Over the weekend i became aware of an issue which should be made public, and serve as a stark reminder of some of the sorts of people we meet as off road drivers. Due to the ongoing legals of this situation i can only post limited details. This issue also involved a disabled passenger being put at severe risk, and i am aware that there are some contributors to the site having disabled partners, so is even more relevant.
A good friend was out driving a legal lane with his disabled other half as this is the only way she can access the countryside, and an unprovoked attack was made on them.
Being a considerate individual he pulled over to let walkers and other lane users pass safely, one group of six walkers decided to verbally abuse, then threaten them for being on the route in a 4X4. Being a senior manager, he decided to step out of his vehicle and explain the legalities to them in a calm manner, at this point they threatened to stab him with a pointed end on a walking pole. They threatened to also attack his disabled partner and his vehicle, he got a handle off one of his recovery tools to defend himself and his disabled partner due to the severity of their threats and general hostility. He dodged the attack and hit the perpetrator in the face and floored him, and made the other five members step back from him and his vehicle. His vehicle is comprehensively equipped and includes a small video camera equipped with audio which his partner had the foresight to turn around to capture the whole episode in pictures and sound. Two other walkers intervened and caught the whole incident from another angle on a mobile phone with video capture.
These two walkers split them up and one showed the attackers the way to some nearby cottages to enable them to summon medical assistance for the attacker who tried to stab my friend. His wife stayed with the vehicle.
Upon arriving at the lanes end he was met by two Police cars and promptly interviewed anout the incident as the attackers had also reported the incident from the cottages, and lied. They claimed it was them who were attacked, and not the attackers, but the video evidence was conclusive in showing the entire incident. In addition the two walkers who witnessed the incident were good enough to supply their names and addresses which were passed to the Police, and they also supplied their video footage as additional evidence.
This raises several issues, particularly the sublime arrogance of some members of the walking community, their hostility to off road vehicles legally on a route. More importantly it shows the lengths some of them are prepared to go to, them try to lie about it using the Police and legal system. The Police also commented that this is not an isolated incident, this is more disturbing.
Police offered some practical advice:
Never travel as a single or solo vehicle on a route.
Always report any incident to them as soon as possible, they are aware that many routes do not allow use of mobile phones due to lack of network coverage.
Try to carry a camera or mobile phone with a fitted camera and capture as amny pictures as safely possible, this hepls identify offenders who may be quickly arrested.
Reasonable force is permitted in defence, but try to do as little as needed to defend yourselves to prevent a civil claim from the attackers as the law often favours the attackers as victims.