I cycle with a Contour Roam camera mounted on my helmet to record the regular incidences when selfish negligent criminal drivers try to kill me. I’m sick of having to be hyper vigilant to protect myself from complacent morons and their sense of entitlement and belief that they are so special that the law does not apply to them.

Today I was cycling north on Sydney Rd Brunswick at approximately 1.15pm when a small silver car parked on the left hand side of the road adjacent to the end of Mitchell St indicated that it was pulling out onto the road, then stuck its right front corner out into the cycle lane. It looked like it had not seen me and was not stopping.

I slowed and swerved to the right to avoid it. As I went past it I saw that the driver was holding a mobile phone to their right ear with their right hand while steering with their left hand.

driver00001 Brunswick Police Constable Ben Ashmole refuses to charge driver using mobile phone

driver00004 Brunswick Police Constable Ben Ashmole refuses to charge driver using mobile phone

driver00002 Brunswick Police Constable Ben Ashmole refuses to charge driver using mobile phone

driver00003 Brunswick Police Constable Ben Ashmole refuses to charge driver using mobile phone

driver00005 Brunswick Police Constable Ben Ashmole refuses to charge driver using mobile phone

driver Brunswick Police Constable Ben Ashmole refuses to charge driver using mobile phone

ULN-170 Brunswick Police Constable Ben Ashmole refuses to charge driver using mobile phone

I braked and came to a stop in the cycle lane ahead of the car, turned around and walked my bike back to the car. I yelled at the driver “get off your fucking phone” several times.

The driver (with the handbag in the photo above) looked like she was going to pull away and leave the scene so I stood in front of the car to prevent them leaving. The car, a silver Toyota Yaris hatchback, is registered as ULN 170.

I asked one of several witnesses to the situation to call the Police 000. They refused so I called myself. Within 4 minutes a police van was seen driving south on Sydney Rd. I waved it down and stated that I was the person who had called them.

Constable Ben Ashmole asked my name, date of birth and home address. He and his colleague then turned to talk to the driver, who had walked away then returned.

Two men who, from their behaviour, appeared to know the driver came up to me. The larger one stood unnecessarily close to me and threatened me and made a homophobic comment about me. The other smaller man got the larger one to withdraw.

meatheads Brunswick Police Constable Ben Ashmole refuses to charge driver using mobile phone

The police demanded that I withdraw while they talked to the driver. At this point I unfortunately stopped recording video.

Constable Ben Ashmole then talked to me. He stated that he had dealt with me before over the same kind of incident. I refuted this. He stated that in the previous incident I had lied to him. I stated that this had never happened and that he had mistaken me for someone else. Constable Ashmole failed to be objective. He appeared to be biased against me based his false belief.

The driver told two lies to the police that I directly heard – first that she was not using her phone while driving and second that I had threatened to kill her. These are both false and defamatory. The video proves that I did not threaten her. I called her a “fucking moron”. That is all.

The officers told me I was lucky that they were not charging me with an offence. They refused to charge the driver and told me if I wanted to complain about her driving while using a phone that I would have to report that separately. They instructed me to leave the scene.

Cyclists are injured daily by dangerous drivers. When taxpaying cyclists call the police for help, as they have every right to do, they should expect the law to be upheld and for criminal drivers to be charged.

The police failed to uphold the law. They were biased against the victim and let the perpetrator leave without consequence. One police officer also falsely accused me of lying to him. This is unacceptable and demonstrates that the cycling public can have no confidence in the police.

Brunswick Police Constable Ben Ashmole refuses to charge driver using mobile phone

47 thoughts on “Brunswick Police Constable Ben Ashmole refuses to charge driver using mobile phone

  • 19 June 2017 at 6:21 pm
    Permalink

    Your a fkn cocksuker and u overreacted, take the post down because your making a fool of yourself. Not even the cops believe you.

    Reply
    • 19 June 2017 at 7:57 pm
      Permalink

      Oh look, a bogan subhuman made a homophobic comment. How predictable.

      Reply
    • 21 June 2017 at 9:37 am
      Permalink

      This bloke honestly needs his head kicked in abusing an old woman like that. You are a disgrace champ and I hope I run into you one day.

      Reply
      • 21 June 2017 at 1:31 pm
        Permalink

        I have published this comment as an example typical of dozens of others. Note the gender politics. Men and women alike seem very keen to attribute privilege and frailty to an adult who is responsible for obeying the law. The driver’s gender is not at issue. Her behaviour behind the wheel of her car is. I’m not interested in your antiquated patriarchy.

        Reply
        • 21 June 2017 at 5:08 pm
          Permalink

          Would have been first off the Titanic hey Brian? Women & Children first be dammed! Antiquated rubbish.

          Reply
      • 22 June 2017 at 9:39 am
        Permalink

        Nice keyboard threat champ. Curb the aggression or I’ll put caps lock on. Think I’m kidding? Try me.

        Reply
    • 20 June 2017 at 5:42 pm
      Permalink

      I have already made a formal written complaint to the police regarding the behaviour of their officers in this incident.

      Reply
  • 20 June 2017 at 5:45 pm
    Permalink

    You over-reacted to the situation, and were in the wrong for kicking the car. The officer asked you to move away so as to avoid any conflicts arising by the clearly agitated larger man, which you seemed to take personally.

    There was no need to scream obscenities at the lady who was also clearly in the wrong, nor did you have to kick her car. You should both be charged. Her, for negligent and dangerous driving, and you for criminal damage, swearing in public and obstruction of the peace.

    Reply
  • 20 June 2017 at 10:26 pm
    Permalink

    I agree that Drivers using mobile phones are a danger. However your reaction was totally over the top and your language unacceptable to a lady, particularly one with a small child near by. You were not injured, or in immediate danger, you were however the aggressor. A shame as it weakens your case. Insofar as the Police Officer not charging the drive, it is rare that VICPOL (or indeed any other Police Service) would level charges against a member of the public under such circumstance when the offence was not witnessed by a Member. By all means exercise the prerogative and swear out a complaint against the driver. But… Swearing at a lady, and attacking her car, behaving with such vitriol? Poor Form!

    Reply
    • 20 June 2017 at 11:30 pm
      Permalink

      It’s easy to criticise someone for overreacting. Have you ever been side-swiped by a car whose driver isn’t paying attention? Or who claims that he didn’t see you despite being lit up like a Xmas tree? It’s extremely frightening and although the driver had to hear the obscenities, you can bet your life she won’t be driving with her phone again. Contact the TAC and they’ll tell you how many injuries/fatalities are caused by distracted drivers. It doesn’t make sense that someone should be laid up in hospital for months just because a driver thought they’d talk and drive at the same time.
      And it doesn’t matter that it was a lady driver. She’s still culpable if she runs over someone. Swearing at someone isn’t pleasant but I’d prefer that over being run over by a negligent driver.

      Reply
    • 21 June 2017 at 8:44 am
      Permalink

      I assume you are always in a car, thus protected by metal and not vunerable to a broken hip from a “minor bump” from a car, when the driver is not paying attention while using a mobile phone or the like?
      The reaction is totally valid, he probably deals with this stuff numerous times a day from dickheads not paying attention when operating a car.

      Reply
  • 20 June 2017 at 11:15 pm
    Permalink

    Can I ask why you feel entitled to ride on the road when you don’t have registration or don’t have to pay anything for it? You just seem angry and annoyed with your personal life

    Reply
    • 20 June 2017 at 11:17 pm
      Permalink

      Hilarious. I pay taxes like everyone else that pay for the roads.

      Reply
    • 20 June 2017 at 11:36 pm
      Permalink

      Cyclists don’t feel entitled – it’s the law. So unless you have the power to change the law I suggest you live with it.

      Reply
    • 21 June 2017 at 12:50 am
      Permalink

      Steve, you probably take the cake for most ignorant and idiotic comment of this post. That’s quite an achievement considering the already staggering amount of ignorant comments here.

      Registration doesn’t pay for our roads. Taxes do. So care to explain how cyclist don’t ‘pay for anything’? You’ll have trouble…because it’s simply not true (just an opinion of an idiot)

      Reply
  • 20 June 2017 at 11:19 pm
    Permalink

    Hey man,
    I get it, dealing with this behaviour daily from drivers sucks big time. Sadly this kind of reaction won’t change a damn thing, and only further exacerbates the divide between cyclists and car users. As a daily commuter by cycle I would find myself getting more and more worked up as I dealt with similar scenarios. In the end I have accepted that I can’t change driver behaviour, so for self preservation I have had to change my cycling behaviour. Can I respectfully suggest you consider doing the same. This takes some of the joy out of my ride and lengthens the journey time but I arrive in one piece. Sydney Rd is one of the most terrible roads in all of Melbourne to ride on. Can I encourage all cyclists to avoid it at all costs as there is a shared path running parallel to it along side the train line some 200 metres away. Stay safe and take care of each other. Peace

    Reply
    • 21 June 2017 at 12:12 am
      Permalink

      I think changing driver behaviour is possible. It requires changing the risk – reward ratio. At the moment the risk is very low compared to the reward of fulfilling your desire to use your phone. Make the consequences of bad behaviour much higher and the ratio changes and drivers will be discouraged from using their phones.

      Reply
  • 20 June 2017 at 11:54 pm
    Permalink

    Regardless of everything else, the police should have dealt with your fair complaint there and then.

    Reply
  • 21 June 2017 at 12:34 am
    Permalink

    It’s a no win. After hundreds of these sorts of encounters, if I swear then it comes across as verbal assault and I get a finger. If I try to be polite it comes across as facetious – “excuse me, do you mind not trying to kill me” tends to trigger aggression. I usually just stop and stare at them for a while now, in the hope that they might realise the error of their ways. I can count the sorries on one hand. I went to the police once after a near death encounter – the driver accelerated away – and realised they are a waste of time. The officer at the counter said I could only press charges if a police officer observed the event. He then commented that, between drivers and cyclists, “it’s war out there”, implying that it was a war the police wasn’t much interested in. Thanks for the post.

    Reply
  • 21 June 2017 at 1:04 am
    Permalink

    This happens to me all the time, I say good job mate! Drivers need to learn to share the road, too many cyclists have ended up dead because of distracted drivers.

    Reply
  • 21 June 2017 at 2:40 am
    Permalink

    In that context, my view is the cyclists behaviour is passable, given his heart is racing and adrenaline flowing to the max. Perhaps he shouldn’t have acknowledging his rage with that car kick (which caused no harm to the car), but he wasn’t far off being careened into another lane and under a car/into oncoming traffic – I’d be pretty ticked off too. Then to see the driver was not only oblivious to the cyclist but on the phone and realizing the situation was completely avoidable would’ve been infuriating. The White Knights didn’t help the situation either, the only action needed was to diffuse the situation, but to accuse an already enraged person of a crime is really dumb. Especially when the driver showed no signs of being upset and in fact was quite lippy. I would follow through with this video evidence, then the negligent driver and her knuckle head coward associate can learn the basics of driving the hard way. Also, congrats to those Police on achieving nothing in this situation, when they should’ve schooled the lady big time and advised the cyclist to be calmer. I’m sure the cyclist will have learnt to be better next time in an aggravating situation. No doubt the driver will be on her phone in the car tomorrow, endangering her child.

    Reply
  • 21 June 2017 at 7:32 am
    Permalink

    I recently got doored by some idiot, had my collarbone broken, would’ve been brain damaged for sure if not for my helmet and almost got run over. I am now hyper vigilant and feel for the rider in this case as I can similarly feel the visceral anger when someone does something stupid endangering my life again.

    Reply
  • 21 June 2017 at 8:21 am
    Permalink

    I have been struck by a cyclist as I was *legally* crossing the road at the lights in the CBD, the cyclist running a red light at speed and ploughing through the crossing pedestrians, thinking he could make a gap. He proceeded to ride off, and I had a broken wrist from the fall.

    While I agree in your instance that this driver was *definitely* in the wrong, it is NOT correct to say cyclist = holier than thou, driver = bad in all cases.

    Most drivers are not bad, just as most cyclists are not bad – there are the horrible minority like this driver in BOTH camps.

    Just something to keep in mind.

    Reply
    • 22 June 2017 at 9:35 am
      Permalink

      Yeah, pretty sure no one said that.

      Reply
  • 21 June 2017 at 9:06 am
    Permalink

    As a cyclist I know what it’s like to have a near miss and lose it, when your adrenaline is running it’s hard to contain. Use The Upfield bike path, it’s been upgraded since a cyclist died on Sydney Rd a couple years ago, local cyclists know to avoid Sydney road because of the type of motorists that it carries.

    But not a smart move publically naming and shaming the police and in particular officer that’s been shot before. I would watch out mate, the po po don’t like that at all.

    Reply
    • 22 June 2017 at 9:37 am
      Permalink

      Could have been avoided if they did their job. Just sayin…

      Reply
  • 21 June 2017 at 9:30 am
    Permalink

    I agree, that this is an overreaction to the situation. It could have been handled better by the cyclist, but I do understand the adrenaline rush that comes with cycling and the fear when a car pulls in front of you. However, abuse and increasing the victimising only further increases the void between cyclists and drivers.
    I’m a daily cyclist too, and was hit by a car, just a few weeks ago, on Rathdowne Street by a reckless driver, yet the man was kind enough to stop and offer me coffee and his details, and he himself was shaking. I believe this guy made a fatal error, and he felt awful for it. It ended up being me calming him down in the end. I don’t think that guy rocked up to work saying how chuffed he was that he hit a cyclist that morning. I was scared shitless, but only told him to please be careful next time and I even thanked him for his apology and kindness… it was all I needed. I just wanted him to take responsibility, and he did.
    The aggression only creates further defensiveness by the driver and ends up turning THEM into the victim… unfortunately that’s just basic human psychology. I understand the aggression to a point, but it seems to me like you were looking for a target and that did you no favours. Full empathy though. It sucks that you put in effort to be fit and kinder to the environment, yet these situations continue to present themselves.

    Reply
  • 21 June 2017 at 9:37 am
    Permalink

    If the women (and any person by that matter) was so inclined to bend the truth and break the law why shouldnt they be held accoutnable for their actions, Driving on a phone is illegal, or is that a ‘vague’ law?. Someone did get doored and killed on sydney road only last year, or did that not happen?.

    Also great to see a stong ‘Meathead’ with clear benevolent sexist and homophobic behaviour still exisits during the daytime, Im sure he is happy to walk around saving women with aggression and a stong obsession with cocksucking… a true man

    Reply
  • 21 June 2017 at 10:37 am
    Permalink

    Cycling aside, I was once walking through the CBD when some young men started verbally threatening some other young men. This escalated to a point where it became physical which is where I shouted ‘don’t be so fucking stupid’. I was grabbed by a police officer at that point and asked ‘Do you know how many charges there are for using that language in public?’. I said ‘no’.
    I was subsequently arrested and charged with a list of things that went something like : abusive language, offensive language, indecent language, aggressive language, disturbing the peace and resisting arrest. The group of young men were left alone by the police to carry on being aggressive thugs. One 12 month good behaviour bond and a hefty fine later I haven’t shouted at a fuckhead in the street since.

    Reply
  • 21 June 2017 at 10:45 am
    Permalink

    No over reaction she cut him off and was on the phone. I’m not a cyclist but she deserved it at most drivers and their incompetence do. I spent years at main roads and I assure you the average driver is very much unaware of their surroundings. A good telling off is effective.
    The cop should be suspended without pay for failing to adequately investigate the matter. His behaviour is grossly imbalanced, Presumptive, patronising dismissive and obviously inaccurate. ( typical cop) He allows the the cyclist to be threatened and abused right in front of him and does nothing. He then allows multiple people including the driver who’s outrightly lyiing to pepper him and when he responds the cop gives him childish attitude and sends him away.

    Reply
  • 21 June 2017 at 11:00 am
    Permalink

    Right – so, talking on the phone while indicating to pull out WITH A CHILD IN THE CAR (gosh, how safe for the child) and NOT LOOKING AT WHO IS ALREADY TRAVELLING ON THE ROAD is somehow okay, but raising your voice and getting angry because this neglectful action could possibly have killed you is a terrible, terrible thing? Please …

    Reply
  • 21 June 2017 at 11:51 am
    Permalink

    I can’t believe the police attitude! Did they even look at the video evidence?
    Great role modelling from the driver to the kid at the back… Unbelievable.

    Reply
  • 21 June 2017 at 12:16 pm
    Permalink

    Good on you mate! She should have been arrested. And as for the meathead cocksucker – what a cliche!

    Reply
  • 21 June 2017 at 2:00 pm
    Permalink

    Can you tell me a couple of things please. Are the police subsequently following up your complaint? do they have any regard for the fact that that you have video of the incident, have they taken a copy or the camera to look at it? What subsequently has happened if anything?

    And you could you keep us updated as there are developments in this. Thanks.

    Reply
    • 21 June 2017 at 3:47 pm
      Permalink

      I have already made a formal written complaint to the police regarding the behaviour of their officers in relation to failing to charge the driver and for making a false accusation about me – that I had lied to them when we met previously (which never happened).

      The police have not responded to this complaint.

      As they refused to process my complaint against the driver when I called them I will also be making a report to police with the aim of having her charged with the relevant offence.

      Reply
  • 21 June 2017 at 2:13 pm
    Permalink

    Had a carbon copy of your incident weekend before last, except I was hit. Fortunately in quiet side street, not where Id have been punted into traffic or under a tram like you would have been. Driver was genuinely aghast, so we had a sensible conversation about what its like to be assaulted by a ton of metal. I understand your anger, but your reaction was over the top, and does nothing except reinforce the idea that cyclists are asshats. Australian drivers are truly terrible, you wont change that, personally in the interests of self preservation, I wouldn’t ride a bike there even though its quite legal to do so. But I’m astounded that the driver wasn’t booked and fined, given the images.

    Reply
    • 22 June 2017 at 10:48 am
      Permalink

      SHOCK. IN SHOCK. reactions vary. Victim TOTALLY entitled to ventilate. Zero damage sustained to vehicle. Driver irreverent. Cause&effect. Wake up. Try out these Sydney Rd tramtrack+ bike+car relationships…..

      Reply
  • 21 June 2017 at 5:40 pm
    Permalink

    your reaction was threatening and intimidating and most likely a criminal offence. I feel sorry for the child who was probably quite scared and intimated by your behavior.

    Reply
  • 21 June 2017 at 8:40 pm
    Permalink

    Brian, what you did is the right thing. I support you.

    Reply
  • 21 June 2017 at 8:44 pm
    Permalink

    sometimes, overreaction is needed to correct such selfish and ignorant person.

    Reply
  • 22 June 2017 at 8:44 am
    Permalink

    i don’t think you should have kicked the car. at least, not in a way that can do any permanent damage.

    but i completely understand the rage at the ignorant actions of another, supposedly in control of a 1ton+ vehicle, which could have serious consequences for yourself.

    old woman. young man. old man. young woman. it should make a difference. their actions are illegal and placed you in danger. i would have said exactly the same thing to anyone that did the same stupid action.

    Reply
  • 22 June 2017 at 11:10 am
    Permalink

    Driver was clearly at fault. Not to mention the kid isn’t wearing a seatbelt and she opens her door in the path of another cyclist. I hope Victoria Police review your footage but I suspect your reaction to the situation is all anyone will remember.

    Reply
  • 22 June 2017 at 9:02 pm
    Permalink

    I had an incident last week on Sydney road where a car turned right directly in front of me while i was doing the speed limit (40km/h). I somehow managed to pull up with my tire resting on the passenger door and my headlamp flashing right in the passengers face. We both pulled over and had a civil conversation. We were both very shaken. I made a deliberate effort to speak calmly and rationally. He did not claim “he didnt see me”, he admitted that he misjudged his turn because he thought “bikes are slower than cars”. I left the conversation feeling very confident that he will be far more aware of cyclists in future. I have no confidence that any of the people you interacted with in your videos will do the same.

    Reply
    • 22 June 2017 at 9:13 pm
      Permalink

      I once did a fancy expensive management negotiation course. At the end of it, we were told ‘of course you can’t negotiate with people who cannot reason’. A driver who is so selfish and self-centred that their phone conversation is more important than the lives of other road users is clearly being unreasonable.

      I see no point in trying to reason with them. They are too selfish and stupid to change their behaviour voluntarily. They must be forced to by fear and punishment in the form of greater fines and the loss of their licenses.

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *