Cyclist Gareth Williams featured in BBC's The War on Britain's Roads inundated with death threats

  • Gareth Williams, 24, provided footage from his helmet camera for The War on Britain's Roads which aired on Wednesday night
  • Angry motorists and cyclists took to Twitter accusing Williams of being 'antagonistic' and 'confrontational'
  • One Twitter user said that Williams 'deserves to be knocked off his bike and die!'

By Keith Gladdis

PUBLISHED: 17:23 EST, 6 December 2012 | UPDATED: 14:54 EST, 7 December 2012

A cyclist who took part in a documentary highlighting his clash with a taxi driver has become the target of death threats from motorists.

Gareth Williams provided the BBC with footage filmed on  his helmet camera for The War On Britain’s Roads, which was broadcast on Wednesday night.

But after it was shown he was branded ‘smug’, ‘antagonistic’ and ‘confrontational’ online by viewers and even subjected to threats such as he ‘deserves to be run over’.

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Abuse: Gareth Williams, pictured, was inundated with abuse following his appearance on BBC1's The War on Britain's Roads on Wednesday night

Abuse: Gareth Williams, pictured, was inundated with abuse following his appearance on BBC1's The War on Britain's Roads on Wednesday night

Anger: In one of the film's most controversial moments, Williams slapped the side of a taxi and then captured his confrontation with driver Michael on his helmet camera

Anger: In one of the film's most controversial moments, Williams slapped the side of a taxi and then captured his confrontation with driver Michael on his helmet camera

Fraying tempers: Williams call the cabbie a 'mug' and then accuses him of assault for poking the helmet camera

Fraying tempers: Williams call the cabbie a 'mug' and then accuses him of assault for poking the helmet camera

Mr Williams, 24, was seen arguing with a taxi driver who pulled over to remonstrate after he had banged on the side of his cab following a near-miss.

He antagonised the driver by sarcastically applauding him and calling him a ‘mug’ before accusing him of assault after he poked the camera on his helmet.

After the driver got back in his taxi Mr Williams followed on his bike, shouting: ‘You don’t own the road or the bus lane – you don’t own anything but your cab.’

Later on in the BBC1 documentary, Mr Williams boasted he was not afraid to annoy drivers by  riding in the middle of the road if it was safe to do so.

Now the urban cyclist has been inundated with hate messages on the internet, with some of the abuse even coming from fellow cyclists.

One Twitter user, known as Diesel, said: ‘The white guy in glasses arguing with the black taxi driver is going to get himself killed one day. Arrogant provocator [sic].’

VIDEO: Gareth's helmet camera footage prompted hate messages 

Punch-up: The show featured several confrontations between motorists and cyclists filmed on helmet cameras

Punch-up: The show featured several confrontations between motorists and cyclists filmed on helmet cameras

Violent confrontation: Simon Page, who was in a group of seven cyclists en route from Dover to London, was knocked to the ground in Bexley Village, South London

Violent confrontation: Simon Page, who was in a group of seven cyclists en route from Dover to London, was knocked to the ground in Bexley Village, South London

Street fight: Driver John Nicholls, right, was charged with assault - but escaped with a fine

Street fight: Driver John Nicholls, right, was charged with assault - but escaped with a fine

Shelby Sadler said: ‘I want to smack this guy with the glasses he’s an idiot.’ But some went further, posting messages which said they would mow down the cyclist if they ever saw him out on the road. A viewer who called himself ‘Jerry’ on the social networking site tweeted: ‘I’d happily run him over, thinks he’s mint.’

A viewer called Kate Bailey said: ‘This cyclist with glasses on actually deserves to be knocked off his bike and die!!!!’ A third said: ‘I am a cyclist, but [he] deserves to be run over.’

CYCLIST KILLED AFTER LORRY CRASH IS THIRD DEATH THIS WEEK

A cyclist who died after a collision with a lorry yesterday has become the third bike user to die in just a week.

The man, believed to be in his 30s, was hit on a busy road into east London in the morning rush hour and pronounced dead at the scene.

The lorry driver has been arrested on suspicion of causing death by careless driving and is being questioned by police.

Commercial Road was closed for five hours after the accident and buses were diverted.

Jonathan Lopez, a journalist who lives nearby, said: 'Commercial Road doesn’t have any bike lanes, but it’s a very, very busy road. That man’s family is going to be destroyed.'

The latest casualty comes after an 87-year-old cyclist died in Cheltenham and a 48-year-old man in Bicester on Tuesday.

It means 114 cyclists have been killed on the country’s roads this year alone.

Mr Williams writes a blog, The Croydon Cyclist, on which he uploads footage of dangerous drivers and publishes the registration number of the vehicles involved.

He also edits a website, cyclecamera.tv, that allows cyclists to share video camera footage of incidents filmed while riding.

Last night Mr Williams, who cycles 30 miles a day in and out of London, dismissed the threats.
He said: ‘I don’t see it as cyclist v motorist. It’s good road user v bad road user. It’s hot air.

‘People think they are anonymous on the internet. Come the real world, they will run away crying. I don’t think I’m at risk.

'I get lots of people on YouTube saying, “If I see you I will run you over. You are going to die.” You get so used to it you just ignore it.’

However, Mr Williams said he may take a break from posting videos recorded on his helmet camera.
He said he was ‘disappointed’ with the way the documentary was edited and claimed it had started out with a different vision.

‘They kind of represented me as Jack-the-lad and a cocky, arrogant young guy,’ he said. ‘I comment on bad cyclists as well. I’m not just going for bad motorists.’

The documentary was condemned by the joint chairman of the Parliamentary Cycling Group, Labour MP Ian Austin.

He described the programme as ‘stupid, sensationalist, simplistic, irresponsible nonsense’.

'Arrogant': Some Twitter users accused Gareth Williams of being a 'provacator' looking for trouble with motorists'

'Arrogant': Some Twitter users accused Gareth Williams of being a 'provacator' looking for trouble with motorists'

Twitter storm: Many took exception to Gareth on Twitter

Twitter storm: Many took exception to Gareth on Twitter

Road rage: Michael, a 52-year-old cabbie of 19 years, also got his chance to say his piece to camera in the programme

Road rage: Michael, a 52-year-old cabbie of 19 years, also got his chance to say his piece to camera in the programme

CYCLIST KILLED BY CAR AFTER YEARS OF CAMPAIGNING FOR SAFER ROADS

A cyclist who dedicated his life to campaigning for safer roads was killed by a car knocking him off his bicycle, an inquest heard.

Former university lecturer Mark Brummell (right), 53, was hit by a Renault Scenic at some crossroads during a leisurely evening bike ride through the New Forest, Hants, after work.

The cycling fanatic had been a leading member of a safety campaign group for 10 years, did not own a car and road everywhere.

He was knocked off his beloved cycle by driver Stephen Chard in Ipley, but died later in hospital.

Chard, 59, of Highcliffe, Dorset, was banned from the roads for a year after pleading guilty to causing death by careless driving.

Coroner Keith Wiseman recorded a verdict of accidental death at an inquest.

In a statement read to the court, Mr Brummell's brother Nic said he feels no anger towards Chard, who he believes made a 'genuine mistake'.

He said: 'I'm a cyclist myself and I know how, with no malice, it is easy for human error to cause something so serious.

'I feel this man [Chard] would not have meant to hurt or kill my brother and just made an error. I don't feel anger towards him.'

Chard was also ordered to complete 100 hours of unpaid work and pay 85 pounds costs by Southampton magistrates following the crash in May.

VIDEO: Cyclist attack in Bexley, south-west London

 
By Staff 12/07/2012 06:54:00