This incident occurred on Tuesday February 12,2013 on The Esplanade, Scarborough, Western Australia. A road I regularly ride on my commutes between Fremantle and Joondalup. This is the first time I can recall having experienced such aggressive “must get in front” (MGIF) driving on this road. The driver of the Commodore (or is it an Omega) couldn’t even wait the few seconds for the oncoming vehicle to pass before overtaking me.
Regretfully I over responded to his act of aggression with my own: both verbally initially and then when that failed to get a response other than forcing me closer to the kerb, I smacked the side of the vehicle with the palm of my hand. The motor vehicle was so close to I didn’t really need to move my arm much at all. WHilst I feel that my response was justified I am not proud of it.
I apologise the quality of the video recording. My Jumbo HD808 #11 key camera is mounted on the handlebar and given its size is very sensitive to any movement in the handlebars. My slight pulling on the bars as I ride (not the best technique for sure) results in that rocking motion on the video. I hope you don’t sick watching it!
For the record I have reported this incident to the WA Police on February 22, 2013 via the office of the Commissioner of Police, Dr Karl O’Callaghan. The covering letter and my informal statement follows. If you wish to use the statement as a template for reporting issues you are most welcome to do so.
Update March 10, 2013: I have had a phone call from an officer at West Metropolitan at the WA Police and he has advised that the vehicle is an Avis rental car and the driver is from South Australia. Whilst the driver did commit an offence and would have had a Traffic Infringement Notice (TIN) issued, because he had returned to South Australia by the time the police go the report nothing more could be done. This was really my fault as I was slow in getting the report filed and of course I sent it to the Commissioner’s office so it had to get passed on through etc. So the moral of the story is to act much more quickly on these incidents. At least the Police did come back with a positive attitude which is great to see.
If I get a response from the WA POlice I will update this blog posting. In the meantime I hope it shows how important it is to be considerate around cyclists; I hope it shows that a few seconds of waiting can make all the difference. I hope it shows just how a simple lack of thought and consideration can result in a pretty negative outcome for another person.
I hope we all can take a moment and reflect carefully on this incident and share the road with care and respect. I know I need to reflect on my response to this driver.
Report to the WA Police – Incident involving Motor Vehicle Registration 1EBV421
Dear Dr O’Callaghan
REFERENCE: TRAFFIC INCIDENT FEBRUARY 12, 2013 VEHICLE REGISTRATION 1EBV421.
I am reporting this incident directly to you as per my letter of February 12, 2013 and as I have no reason to believe that anything has changed in respect to the WA Police’s attitude towards cyclists or the safety of vulnerable road users. I would be happy to direct such reports directly to the Office in Charge Traffic at the relevant district office if this information was readily available.
Whilst I was not injured, no property was damaged and there was no contact made between the driver of the motor vehicle and myself the incident was serious enough for me to concerned about my own personal safety. I am fearful that this offender may cause myself or others harm in the future if their behaviour is allowed to remain unchecked.
To assist in your review of this offence I have enclosed for you on a DVD the video recording of the offence recorded on my forward and rear facing cameras. I believe that with this video evidence, there is no reason for you not to be able to take action against the offender including the issuing of Traffic Infringement Notices.
I trust that you will take my letter seriously as the seriousness of this for me is that my partner, children and family do not want to have to visit me in hospital recovering from injuries sustained from a poorly behaved and ignorant driver, or possibly worse.
All I ask is that all cyclists be allowed to be able to cycle legally, safely and without fear of personal injury to myself by others.
I await your favourable reply.
Cc Published on http://cyclepolice.com
● Descriptions/Informal Statement; and
● DVD with video evidence of the incident.
TRAFFIC COMPLAINT – IBEV421 THE ESPLANDE, SCARBOROUGH
Date and time of incident: Tuesday, February 12, 2013 at 5:49 PM as recorded on the video (Note that the date time stamp has been incorrectly setup by myself however the time is correct as per recall of the incident).
Location of incident:
Figure 1: The Esplanade, Scarborough, Western Australia. Nearest crossroad –
1. I am a AGE GIVEN old employed as an academic living at an address known to police.
2. I can recall Tuesday February 12, 2013.
3. I do not know the offender in this matter.
4. Between 5:45 PM and 5:50 PM Tuesday February 12, 2013 I was riding my bicycle in a southerly direction along The Esplanade, Scarborough approaching the T-junction with Brighton Road where I turn right.
5. As I travelling in a straight line on The Esplanade having passed The Sandcastles on the left I became aware of a grey Holden Commodore (Omega?) overtaking on my right as I was coming alongside a motor vehicle heading in northerly direction in the northbound lane.
6. I realised that the Holden Commodore was moving in towards me forcing me to change my line towards the curb.
7. I yelled out “fuckin hell” as the Commodore front quarter panel was along side.
8. The driver did not show any signs of responding to my warning yell.
9. I continued to feel in serious danger, as I believe I was still being forced towards the kerb as I approached the speed bump. At this point I smacked the side of the vehicle with the palm of my hand as warning of the danger I was being put in.
10. I then yelled out again and something along the lines “bloody idiot” and then called out the vehicle registration number for recording on the video.
11. The vehicle was now pretty much in front of myself..
12. At this point the driver appears to wind down the passenger front wind and then learns over towards the passenger side of the vehicle, putting his hand partially out the passenger window to, I assume, indicate to me to pull along side as he was saying something to me. I am not clear as to his words hence I responded that he was being recorded and that he should talk to the Police.
13. I refused to come alongside. I had no intention of intentionally putting myself in such a vulnerable position.
14. I repeated the point that he was on camera and asked the driver to get out of the way. A conversation continued as per the recording on the video.
15. The video does not record what the driver was saying and I was not able to hear him clearly.
16. After the last speed bump before the T-Junction with Brighton Road the driver increased his speed and moved forward, turning left in to Brighton Road.
17. As the Holden Commodore is now in front of me the camera records the vehicle registration number as IBEV421.
18. At Brighton Road I turned right and continued on my way south to Fremantle.
19. I could see who was driving IBEV421 at the time of the incident. The driver was a white male, I estimate him to be in his 40s with either a baldhead or very short-cropped hair. The driver appeared to be of a stocky build and was wearing a light coloured shirt.
20. There was to my knowledge no other person in the vehicle.
21. I have not seen that vehicle since that day.
22. This incident has been recorded on front mounted camera, a Jumbo HD808 #11 key digital video camera that is mounted on my bicycle’s handlebar to the left of the stem.
23. The rear vision has been recorded on a Contour HD1080P camera mounted on right hand seat stay just above the rear wheel. It is centred over the rear wheel.
24. The front camera, a Jumbo HD808 #11, is what is known as a key case camera (it is built into a Toyota remote key case) and hence is a very small camera, which is very sensitive to handlebar movement. It exaggerates the movement of the handlebar so even though I am riding in straight line, even a slight movement of the handlebar is shown up on the video as jerky motion.
25. My line of travel can be easily established both via the rear camera and my position as I cross the speed humps, which are marked with white lines.
26. I believe that I was holding a fairly straight line until I the overtake occurred where I was forced towards the kerb. The lines on the speed-hump show my change of line towards the kerb
27. I have retained the full videos from which the enclosed extract has been taken should they be required for evidence or analysis.
28. I have extracted the video from the original recordings and used the Picture in Picture feature of iMovie to embed the rear video into the front facing video.
● That this driver thinks their aggressive behaviour towards other road users is acceptable.
● That they may behave this way to other road users who feel unable to take the matter further without access to supporting proof of the aggressive behaviour.
● That they have an incomplete knowledge of the road rules as it relates to their requirements as road users.
● They have no knowledge of the traffic regulations as they relate to cyclists and cyclists use of the roads.
What I would like:
● I would like this driver to be charged with applicable offences under the Western Australian Road Traffic Regulations.
● I am happy to make a formal statement about the matter, please let me know when I can do this.
● I am prepared to go to court and give evidence should the driver contest any charges brought against them.