Hit and run

by bashthebox   November 26, 2012  

Yesterday I was hit by a car and the car drove off without exchanging details.

Happily it was a low speed impact; I was stationary and the driver turned across me, going into my rear wheel - I didn't even fall off the bike, but the wheel is trashed.
The driver looked at me, looked at the bike, and calmly drove off.
I've got his plates, and I've got a witness.

And here's the crux of the issue - the police don't seem to give a shit. You go to the station, fill in a 'report book' which is essentially a written witness statement, and without an officer ever asking you questions or taking concern that gets sent off to traffic and you wait 4-6 weeks for them to do anything about it. I'm skeptical anything WILL be done about it.

So here's the thing - if, as a driver, you make a mistake such as turning at the wrong intersection or running a light by milliseconds (which are bad things to do, of course, but not exactly the end of the world) you'll likely get snapped for it and have a fine arrive on your doorstep within days.
But if you run someone over, you'll probably get away with it.

I'm quite upset, to be honest. My wheel being broken is irritating but hardly the end of the world. What's really shit is that a dangerous driver is out there continuing to be dangerous without so much as a slap on the wrist, when the police have all the information needed to at least pull the bloke up for it.
I appreciate there's worse things happening in the world. But this is the sort of day to day stuff that makes the average person's life at best unpleasant, and at worst life-threatening.

Anyone else been left to feel powerless like this?

18 user comments

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That's infuriating I agree. I don't know what to do about it though, sorry.

@Stumps, any ideas from the 'inside'? Will calling someone get it looked at?

Presumably the driver's defence if caught will be that your wheel 'shouldn't have been in the road' or some such. Did you take pics of the location and your position? Where did it happen?

Last night I would have considered trading a very loud baby for a really nice bike.

posted by notfastenough [3424 posts]
26th November 2012 - 11:32

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I was stationary in a right hard filer box, awaiting oncoming traffic to clear before turning right into a road.
The driver was turning right out of the road i was waiting to turn in to.
The junction was more of a Y than a t, so the driver should have widened his turning circle to go past me... but instead decided to go through me.
That he was driving a BMW came as no surprise to me.

posted by bashthebox [647 posts]
26th November 2012 - 11:38

3 Likes

Very, very similar thing happened to me a month ago in London, except the car hit my front wheel, writing it, the brakes and mudguard off.

A witness stopped and gave me her details, and I got the plates of the car. I checked the registration number out on DVLA which confirmed it was the vehicle I thought it was and then I got the insurance details via www.askmid.com

I tried proceeding with a claim against the policy holder straight away, but of course they denied it (and it may have been the car was driven by someone other than the registered driver), so now I am waiting for the police to get back to me.

Although I am most annoyed at being £160 out of pocket, I am also very annoyed with the police for not properly following up my 999 call at the time. My collision was at night and from the driver's reaction (hysterical laughter) I have reason to believe she may have been drunk. Surely the police should have been straight on top of a case involving a potentially drunk driver?

posted by corin_ja [5 posts]
26th November 2012 - 11:55

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The police use the excuse that they're overworked and have bigger crimes to investigate. The public generally allow the police that leniency. So where does that leave us innocent victims? Sitting in the middle of the road with a busted wheel.
I think my driver might have been stoned, to be honest, from the strangely calm way he looked at me and drove away.

posted by bashthebox [647 posts]
26th November 2012 - 11:59

1 Like

Drunk, stoned, uninsured, all likely reasons for certain types of driver to run rather than accept their responsibilities, in my opinion.

posted by corin_ja [5 posts]
26th November 2012 - 12:06

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Is this not another example of the contempt that other road users, and worse still, the Police afford us cyclists? I am fed up of being cut-up, being the subject of 'how close can I get to scare him' mob and the rising death tolls.

Why the hell this government can't solve such a simple problem like this by 'enforcing the law', they are responsible for reversing the economic problems - God help us.

There would be more 'silent' enforcement if some people (bad motorists) are used as examples - that is a hit and run, no exceptions, yet it appears nothing is being done.
I wonder what would have happened you were a pedestrian?

If I was approached being told I could have been guilty of something like this 3 weeks after the event then I would just say 'not guilty' take me to court - could you imagine the Magistrate being told that I was 'advised' of my misdemeanor three weeks after the event - it couldn't have been that serious,,,,,, could it, would probably be the response. It doesn't take a minute to trace a number plate to owner from the records they have at hand and they could probably be sitting outside the house before they driver got home.

Come on, I know our brothers in blue are under budgetry constraints, but what is it going to take to get something done - the PM's Wife hit off her new bike (though I sincerely don't wish this) ?????

Sacre-blur...... Sad

Grunt, puff, pant and groan goes the old man - but he gets there in the end. ;o)

trikeman's picture

posted by trikeman [386 posts]
26th November 2012 - 12:10

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To be fair, it would be the same if it was a hit and run incident had I been driving a car. The form's the same, the procedure's the same.
It's less a bicycle argument, more a policing of dangerous drivers argument.

But we've all heard enough stories about paltry fines and a few points put on a license to know that magistrates just don't take dangerous driving seriously.

Safe cycling isn't just about infrastructure, it's about an entire cultural attitude.

posted by bashthebox [647 posts]
26th November 2012 - 12:21

1 Like

bashthebox wrote:
I was stationary in a right hard filer box, awaiting oncoming traffic to clear before turning right into a road.
The driver was turning right out of the road i was waiting to turn in to.
The junction was more of a Y than a t, so the driver should have widened his turning circle to go past me... but instead decided to go through me.
That he was driving a BMW came as no surprise to me.

Blimey, I thought you were going to say that you were on a corner with your back wheel sticking out into the side road, which would at least have had a 'two sides to every story' ring to it. I disagree that he should have gone wider - he shouldn't have gone at all. If you had been in a car he wouldn't.

Last night I would have considered trading a very loud baby for a really nice bike.

posted by notfastenough [3424 posts]
26th November 2012 - 12:35

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Sadly, filling out a pro-forma statement and a few forms is literally all that is needed from the point of view of the justice system, as has been quite rightly identified the sentencing is pretty much pointless so why is there a need to carefully gather evidence with a trained police officer taking a handwritten statement and preparing a quality file?

This police officer is far far too busy to be bothering with life changing injuries/incidents caused on the roads of the UK to pedestrians, cyclists, horse riders AND motorists when they are constantly attending to the needs of the feral classes and their constant 'brain vomit' problems on facebook and twitter to pander to the people who pay the most for the services.

As bashthebox has quite rightly identified, it needs a complete cultural attitude towards safer roads (not just cycling) but sadly, this country is a toilet, has been for many years and will continue to be a toilet for a long time so I don't see any change coming soon.

I speak from personal experience, both as a cop and the fact that my wife was hospitalised for 2 weeks following being run down by a 'careless' driver - who in my opinion was dangerous but not according to the law Devil

charlie bravo's picture

posted by charlie bravo [51 posts]
26th November 2012 - 12:46

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charlie bravo wrote:
sadly, this country is a toilet, has been for many years and will continue to be a toilet for a long time so I don't see any change coming soon.

It's really not a toilet though. Most people are careful, considerate, courteous. But people are human, they make mistakes, they get angry, they do stupid things. And in a country of 70 million, or a city of 10 million, you're bound to come up against bad things relatively often, the law of averages dictates it.
As we've both mentioned, a cultural change would eliminate more of these incidents. The knowledge that if you drive dangerously, you actually get punished -that would help too.

It's really not great at the moment in terms of infrastructure and other things, but there's momentum building to make things better. We can only hope the roads become safer.

posted by bashthebox [647 posts]
26th November 2012 - 13:06

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bashthebox wrote:

It's really not a toilet though. Most people are careful, considerate, courteous. But people are human, they make mistakes, they get angry, they do stupid things.

Maybe I'm jaded and cynical from 11 years at the sharp end? Sadly there are a significant few making things shit for the significant many.

There are also terrifying moves afoot to bring business models, profit and therefore shareholders into British policing and that will be the death knell - it's not just the feral class who are ruining this country but the silent majority are unaware that we are sleepwalking into the biggest modern nightmare imaginable. Think its bad now? Twenty years time it will be truly awful and the plot of the film robocop will be pretty much a reality.

Anyway, I have plans to try and make a change with the way RTC's are dealt with, all down to personal experience. I have been to many hundreds of RTC's where people have barely a scratch or where there are literally brains and skull splattered across the tarmac. In the past I've turned up, put out some signs, put on my hi-viz 'invincibility cloak', directed traffic, filled out a collision report and watched the ambulance leave for the hospital then leaving all/most follow ups to the criminal justice unit which is staffed by civillians (some of them ex job) but, as you've identified that is so so impersonal and I NEVER thought about that until the bobbie who dealt with my wifes collision never came round to see us and still hasn't 13 weeks later which has left me disappointed and annoyed if I'm honest. Thing is, it's not something we have to do, follow ups on RTC's are not considered to be a priority, whereas constantly calling round to people who have been burgled is. Now, I've never been burgled and hope not to be - but at the end of the day, most of what you lose in a burglary is replaceable 'stuff' - the aftermath of an RTC can go on for months, years or indeed till the day you die and to show it the indifference we currently do is abominable if you ask me and I'd like to see it change. I'm just one cop and am not going to change it on my own - people need to bother their MP's, Chief Constables, PCC's and just about anybody else at the top of the tree, then maybe, just maybe - stuff like this will start to matter and a change will take place

charlie bravo's picture

posted by charlie bravo [51 posts]
26th November 2012 - 14:19

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Well it's good to know that there's at least one copper out there who cares! Keep up the fight Charlie.

posted by bashthebox [647 posts]
26th November 2012 - 14:29

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I would say that we all care - it's just that political and management bullying sometimes beats the will to live out of us and turns us into indifferent automatons - for which yes, I am guilty of being occasionally Plain Face

charlie bravo's picture

posted by charlie bravo [51 posts]
26th November 2012 - 14:47

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I was involved in a bizarre incident one evening last winter when an old lady drove at me very slowly on the wrong side of the road, overtaking parked cars on her side. Despite my shouts for her to stop, she just carried on despite me banging on the bonnet and eventually having to drag my bike off the road to avoid being run over. She went over my rear wheel and drove off. I ran after her but there was nothing that I could do to catch up and no witnesses. It was too dark for me to get a sight of the registration number too. It took me weeks to stop feeling annoyed and a little scared about it, not to mention the cost of a new wheel. You have my sympathy, the good thing is that you are alright and that hopefully any damage can be repaired at minimal cost.

So yes, I have been left to feel powerless just like you. I hope that you are OK, I couldn't even report my incident to the police. Fortunately these these incidents are few and far between. It would be great if the police took these things seriously. We've a long way to go before we change the culture of this country to accept, understand and value what we do but we'll get there in the end.

Ah! Condor

posted by Bedfordshire Clanger [325 posts]
1st December 2012 - 1:41

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Does membership of British Cycling not offer legal assistance with this kind of thing?

posted by paulfg42 [379 posts]
2nd December 2012 - 20:22

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I don't know, do they? I ought to look that up.

posted by bashthebox [647 posts]
2nd December 2012 - 21:28

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CTC membership does

Ah! Condor

posted by Bedfordshire Clanger [325 posts]
2nd December 2012 - 22:24

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"What is Legal Support and Assistance?
If someone else causes an accident in which you are involved we will provide legal support and assist you with a claim against a third party, subject to certain terms and conditions.
Who is it available to?
Race Gold, Race Silver & Ride Members"

Taken from:
http://www.britishcycling.org.uk/membership/article/memst-Legal-Support-...

Last night I would have considered trading a very loud baby for a really nice bike.

posted by notfastenough [3424 posts]
3rd December 2012 - 11:16

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