Aggressive bullying by driver of WP57CDK

10th May 2020

West End Avenue, Harrogate
West End Avenue Harrogate

Riding along West End Avenue this afternoon, I was subjected to aggressive bullying behaviour by the driver of VW Polo WP57CDK.

The car was coming from behind me. The driver started sounding her horn from a long way away, and used it 4 or 5 times altogether. I knew the message: get out of the way.

There isn't space to pass safely where there are cars on both sides. I would have pulled in to the left as soon as there was a gap in the parked cars, but as the car got closer and the horn-sounding continued, I began to fear for my safety. I shouted 'wait', but then I decided to stop.

The car pulled up alongside me. A young lady with light-coloured hair was driving. Her passenger, a young man with a dark hooded top, hood up, told me to "get out the fucking road" and gave me the middle finger.

I normally avoid West End Avenue for exactly this reason. Drivers can't pass, they get angry and impatient with you, and they try to bully you out of the way. This afternoon, there was next to no traffic - that Polo was the only car I saw on West End Avenue - so I thought I would be safe. Unfortunately not.

Police response

I decided that for once I wouldn't let this go. I called 101 and reported the driver to the police. They said they would log it, but take no action, in case the driver denied doing what she did. That response is incredibly poor. Only yesterday, the Secretary of State for Transport was telling us all to get on our bikes - but how are you going to persuade people to do that if you don't back them up when they are bullied by drivers?

I told them I wasn't satisfied with that and they gave me an incident number.

Someone from Harrogate police station called me and checked the details. She then looked up the registered keeper of the WP57CDK and phoned her and gave her Words of Advice. The police person was then kind enough to call me back and confirm she'd spoken to the driver.

There was some mention of how long the driver had been 'held up' for, so I'm not confident the driver understood that a person on a bike is not an object with no right to get in a driver's way.

At least there were consequences for these actions, and the driver might think twice in future.