Driver awareness course for motorist who knocked Bradley Wiggins off his bike

Police say matter concluded as woman who drove into Tour de France champ agrees to training

by Simon_MacMichael   February 13, 2013  

Bradley Wiggins in Oman (copyright Lloyd Images, Muscat Municipality)

The motorist who last November knocked Tour de France and Olympic champion Bradley Wiggins off his bike is to participate in a driver awareness course, reports the Lancashire Evening Post.

Wiggins, who was on a training ride from his home in Eccleston, suffered bruising to his body and lung, a fractured rib and dislocated finger in the incident.

He was a few miles from home when he was struck by a van driven by Cath Burrows, aged 44, who was pulling out of a petrol station in Wrightington. She said afterwards that she had not seen the cyclist.

The incident, together with one in Manchester the following day that resulted in Wiggins' coach at British Cycling and Team Sky, Shane Sutton, being hospitalised saw the issue of cycle safety briefly become front-page news.

According to a spokesman for Lancashire Constabulary, which had originally said it planned to summon the motorist for careless driving, Ms Burrows “has accepted the driver’s awareness course and as far as we are concerned the situation has been dealt with.”

Wiggins has described the enforced rest as a “blessing in disguise” following a hectic 2012 in which he became the first British rider to win the maillot jaune at the Tour de France and days later added Olympic time trial gold in London.

At the time of the incident, his programme included a number of promotional appearances to publicise his book My Time, co-written with William Fotheringham, but those were cancelled as he began his recuperation.

Wiggins is currently riding in the Tour of Oman.

16 user comments

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I can see that Lancashire Constabulary were in a tough spot here.

On balance this is probably the correct result given the circumstances and an approach the Police should be more willing to take even when the cyclist involved isn't a Tour de France winner. From experience it is a struggle to get the Police to take an interest never mind take action. Sad

posted by cookdn [12 posts]
13th February 2013 - 13:35

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So you hospitalise someone by careless driving and giving them an awareness course is the correct course of action?!

Totally disagree. Wrong message to drivers being given here, yet another example of cyclist welfare not being taken seriously.

If it had been a pedestrian, etc etc

posted by 700c [485 posts]
13th February 2013 - 13:57

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I'd be pleased as punch if this was adopted as common practice, however we all know full well that the police of only bothered because of the fame of the person involved and have no doubt swept plenty of other bike related incidents under the carpet since this has happened.

posted by farrell [1015 posts]
13th February 2013 - 14:05

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I was hit by a car on a roundabout the day after Wiggin's incident, and suffered a broken ankle which I'm not yet fully recovered from. It was after dark, but I was wearing a reflective jacket and had decent lights. I was already on the roundabout, the driver didn't see me and drove straight into me. He stopped, police and ambulance were called and he admitted responsibility. I had a letter through from the police saying that in only around 10% of cases is there sufficient evidence for court purposes to take further action. I then had a follow up to say they were satisfied that there was sufficient evidence of it being his fault to take it further, and that he was being given the option of attending a one-day "driver alertness course" at his expense (£130) and would have to complete a practical assessment at the end of it. The letter made the point that there is no provision in law for a magistrate to send him for retraining, and that a fine and points isn't going to do anything to correct poor driving habits.

I've got mixed feelings about it. While it does seem wrong that he's caused me a fairly serious injury and got nothing on his licence for it, I take the point about retraining being a more effective way of preventing him from doing it again than simple financial punishment / points. He did seem genuinely upset and shaken by the incident, and I am left feeling that the course is probably the best way to stop him doing the same or worse to someone else in the future.

He will also, apparently, be sent a warning that if he is involved in a similar incident within three years then he will be prosecuted.

posted by graham_f [73 posts]
13th February 2013 - 14:26

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farrell wrote:
we all know full well that the police of only bothered because of the fame of the person involved and have no doubt swept plenty of other bike related incidents under the carpet since this has happened.

I can only go on my experience described above, and I'm sure there have been plenty of cases where the police response hasn't been good enough, but I thought they dealt with my situation well and that they were on my side as the victim in the incident.

posted by graham_f [73 posts]
13th February 2013 - 14:30

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The problem is that an awful lot of drivers lack awareness of how to drive safely around cyclists. This should be a much more important part of driving instruction and testing. Waiting for a dangerous driver to hit a cyclist before they are required to learn how to drive safely is not acceptable.

posted by Fifth Gear [3 posts]
13th February 2013 - 15:04

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So what next beat somebody up when your drunk and get an anger management course? This crap is part of the reason nobody in this country has any respect for the law or the police.

Paul W

posted by PaulVWatts [111 posts]
13th February 2013 - 15:38

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On the recent occasion I was hit by a driver who wasn't looking, who did stop and admitted fault, I visited the police station and stated what had happened. The policeman told me that it was an insurence matter and nothing to do with the police, this sort of action by the police was only due to the victims fame.

posted by GREGJONES [90 posts]
13th February 2013 - 17:53

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I wonder if this outcome was published on the front page of the newspapers?? Probably not.

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posted by cidermart [446 posts]
13th February 2013 - 17:59

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Gregjones had a damage to property only crash it seems. Generally if it is minor damage, the insurers will sort things out and the Police can get on with the crashes where people get hurt. For minor crashes and civil claims it really does help to be a CTC or BC member, and get their legal assistance engaged on your claim.

47 years of breaking bikes and still they offer me a 10 year frame warranty!

A V Lowe's picture

posted by A V Lowe [432 posts]
13th February 2013 - 22:11

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Fifth Gear wrote:
The problem is that an awful lot of drivers lack awareness of how to drive safely around cyclists. This should be a much more important part of driving instruction and testing. Waiting for a dangerous driver to hit a cyclist before they are required to learn how to drive safely is not acceptable.

I have to agree-the big problem is that in many cases when people are learning to drive they are only being prepared to pass a test rather than think about being good drivers. Most of my bike routes are used by driving instructors and I have lost count the number of times where someone under instruction has come past me far too close, without the instructor doing anything. In fact, thinking back, I don't even recall any mention of cyclists when I was doing my lessons, although that was 19 years ago so maybe that has changed. It really does need to become a bigger part of the test.

posted by Otis Bragg [71 posts]
14th February 2013 - 1:05

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Sorry, I should have been clearer. I was injured. The policeman didn't even ask. In fact the policeman who I flagged down at the scene could only offer the afvice that I get his number plate and then ask tje driver for a lift home.

posted by GREGJONES [90 posts]
14th February 2013 - 7:52

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85mph on a deserted motorway at 3am in the morning = 2 points and an £80 fine. T-bone another road user = driver awareness course? Come on! There's something wrong with this picture! Mad as hell, as the saying goes.

posted by Argos74 [209 posts]
14th February 2013 - 8:24

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But if the driver awareness course costs £130 that is more than the fine of £35 for killing someone as reported recently. Person also has to have a day off work to attend course.

Is it right? Is it enough? Very difficult to say.

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posted by Blackhound [434 posts]
14th February 2013 - 10:35

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Blackhound wrote:
But if the driver awareness course costs £130 that is more than the fine of £35 for killing someone as reported recently. Person also has to have a day off work to attend course.

Is it right? Is it enough? Very difficult to say.

And the Message From The Law : It's less cost and penalties if you kill someone? What did Mr, Bumble say "The Law Is An ASS" What a true saying!

Although, I think the Driver Awareness Course, in the case of the lady who knocked Wiggins off his bike, is a result for cycling and cyclists. A result for future safety on our roads.

posted by Mostyn [387 posts]
14th February 2013 - 11:01

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GREGJONES wrote:
Sorry, I should have been clearer. I was injured. The policeman didn't even ask. In fact the policeman who I flagged down at the scene could only offer the afvice that I get his number plate and then ask tje driver for a lift home.

An injury crash must be reported to the police and they must at least record the details. It seems they don't know their own rules, or don't care.

posted by charlie_lcc [5 posts]
14th February 2013 - 17:34

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