My email (which included a photo of the driver and a map of said junction)
I am writing to give your driver of the attached vehicle the opportunity to explain his actions this morning on my ride in to work before he is reported to the police.
I was coasting to a red traffic light heading south on Upper Street near Angel Tube this morning and riding alongside another cyclist. The driver of your vehicle was in line with us in the second lane of the road going at the same speed as us (both to a set of red lights). He indicated and then started turning in towards our lane which was still occupied by myself and a fellow cyclist.
He may not have seen us given he was driving a panel van. This in itself is not an excuse for poor driving, but may have been the initial reason he began turning in to us. To alert him of our presence and I swung and hit the side of his van to make a noise. In effect also proving he was too close to us. If he was aware of our presence then that would be truly awful driving as he was essentially trying to bully his way through a group of cyclists, risking our safety and possibly our lives.
At this point he stopped, allowing us to get to the cycle advance box at the lights.
His following behaviour is the reason I am now writing this email. I turned to gesture that he should have seen us (a wave of the hand- nothing more). He then proceeded to give the juvenile gesture of 'lets have a fight', got out of his van and walked over and squared up to me. I didn’t raise my voice, stand up to him or provoke him in anyway. He begun to swear at me, and tried to provoke a physical fight. I continued to stay calm, pointed out he nearly swiped two cyclists out and could have killed us. He then threatened me 'if I ever touch his van again he will kill me' and tried to justify his actions claiming he was going 10mph. His explanation seemingly entirely pointless. I turned away to ensure no further confrontation would be had. At no point did I return any threats, raise my voice, or swear. I then took his photo for evidence. I also took a witness number further down the road.
I will use these to give to the police if he does not apologise for his actions.
I found the director of the company on Linkedin, recosgnised his photo and stumbled on his justgiving page for London to Brighton bike ride. Sent the follow on email after no response.
I now know you are the owner of this company and have more of your details. I would appreciate a response to my email before I am forced to take it further.
As I now know you are a fellow cyclist (London to Brighton) I am even more confused of your actions the other day. Heat of the moment it may have been, but still unwarranted and inexcusable.
An appolgy may just resolve this before yourself and your company are reported to the following:
http://www.islington.gov.uk/services/parking-roads/roadsafety/Pages/cyclesafetycampaign.aspx who will take it up with you
http://www.met.police.uk/roadsafelondon/ for which you may be routinely pulled up if on the data base
My apologise for the late return as I have been out of the office.
Following the incident yesterday I think that I may have over reacted however as you can imagine it was a bit of a shock to hear the loud bang that you caused on my van.
Please let me explain my thoughts on the event.
I did not see you on the near side on the van nor would I of purposely endangered anyone let alone a cyclist as I frequently road race myself for several charity annual events.
I however can fully appreciate your frustrations if a vehicle does cut across you or any other fellow cyclist.
I do apologise if I did but as I said previously it was not my intentions.
I would also like to point out that I did not threaten to Kill you! as you previously stated at any point in our conversation, however I do admit that perhaps I over reacted by getting out of my vehicle and confronting you at the traffic lights.
I just wanted an explanation as to why someone would potentially cause damage to a stationary vehicle by striking it. ( remember if you bang on a panel van it sound quite loud inside)
I still do not believe that any crime was committed by either parties, and looking back at it would like to think that you would accept this email as an apology for my behaviour.
Also I must point out that on your part perhaps you should not have stuck my vehicle as you could have quite easily caused damage.
I would hope that if we saw each other again we could shake hands and put this behind us,
Appreciate the response.
My intention wasnt to damage your vehicle (and in fact I think you will find i did not). In panic I swung out and may have connected harder than needed, but it was meerly to stop being crushed under your wheels. It was louder than I thought , but given the choice of dying or sticking a dent in your van I went with in a split second what I thought the approriate force to alert you of my presence. Having never needed to hit a panel van before its pretty hard to predict how loud it would be. And in fact you were still moving and towards me at the time.
On your point of not hitting your van- I would certainly do it again faced with the same choice. And I think you would too. Having to justify my actions is somewhat frustrating given I was clearly the vunurable party and only just riding my bike in a straight line at the time.
My main concern was your aggressive attitude which wasnt provoked. I just hope you wouldnt act that way to to anyone else again.