Incident Report

Date: Monday, 9 March 2015 Time: 08.50am
I was on my bicycle preparing to exit Coach Road onto Midland Road. My route takes a slight zigzag: left onto Midland Road then almost immediately right into Brill Place.
I had negotiated the barriers in place at the end of Coach Road by cycling to the far left of them, in the gap between the left-hand barrier and the raised footpath/kerb. Traffic was heavy on Midland Road so I stopped to wait until it was safe to go. The lane nearest me is reserved for taxis and at the time was completely empty insofar as having any effect on my movements. The lane beyond that is a bus lane. The next lane beyond the bus lane is the one and only lane for general traffic. Beyond it is a lane marked for "loading only" . In the mornings for the past several weeks, the loading area has been occupied by construction vehicles (tipper lorries and similar) linked to the Francis Crick site. Sometimes the lorry drivers are behind the wheel, other times not; sometimes engines are running, other times not. It is difficult when viewing these vehicles from the side (as when exiting Coach Road) to determine their status e.g. driver behind the wheel, engine running etc, and thus difficult to predict whether they might move off at a time when the traffic lane is clear - which might occur just when it otherwise appears clear for me to exit Coach Road and cross over Midland Road right in front of the loading bays. On this particularly morning, there were two construction lorries parked opposite the exit from Coach Road. I could see into the cab of the second one but not the one parked in front of it, on the left of my view.
Given these circumstances, I am extremely cautious about entering Midland Road.  On the morning of Monday the 9th, I saw that the middle lane, which is the only lane for private vehicles, was very congested and slow-moving but not entirely stationary. However, one of my strategies in this situation is to watch the traffic lights at the pedestrian crossing further along Midland Road (to my left) and wait until those lights are red so that traffic truly comes to a stop, allowing me to cross Midland road between stationary cars to access Brill Place.
As I was waiting, I heard the sound of the barriers behind me in Coach Road going down. I looked behind to see that the large white unmarked coach I had observed the Korean tourists boarding about 10 minutes earlier was stopped behind the barriers, waiting to exit.  Once the barriers were completely down, the driver edged the coach forward and then to my right, so as to come up alongside me. I made eye contact with him with what was probably a very stern look! I would have preferred that he had waited in an ordinary traffic single-lane queue pattern.  As it was, without having changed my position at all, I found myself no longer in a safe position with a space buffer around me and a clear view of the traffic, but up the inside of a large vehicle - exactly where I never ever put myself. I was very unhappy with this situation, knowing his only possible direction of travel was to turn left.  With my sightlines completely blocked, I decided I would have to wait until the coach had completely exited (effectively jumping the queue as if I was not a road user ahead of him) before attempting to enter Midland Road myself.
After a short wait, the coach driver could see that no gap was going to open up in the traffic so he simply began edging the coach forward. His intention was clearly to barge a space into the very slow-moving queue of traffic on Midland Road. At just about the point when the front bumper of the bus was on the edge of the lane the driver intended to enter (with the front of the bus completely across and blocking the taxi lane), the driver started cranking the steering wheel hard to the left. I suddenly realised he was going to attempt to make the left-hand turn into Midland Road without a great deal of space, and could in an instant foresee the changing line that the coach would take during this manoeuvre. I glanced over my shoulder and indeed could see the rear wheels of the coach already tracking inwards toward me. With the coach blocking the taxi lane, I used that lane as refuge to move forward on my bicycle, then realised even then I was in the path of the rear wheels so I cycled about 10 feet down the taxi lane and then dismounted and got onto the footpath and lifted my bike onto the footpath as well.  From this position, I watched the rear wheels of the coach roll right over the exact spot where I had been standing - the spot where the driver had clearly seen me at several points in time and had in fact taken some care to steer around, with the front of his coach if not the rear.
At this point, from the foot path, I was able to again make eye contact with the coach driver. I pointed toward the rear of his coach and shouted “Did you see what you just did?” He shook his head vehemently and refused to engage any further.
I believe this coach driver was aware of my presence and location at every moment of his manoeuvres, from well before he cleared the exit barriers. The coach design seemed to provide very good visibility all around, so I don't think he had much if any blind spot(s). If, at any time, he could not see me, then his continuing to move the coach meant that he was doing so with my last-known location in his mind. He took no precautions to ensure that I had moved from where he had last seen me. Even such visual checks as he may have made would have been pointless because I did not in fact move at all until after he had already started executing the sharp left-hand manoeuvre, as it was that action on his part that alerted me to the danger.
If the driver did not know that the rear wheels of his coach would track inwards to such a degree, he has no business driving such a vehicle. If he did know, then he made a conscious and deliberate act to drive those wheels right over the spot where he last knew me to be.
I have since spoken to staff in the Customer Services office in St Pancras station, who refused to give me any information about vehicle movements at the relevant date and time. At that point, I only wished to write to the driver's employer to make a formal complaint. St Pancras staff gave me to understand that there would definitely be CCTV footage but that they would not review it themselves in any effort to assist me, but would release it to the Met Police on request.

Driver/Vehicle Identity:

The driver was male, aged 35-50, dark hair and dark-complexioned, stocky build. I saw him standing outside the coach speaking to members of the tour group preparing to board his coach, at the time that I exited St Pancras station toward the multi-storey car park to collect my bicycle. The tour group was Korean - many of the suitcases had Korean flags and other insignia. I had walked amongst this group through St Pancras station from the food court area.

The coach was one of the largest private coaches I've seen before. It was white or off-white/cream. There was no livery markings anywhere on the left-hand side, front or rear. (The absence of livery was something I particularly noticed when I passed the coach on the way to collect my bike, partly because it was unusual to see an unmarked coach and partly because I enjoy observing each morning as I pass through the station the various 'home' cities marked out on the many buses that use this part of the station.) At no time did I view the right-hand (driver's) side (where I now understand basic operator details are required to be displayed, albeit in quite small letters).

I viewed the front of the bus at the time that I heard the barriers going down, when I glanced behind me to see the coach approaching the barriers. I had no reason at that point to look at the registration number. After the incident, I had no further opportunity to view the front registration plate. The rear of the coach was not visible to me until after the incident had occurred (or presumably would have been, had I looked). At that time, I was so shaken and distressed that I had no coherent thought. I did not look again at the coach in any way for any reason. I hardly knew if I was standing or sitting or lying down. Unfortunately, even if I had had the wit to look at the rear registration plate, I doubt I would have had the mental capacity to memorise it, and I was not carrying any kind of writing instrument.
- The above is the content of my report filed with Roadsafe London on 14 March 2015

Short Term Impact Statement:

I was in some shock for at least 10 minutes after the incident. I vaguely recall crossing Midland Road on foot with a group of other pedestrians but have no recollection of consciously deciding to do so or of having checked that traffic was sufficiently clear to be safe to do so. I was completely not myself. I walked some way down Brill Place and stood for several minutes breathing heavily (a kind of dry heaving) before re-mounting my bicycle and resuming my journey to work. My state of mind for the rest of my commute alternated between a kind of auto-pilot and spells of hyper attention to everyone and everything around me. Upon arriving to work in Fitzrovia, I spoke casually to a few colleagues and then about 10 minutes later (now about 35-40 minutes after the incident) broke down in tears in the kitchen - the kind of tears where you gasp for breath and feel such constriction in your chest you fear you may vomit.

That evening, I needed to travel to the City. I chose to do it by bicycle as a kind of 'dare' e.g. when you fall off a horse, you get straight back on. I intended to use a quiet route that I know but saw on reaching Southampton Row that traffic was very light so I used the main roads and was able to reassure myself that all my training, experience and nous are still effective and functional. (I have passed Bikeability 3 and take a refresher course in urban cycling with Cycle Training UK every 2-3 years.)

The next day I felt quite tense and perhaps less assertive than I normally am during the rural part of my commute from my home in rural Bedfordshire to Harpenden train station, but I am determined not to let this incident make me give up cycling.

My mind set has definitely changed however - not the way that I cycle or conduct myself but in how I perceive the attitudes of others. I am accustomed to inattentiveness and even recklessness from motorists, and I deal with it and shrug it off. But now I have met someone who had both the means and the mens rea to do me grievous bodily harm. Knowing that there are people out there using the same roads as I use, with the mentality to kill, intentionally or not, has altered my perception of human nature. That cannot be undone.

15 March 2015


  1. You can request CCTV footage of yourself under the Data Protection Act:
    You don't need to wait for the MET, put in a Subject Access Request with the station. Doing this will at least mean that they keep the footage for longer:

    "You have the right to see CCTV images of you and to ask for a copy of them. The organisation must provide them within 40 calendar days of your request, and you may be asked to pay a fee of up to £10 (this is the maximum charge, set by Parliament). This is called a Subject Access Request. You will need to provide details to help the operator to establish your identity as the person in the pictures, and to help them find the images on their system."

    1. Thank you so much for this information. I have done this now. The staff at Network Rail Control in St Pancras station say they have never had anyone submit an SAR to them before!?! Now to wait and see if/when I get the footage, while meanwhile waiting to see if the police take any action.


Share This