Jeremy Vine: I felt I wanted to apologise to road rage motorist
BBC broadcaster Jeremy Vine said he regrets the fact the female motorist who screamed abuse at him during a road rage incident while he was cycling down a narrow London road was sent to jail.
Shanique Syrena Pearson was convicted on February 1 of using threatening or abusive behaviour and driving without reasonable consideration, after she was filmed verbally abusing Vine on August 26 last year.
Pearson, who was already serving a suspended sentence for unrelated offences, was sentenced to a total of nine months in prison.
“That particular incident, which ended up with the motorist going to jail, was quite an eye-opener for me,” Vine, 52, said, while publicising his latest memoir, What I Learnt, What My Listeners Say And Why We Should Take Notice.
“The actual business of prosecuting, which was done by the CPS, was exhausting, time-consuming and very expensive.
“The lady was jailed because she was already on a suspended sentence…
“But I regret that I was a part of it. My friends say, ‘Oh, but you were a victim of crime’ but I ended up feeling I wanted to apologise to her. On the day in court she came in with a suitcase because she was expected to be sent to prison. I would have been happy with just an apology.
“But in the end it’s not about me, it’s about the state deciding to prosecute this person… That’s a separate issue.”
Vine videoed the incident on a camera attached to his helmet and posted the footage online, which was watched by millions and went viral.
The public reaction to the incident surprised him, with many people supporting Pearson and criticising cyclists on the road, he reveals.
“I had thought, as a victim of crime, people would automatically sympathise with me. That was naive,” he writes. “Until my road rage incident I had simply not realised that if you climb on a pushbike, a lot of people will loathe you.”
He revealed that many of the 3,500 comments which arrived on his Facebook page commenting on the incident were critical of him.
He said he only read a couple of hundred of them.
“What is so interesting is that the anger was most conspicuous among motorists taking the side of the perpetrator,” he writes.
If he were to have a similar encounter now, he would just let it go, Vine said.
“The level of frustration and fear and anger and loathing that goes on behind the wheel of an ordinary car is just unbelievable.”