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by Matt de Neef
June 6, 2019
A New South Wales man who filmed himself hurling abuse at cyclists as he overtook on a roadside path has been fined and convicted of three offences.
You might have seen the footage: A pair of cyclists, riding side-by-side, as an irate driver barrels past on the cycling and walking path, screaming at the riders. “What’s the point of us spending money [on the shared path] if you’re not going to use it, you f**king d**kheads”, he yells, filming the riders as he drives.
“Pull over, so I can have a chat,” says one of the cyclists.
“F**k off, f**king idiot,” the driver responds. “Use the f**king bike track, you dumb c**t.”
The video, shot south of Wollongong on January 26 this year, has now been viewed more than 3 million times. The driver, 27-year-old boilermaker Thomas Duncan Harris, didn’t realise it at the time, but the cyclists he was yelling at were off-duty policemen. Police documents show Harris also abused another cyclist travelling in the opposite direction just before reaching the two officers.
Harris faced the Kiama Local Court on Tuesday having been charged with using his phone while driving, the use of offensive language, and driving on a path. He pleaded guilty to and was convicted of all three charges, receiving a total of $1,250 in fines — $500 for driving on the path, $500 for using his phone while driving, and $250 for the use of offensive language. With the offences occurring on the Australia Day long weekend, Harris received double demerit points for his offences, earning a total of 16 demerit points — enough for a license suspension.
In the wake of Harris’ video, a GoFundMe page was set up to cover the driver’s legal costs, raising just over $4,000. Harris has since donated the money, plus some of his own, to motor neurone disease research.
Since the incident, Harris has also taken part in a prescribed traffic offender program which, he says, changed his attitude towards the offences he committed.
“It made me realise, not everything is about me,” he told the court. “There is no rush to get anywhere and to be more patient.”