a cyclist, forcing him down and almost beneath its wheels.
The driver emerged with the usual 'what do you think you were doing' routine, at which point the rider saw red. The chap systematically kicked every panel of the car in reducing it to a right-off, with the driver chasing him round threatening to kill him.
Childish, but enormously satisfying.

Howard Peel

Re: Punched by irate driver

Postby Howard Peel » 20 Sep 2007, 1:00pm

pwward wrote:I was assualted yesterday by a driver while cycling. First time ever.

Whatever you do, try to force a prosecution through, even when the police start to show a lack of interest (and they will). I was assaulted several years ago, had independent witnesses and then agreed to letting the police just 'having a word' with him. I have regretted doing so ever since.