Spies sent on Leeds buses in ‘bad driver’ cycle probe

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Bus bosses are to deploy an undercover inspector to spy on a driver who allegedly tried to mow down a group of cyclists.

The news comes as figures show 31 riders were killed or seriously injured in Leeds in a year – with an action group branding some drivers “idiots”.

Arriva has launched an investigation after five members of Drighlington Bicycle Club had a near-miss with a bus on the A58 through Birkenshaw.

Cyclist Wayne Fitch, of Drighlington, Leeds, said the group was riding in single file in front of the single-decker when it sped up alongside them.

He said: “As the bus eventually came up behind us it veered violently and purposefully across the road and almost caused a number of our group to be brought down by his dangerous and, I believe, deliberate attempt to run us down.”

One of the group managed to catch up with the bus driver, who allegedly told them he had done it “because you slowed me down”.

Mr Fitch added: “To be so arrogant as to virtually admit what he did was pre-meditated and deliberate leads me to think that this driver has a serious issue with certain other sections of road users and a period of rehabilitation or retraining is needed as a matter of urgency before he does something he will truly regret.”

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents said 219 cyclists were hurt in incidents on Leeds’s roads in 2010. Thirty-one were killed or seriously injured.

A spokeswoman said: “We encourage cycling, but people need to feel safe to cycle.

“There needs to be good training and awareness among cyclists, but also among motorists. Road safety is everybody’s responsibility.”

Allan Luxton, secretary of the Leeds Cycling Action Group, said: “Unfortunately this is not that uncommon.

“Cycling around Leeds is generally safe, but there are an awful lot of idiots about.”

In a letter to Mr Fitch following his complaint about the October 30 incident, Arriva said: “It is likely that a plain-clothes inspector will be monitoring this driver’s performance over the coming weeks. 

“Further action may then be taken against him depending on the outcome of the inspector’s report.  This action can vary from retraining to dismissal.”

Managing director Nigel Featham told the YEP: “The safety of our passengers and other road users is paramount and we were concerned to learn about this incident. We are currently conducting a full investigation.”