VIDEO: Olympic legend Chris Boardman slams police reaction to Leighton Buzzard cyclist’s near miss with van

Cycling legend Chris Boardman has slammed Beds Police which said it will not investigate an incident in which a white van “almost killed” a Leighton Buzzard cyclist.

The force said it “did not have the capacity” to investigate the incident which was recorded on a bike-mounted camera by cyclist Tom Littlehales, 27.

The van caught on camera

The van caught on camera

The video shows Mr Littlehales, a life-long cyclist and member of the Leighton Buzzard Road Cycling Club, narrowly avoiding being struck from behind by a van which was travelling at around 30mph.

This week the Olympic gold medallist got involved in the row and asked Beds Police if it thought “deliberate intimidation and endangering is okay?”

Software engineer Mr Littlehales contacted Mr Boardman on Twitter after the police told they would only log his cycle-cam footage on their systems.

He tweeted a link to his video and asked: “Do you think it’s enough for @bedspolice to ‘log this as intel’?”

Chris Boardman

Chris Boardman

Mr Boardman, 48, whose mother died after a pick-up truck hit her while she was cycling last year, replied: “No I don’t think it’s enough @bedspolice.

“Do you think deliberate intimidation and endangering is OK? How much more evidence do you require?”

BBC Radio 2 presenter Jeremy Vine also weighed in on the public spat after a spokesman for the force replied: “Hi Chris, unfortunately we don’t currently have the capacity to review non-serious incidents or incidents which aren’t currently in progress.”

Mr Vine, whose helmet-cam footage of a confrontation with road rage driver went viral last summer, said: “You think that’s not serious? Are you kidding me?”

Mr Littlehales said the police gave Mr Boardman more information about their response on Twitter than they did to him privately.

A force spokesman told the three-time yellow jersey holder in the Tour de France: “However we do still get in touch with the motorists reported to give them advice.

“Hope this helps clarify things.”

Mr Littlehales said: “They told Chris Boardman they contacted people but they didn’t tell me they did that!

“I’m not sure that they have spoken to the driver, they told Chris Boardman that they do but they didn’t specifically say they have spoken to this driver. I think that would be a start but still not enough.

“It feels that they have got lots of other things to focus on and without enough pressure on them to deal with this it’s easy for them not to do a lot about it.”

He decided to contact the cycling legend after his front and rear-mounted cameras captured the moment the van narrowly avoided hitting him from behind at more than 30mph.

“I was considering ways to put the message out there and a friend suggested to make a fuss on Twitter,” he said.

“I’m very grateful - it’s good to have advocates like that.

“I thought I had about half a chance of him responding - but it was pretty much what I hoped for him to say - spot on really and he has said it should a national thing, dealing with close passes and I agree with that.”

Mr Littlehales said “there’s a strong possibility” he would have died if the van hadn’t seen him.

He contacted Mr Boardman after police told him they would only use his footage as “intelligence” if the same van was reported for bad driving again.

“At the very least they should review the footage and do something more about it,” he said.

“If I had evidence of someone threatening me with a knife and it was clear-cut what was going on, I would have thought they would get a police man to go to their house and do something about it.

“I already contacted them once before in the winter about something similar and they said similar things - that they would log it as intel - and to me this one was pretty much as close as it could be without actually being a crash so I was curious to see if even that didn’t count.

“They looked at the footage but then they said they would log it as intel - but you could crash into a cyclist long before anyone picks the driver up.”

His cycling cameras filmed the van swerving away to avoid hitting the cyclist from behind while he was cycling to work on a two-lane rural road going under the A505 in Leighton Buzzard on July 5.

Mr Littlehales said: “My impression is that he didn’t notice me till the last moment and swerved away.

“You’re supposed to give a cyclist as much distance as a car - 1.5m - but it felt like less than half a metre.

“It felt like I could have touched it quite easily and it was probably going at least over 30mph.

“It’s sad but at this point, I’m almost used to this sort of driving.

“I would say I have probably one or two [near misses] a month.

“I don’t see as dangerous as some people assume because I ride five to six thousand miles a year and I haven’t had an accident involving a car but at the same time there’s quite a noticeable minority of drivers that don’t give a damn.”