Viewers divided over footage showing cyclist falling into a ditch after a Land Rover drives by

Footage showing a cyclist falling off her bike into a ditch after a car drove by her on a country lane has divided opinion as to who was in the wrong. The video, taken from a helmet camera, shows the woman topple over after a motorist in a Land Rover Defender drove past her in the village of Ashby St Ledger, Northamptonshire.

It was submitted to Northamptonshire Police who said it “proved beyond doubt” that the driver, Paul Nigel Miley, had shown no consideration for other road users. Miley, 52, was handed £1,008 fine for driving without due care or attention.

Police say Miley should have come to a stop to allow the cyclists to pass safely. However people online were quick to leap to the driver’s defence, pointing out he’d left room to pass and the woman seemed to have got her feet caught in the pedals.

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Following the case, the force took to social media to share footage of what they described as the “reckless overtaking manoeuvre” on June 11 last year. It shows the group of three riders going along the single track lane before Miley drives by as one cyclist shouts “slow down you ****”.

After the car has passed, the camera pans back to the middle rider, who can then be seen falling off her bike, while the other woman continues to shout expletives. One person commented: “Ca n’t see what he did wrong. Looks like she just fell over de ella cos her feet de ella were attached to her pedals de ella. Maybe she just needs to learn how to get off her bike!”

Video from a helmet camera shows the woman toppling over into a ditch

Another added “What a waste of everyone’s time” while another put: “Where’s the offence? Honestly struggling to see what he could have done differently.”

One wrote: “I think he could have slowed a little bit more but I wouldn’t have blamed him for her falling off! This world has gone mad! That poor driver!” Another said: “Honestly. If someone had been on foot, stepped to the side and fallen in a ditch, it most certainly wouldn’t have been the driver’s fault. He left plenty of room.”

Police say the driver should have stopped to let the cyclists pass

Others disagreed and sided with the cyclists, with one web user commenting: “A bit of consideration and appreciation of the vulnerability of cyclists would obviously have been better than driving close and fast. The woman could have fallen to the right and into the path of oncoming traffic on a different day.”

Another put: “Agree he should have slowed down or stopped, however no contact and as others say she only appeared to come off as others stopped and she couldn’t remove her feet from the foot holders on the pedals.”

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Miley, of Ashby St Ledger, was fined, received five points on his driving license and was ordered to pay £100 in costs and a £101 victim surcharge. He had pleaded guilty to driving without due care or attention when he appeared before Northampton Magistrates Court on March 18.

PC Mo Allsopp-Clarke, of Northamptonshire Police’s Safer Roads Team, said: “Miley initially pleaded not guilty to the offence, claiming he had driven extremely slowly past the group and was unable to move further across.

“The video evidence clearly showed that Miley had no consideration for the cyclists on that day, and when he appeared at Magistrates’ Court, he changed his plea to guilty. His driving him fell below the standard of a competent and careful driver, which could have very easily ended in tragic consequences, and I’m pleased the courts have dealt with the driver positively.

“Drivers should always try to give cyclists and other vulnerable road users at least 1.5m of space and pass slowly. In this instance, on this road, that would not be possible. On this occasion, the correct thing to do would have been to come to a stop to allow the cyclists to pass safely.

“It takes a couple of seconds and then everyone can continue their journey in safety.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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