Cyclist continues pushing for change after he was assaulted by driver, but was then given a police warning for swearing

David Brennan caught the incident on camera as he was punched in the face by a driver while cycling to work 

Police tape
(Image credit: Getty Images)

A cyclist has vowed to continue pushing for change after he was assaulted by a driver, but then received a police warning himself for swearing.  

David Brennan, from Glasgow, was cycling to work in October last year when a driver appeared to take exception to him filtering through slow moving traffic. 

After the driver accelerated to within inches of the bike’s rear wheel, Brennan slapped the car’s bonnet, with the driver then getting out and hurling abuse, before he then pushed Brennan and punched him in the face.

The cyclist reported the incident to police, complete with helmet camera footage of the incident, but after the driver was only given a written warning, Brennan was then given a warning himself for “breaching the peace” by swearing. 

Brennan has been working with charity Cycling UK to push for reform to protect vulnerable road users in Scotland, but he is now considering lodging a formal complaint with the police over the way he has been treated by officers since the incident. 

Speaking earlier this year, Brennan said: “I thought I was in danger and reacted to the fast approaching vehicle by slapping the bonnet with the palm of my hand. The driver got out and was incredibly aggressive, hurling abuse at me. He pushed me and then punched me in the face. I was left with a swollen lip and in a state of shock.

“I felt sure, given the very clear footage and the availability of a witness, that the police would take the incident very seriously.”

Brennan reported the incident to police that day, explaining that he had video footage and there was a witness in a vehicle behind, but after a month of waiting and contacting police at least five times, Brennan said he was then informed by police that the driver had been given a written warning. 

He said: “I felt angry and let down.

“I had been driven at, abused, pushed and punched in the face, and the driver was only given a warning? That’s not justice.” 

But the real shock came months later, when police visited Brennan’s home at 10pm to give him an official warning for contravening Section 38 of the Criminal Justice and Licensing (Scotland) Act 2020, or breaching the peace.  

In his latest update on the incident, Brennan said he has since spoken to the witness, who had been a passenger in a lorry behind, who has now tried to make contact with police but said officers still haven’t taken a statement.  

Brennan said as a result of this he plans to lodge a formal complaint against the police. 

>>> Tributes paid to cyclist Martyn Gall who died after being hit by a car as driver under investigation  

Cycling UK is calling on the Scottish government and Police Scotland to make three changes - a commitment by police to prioritise road safety for vulnerable road users, better guidance for officers dealing with reports from vulnerable road uses, and a single, effective camera footage submission system. 

Cycling Weekly has approached Police Scotland for comment.  

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Alex Ballinger

Alex Ballinger is editor of BikeBiz magazine, the leading publication for the UK cycle industry, and is the former digital news editor for After gaining experience in local newsrooms, national newspapers and in digital journalism, Alex found his calling in cycling, first as a reporter, then as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output, and now as the editor of BikeBiz. Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) Alex covered three Tours de France, multiple editions of the Tour of Britain, and the World Championships, while both writing and video presenting for Cycling Weekly. He also specialises in fitness writing, often throwing himself into the deep end to help readers improve their own power numbers.  Away from the desk, Alex can be found racing time trials, riding BMX and mountain bikes, or exploring off-road on his gravel bike. He’s also an avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.