A driver assaulted a cyclist because he questioned how he used his mobile phone

UPDATED 01/31/2023

After publishing this story, our reader finally received a response from ERS, in which the driver’s insurance provider confirmed that it was “currently investigating the matter.”

ERS apologized for the “delay” in recovering the cyclist and acknowledged that the documents provided relate to the criminal charge and may differ from any civil claim brought through the insurer.

“Our investigations into this matter are ongoing but we hope to complete them soon and then confirm how we can assist you,” ERS said.

ERS did not respond to road.cc’s request for comment.

Original story below…

A cyclist has recalled a shocking road rage incident in which he was attacked after asking a driver if he was using a mobile phone at the wheel.

The rider, who will remain anonymous throughout this article, told road.cc they have yet to receive the £500 compensation that a judge at Westminster Magistrates’ Court ordered Akila James to pay, along with a £2,000 fine and £820 costs, in addition to the five. penalty points for driving license.

“What worries me the most is that this dangerous driver continues to pose a threat to other road users,” said the rider, whose bike suffered £450 worth of damage in the incident on the King’s Road, Chelsea, in 2021. Christmas Eve.

The cyclist was returning from volunteering for disadvantaged youngsters in West London when James drove in front of him and blocked the road.

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“I saw that the driver was holding the phone to his left ear and talking into it, he was not wearing a seat belt,” explained the motorcyclist. “I asked the driver, ‘what are you talking about?'” The phone screen was brightly lit during an active call.

“I said ‘you shouldn’t talk on the phone while you’re driving.’ He replied “you shouldn’t talk while driving”. After saying the word “ride” he lunged at me with his right hand and hit me on the left side of my head. He then sped up when I said, “Don’t hit me – it’s assault – I’ll report you, you’ll be reported sir.”

“He told me to ‘turn it off’ and I said ‘thank you’ and started cycling. I saw the driver turn the wheel to the right as I cycled away.

“I felt what was going to happen and I was preparing to take evasive action.” A second or two later he accelerated sharply, yelling “get out of the way.” The vehicle then collided with my leg and my bicycle.

“I picked the bike up off the floor, I said to him, ‘This is the second assault, I’m going to call the police, you’ve just hit me.’ ” and sped up.

“The vehicle was stopped at a zebra crossing with a pedestrian crossing. I limped my damaged bike to the sidewalk and approached the passenger side of the BMW to let the driver know I was going to report him.

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“During the call, he continued to hold the phone in his left hand as the female pedestrian crossed the zebra crossing. Clearly angry, he failed to yield and narrowly missed her as he sped off.”

The rider told us he was overwhelmed by the kindness of passers-by who checked to make sure he was OK and provided witness statements.

“As I said, it happened on Christmas Eve. This incident really ruined my family’s Christmas because I was very stressed and couldn’t stop replaying what happened in my head,” they continued.

“Luckily the bruising to my leg was minimal as I was able to jump off the bike in the crash. The crash left the bike with multiple spokes, bent rear wheel/cassette/gearbox/brake, total repair cost £450.

“A damage report from the lovely guys at CycleWorks Kennington was given to the police but not taken to court. I myself had to report it to the magistrate in court to get compensation.

After making an online statement to the Metropolitan Police, the cyclist was later asked to make a statement in person at Hammersmith Police Station, and in 2022. in April received a “general letter” informing them that “after careful review it has been decided that no further action will be taken. taken”.

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“I could not believe that such a decision was made. I contacted the investigating officer who stated that the letter was from the Met Police Traffic Unit, but he was still being pulled over by another department for common assault and reckless and imprudent driving. “, explained our reader.

“I thought the video evidence I presented was convincing: the offenses I see are using a phone while driving, not wearing a seat belt, dangerous driving, failing to stop after an accident and failing to give way at a zebra crossing. understanding why they decided that these crimes were not worthy of further action.

“I wanted to claim on his insurance to repair my bike but had to take legal advice to get the police to release the driver’s insurance details as the vehicle was a company car and had multiple policies. I eventually found out that the driver was covered by ERS and had been sending them various emails. letters, but received no response [a silence repeated to road.cc’s request for comment]”.

Meanwhile, our reader has appeared twice at Westminster Magistrates’ Court – once in 2022. in July and then in September, but both times James failed to appear.

“In order not to waste everyone’s time again, the magistrate gave instructions that I should testify in the absence of the driver,” he continued. “Finally, the driver was interviewed in November, where he pleaded guilty to the charges against him [below]”.

  • Frequent attack
  • Use of threatening/abusive/abusive words/behavior to cause fear/provoke unlawful violence
  • Criminal damage to property worth less than £5,000
  • Driving a mechanically propelled vehicle on a road/public place without due care and attention
  • Assault by beating

James was sentenced after the judge took the guilty plea into account and received five penalty points on his driving licence, a £2,000 fine, £620 Crown Prosecution Service costs (a collection order was made), a £200 victim surcharge and £500 costs. compensation for the cyclist (not yet received).

“The driver still hasn’t paid a cent in compensation,” our reader told us. “I sent another email to his insurance again hoping to get money for the repairs.

“What worries me the most is that this dangerous driver continues to pose a threat to other road users. I don’t post on social media, but I hope this story shows how inadequate some of our legal processes are and that the rights of car drivers are put first. the safety of cyclists”.

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