Green mayoral candidate blames rise in illegal drivers and cuts to police budgets

Nearly ten people a day in London suffer injuries as a result of hit-and-run collisions, according to figures obtained by the Evening Standard. The newspaper adds that 15 people were killed, and more than 300 seriously hurt, in the 3,400 such incidents that took place in 2010. Jenny Jones, Green Party mayoral candidate, says an increase in the number of illegal drivers in the capital is to blame, together with a cut in police budgets.

Cyclists who have lost their lives in hit-and-run incidents in London in recent years include 46-year-old Michael McLean from Walthamstow, who was killed on Forest Road in 2007, Kim Vin Thi from Southwark, aged 61, who was struck by a motorcycle while riding on the northbound cycle lane on Blackfriars Bridge in 2003, and 31-year-old Adrianna Skrzypiec, who was hit by a lorry in Greenwich two years ago.

While the number of hit-and-run incidents on the capital’s streets is well below the 5,800 seen in 2002, Ms Jones, who is a member of the Metropolitan Police Authority, described the current level of such collisions as “astonishing.”

"The traffic police are a small but incredibly efficient part of the Met and they do a fantastic job in very difficult circumstances,” she said.

“But the number of hit-and-runs London is seeing is absolutely astonishing. Something really needs to be done about it,” Ms Jones continued.

"My belief is that it's to do with the increasing numbers of illegal drivers who are on the roads. It's all about good enforcement.

"We can't catch all these drivers without good enforcement and that means the traffic police having the funds to do their job.”

The Standard reports, however, that the Metropolitan Police’s Traffic Operational Command unit has seen its budget cut from £47 million in 2009/10 to less than £45 million this year.

"If they are not being given the proper funding and are losing officers, then they are not going to be able to work to stop all these hit-and-runs."

"For me it's a no-brainer,” Ms Jones added. “I am furious that the traffic police have had their budget cut like this. It doesn't seem right. This is a huge problem in London and it’s getting worse.”


Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.


gazzaputt [232 posts] 6 years ago

After being a victim of a hit and run in 2009 I'd like to add the Metropolitan Police's disinterest in pursuing hit and run cases.

Whilst being attended to by a paramedic in the ambulance the kindly WPC insisted I signed her notebook for a statement. The fact the both my hands were bleeding badly seemed to pass her by. With her being insistent that I sign the notebook the paramedic had top ask her to leave the ambulance and follow us to the hospital and speak with me there. The WPC never did.

I had to follow up to make sure that CCTV from the area and local buses was obtained. Even then the footage wasn't reviewed by the police!

Unless the drive bothers to stop it seems the Metropolitan police can't be arsed.

botoxking [31 posts] 6 years ago

@gazzaputt I completely agree. They do not care about cyclists at all - I was hit and they had the lady responsible but said the maximum fine she would receive would be £30 and it wasn't worth their time pursuing the case. In the hospital the doctor told me had I been in my 40s or 50s I would have been very seriously injured (apparently you're a bit more springy in your 20s). They don't seem to be interested or able to do anything about bad, aggressive, careless or dangerous driving in London....

As for bike thefts.... don't even get me started on the London police forces!

Paul M [363 posts] 6 years ago

The Evening Standard's use of the term "collision" reinforces the misinterpretation of these incidents as though the victim is somehow implicated.

"Collision" surely implies that two objects with similar mass and speed but travelling in different directions come into contact with each other. Subatomic particles "collide" in a particle accelerator. Asteroids occasionally "collide" with the moon or the earth. Motor vehicles travelling in opposite directions "collide".

When a motor vehicle hits a pedestrian, cycliss or horse rider, that is not a "collision" because the mass and velocity of the two are wildly different - the motor vehicle knocks down, runs over, hits, or whatever, the pedestrian etc.

londonplayer [621 posts] 6 years ago

It's information such as this that makes me think I should just give up cycling in London. It's bad enough when the morons have a driving license but when they don't, anything could happen.

the-yorkshire-p... [173 posts] 6 years ago

given the number of near misses I've had, I'm surprised the numbers are so low...

2byte [13 posts] 6 years ago

Not really surprised to be honest.

I was knocked over the other week by a coach pulling into the cycle lane on Putney Bridge. It just drove off and another cyclist asked if I was okay.

Slightly grazed and a bit shocked but didn’t feel it was worth the hassle of reporting to be honest.

The coach had a big sticker on the back saying Cheetah Coaches BTW.

OldRidgeback [2855 posts] 6 years ago

A friend of mine was knocked off his bike at a busy junction in South London last year. He landed heavily and broke both his elbows and was lucky not to have more serious injuries. The elbows healed well fortunately. The car driver, who had turned left on my friend without indicating, had sped off after the incident. The traffic cameras that should have caught the incident were apprently pointing in the wrong direction, or perhaps the police simply weren't interested.

The attitude of the police with regard to hit and run incidents is appalling. If the incident involves a fatality they do tend to take action but otherwise they don't seem to give a toss. Don't get me started on how the police treat bicycle theft - but in short it seems as if the victim is considered a nuisance.

On my commute I pass plenty of vehicles that are clearly unroadworthy but the police never seem to notice. And I also pass many vehicles being driven by people smoking cannabis but again, the police don't seem to care.

One of the issues that really gets up my nose as a road user (car, motorcycle and cyclist) is the focus on controlling speeding in recent years. Actual traffic policing has been downgraded as a priority, with the result that unsafe vehicles and poor driving and hit an run incidents ahve all been allowed to continue. A decrease in the fatality rate has occurred but had the police taken positive action on road policing, this could have been rather more significant in terms of scale.

ribena [187 posts] 6 years ago

Also been the victim of a hit and run in London.

Driver slowed down, looked out of the rear view mirror and then drove off. Number plate was useless to the police, though they did log it on there system so it'll be flagged up on the ANPR system. I never heard anything back.

alotronic [538 posts] 6 years ago

Ah dear... Yes been a victim of a couple of road rage assualts on London's streets, par for the course when commuting in London I am afraid and partly what pushed me back in moutain biking instead of getting mowed over on Essex roads.

What surprises me most about this article is there is a Traffic Police Force in London. I have lived here 8 years and was ignorant of this forces existence mostly, I suspect, because I've never seen one on the street...