This blog came to mind when I went for a bike ride this morning. I was gone an hour.
I still have to review footage from the cycle cameras but three close passes stick in my mind. On top of the criteria outlined previously, I find a reaction of me turning to look at the vehicle as it passes is a good indicator (*) and these three did just that. All three though made me feel the threat of unlawful personal violence (ie being hit with a car).
One, a driver that overtook me with oncoming traffic. Not a million miles an hour, but it was forcing through a narrow gap. Using my criteria it may go unreported but I’ll review the footage, but at the time unnerving.
Two, a taxi driver that overtook me with no oncoming traffic whilst I was alongside parked cars. The gap between the taxi and parked cars was not much more than me. I should have taken primary position but not always possible. The danger here? I could have been car doored with nowhere to go or what if the taxi driver suddenly swerved to the left? In this case it felt the taxi driver had not really acknowledged my existence.
Third, a van. I was cycling up hill, a bit slow as you’d expect. I heard the van approaching me from behind. It stayed behind me as we went through a traffic island but sped round me as soon as I had gone through and abruptly moved in front of me to sneak through the next traffic island. Considering the length of the van I was almost broadsided by this. I made a vocal exclamation.
The point of this? Well. This was a bike ride of one hour. In that time three drivers intentionally or recklessly (more likely) caused me to apprehend immediate unlawful personal violence.
That sounds a bit legalese, doesn’t? Well, it is.
It is the definition of assault. In English Law you do not need to be touched to be assaulted. The threat of violence itself constitutes an offence. “Personal violence” includes simply touching someone. No injury is required. So, if the actions of someone makes you fear immediate personal violence then you’ve been assaulted. It doesn’t have to be intentional. It can be reckless, ie an unintended outcome of someone’s action.
Whilst riding a bike, if a driver’s standard of driving is so poor that they make you fear personal violence (ie being touched in an unlawful way) then that could constitute an assault.
Now, compare these two statements. Let’s say two friends said one each. What would your reaction be? To which one would you say “Call the police!”?
- I went for a hour’s walk today. In that time, I was assaulted three times.
- I went for an hour’s bike ride today. In that time, I was close passed by three drivers.
(*) So much so I am considering investing in a third camera to go on the helmet to allow footage showing how close they are.