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Rider injured and bike written off after car crossed grass verge and struck him on shared use path

A Dorset cyclist who needed to be treated in hospital after suffering cuts and bruises when he was knocked off his bike by a car while riding on an off-road shared use path has expressed his frustration after learning that the only action taken against the motorist involved was to offer her a place on a driver awareness course.

Mike Anwyll, aged 51, whose bike was written off in the incident, told the Bournemouth Echo that he couldn't understand Dorset Police's decision.

He told the newspaper: “It felt like a bomb had gone off under the bike – I didn’t realise what had happened at first.

“My issue is not really with the driver. It’s with the police over the lack of consistency in these things.

“For instance, my father-in-law was fined and got penalty points for doing 36mph at 4am on his way to the airport.

“On the other hand, I get knocked over by someone who loses control, mounts the pavement and crosses a grass verge on to the designated cycle path. This doesn’t make sense.”

A look at Gravel Hill in Poole on Google Street View shows that a shared use path runs alongside the road in several stretches, separated form the main carriageway by a grass verge that is at least one metre wide and in some places much wider.

The cyclist complained to Dorset Police and received a reply in which a representative of the force stated: “I have concluded that the driver was sufficiently blameworthy to justify further police action.

“In view of the poor driving judgement shown, I intend to make an offer of attendance on a driver awareness course. 

“While there is sufficient evidence to justify a prosecution, there is no provision in law for a magistrate to order such retraining and the imposition of a fine and penalty points will not do anything to correct poor driving habits.”

However, Mr Anwyll, who commutes by bike to his work each day as an electrician and now has 21 days to reply to the police’s letter, said: “I find that a really strange admission to make, that fines and points don’t have any effect as far as driving habits are concerned.”

He added that the motorist had said that the incident had been caused by an issue with her vehicle’s steering, although if a mechanical problem is to blame, that doesn’t seem to tally with the police’s decision to offer her a place on a driver awareness course.

A spokesman for Dorset Police told the Bournemouth Echo that they were unable to comment on individual cases but added: “Every case is different and all the evidence will have been looked at.”

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.

42 comments

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YorkshireMike [91 posts] 3 years ago
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I completely empathise with this. I was knocked off my bike while using a cycle lane a couple of weeks ago when a driver decided to pull out without using his mirrors. I required an ambulance etc for cuts and bruising, my bike and clothing were damaged and I was highly visible, with a big LED on my handlebars. My bike is my only form of personal transport, and I had to take 2 weeks off riding.

What does the driver get? Nothing.

It's carelessness, and could have been so much worse.

I got a letter saying 'no further action needed to be taken'. Why not? It's so frustrating.

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sponican [88 posts] 3 years ago
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Gravel Hill is in Poole, not Bournemouth.

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gazza_d [459 posts] 3 years ago
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Wonder if the police would be so keen to send the cyclist on a bikability course if he's ran off the path onto the road and into the car?

Wonder if the driver would have been keen on that result also?

This was a serious lapse of the driver's control though and I would have expected a prosecution. Pretty sure the court could order a retest, but given how lenient they are, this may be as much as the driver would get

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AWPeleton [3310 posts] 3 years ago
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A driver awareness course is better than a paltry fine and 3 points which would prove nothing.

The course will improve their driving and make them more aware so that hopefully this wont happen again, however there will be people who completely disagree and will want the drivers head on a stake.

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andyp [1448 posts] 3 years ago
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'Gravel Hill is in Poole, not Bournemouth.'

There are far more important issues here, but nowhere does it say that Gravel Hill is in Bournemouth.

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benb [80 posts] 3 years ago
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"the imposition of a fine and penalty points will not do anything to correct poor driving habits"

Of course it will! They will either learn to be better drivers, or be banned (eventually)

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sponican [88 posts] 3 years ago
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Bournemouth has recently been in the news as one of the worst cycle accident blackspots in the country. This story is tagged as 'bournemouth' which then automatically associates it with those stories. For instance, the top news item linked with this story is "Bournemouth cycle safety pledge following claim it's second most dangerous place to ride outside London". Reading this might lead one to question that pledge. That would be unfair, as this incident happened in a different town.

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Bez [593 posts] 3 years ago
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benb wrote:

"the imposition of a fine and penalty points will not do anything to correct poor driving habits"

Of course it will! They will either learn to be better drivers, or be banned (eventually)

No, I disagree - I'm with Dorset Police on this. Points and fines do nothing. Fines are a pittance in the grand scheme of driving (indeed they're often dismissed as a "tax on the driver") and points have no effect until you accrue 9 within a certain period. Even when you get 12 you can often keep driving.

That said, I don't think simply settling for an awareness course is the right path, either.

What's needed is a punishment with teeth, such as a short ban or brief confiscation of the vehicle. Plus the awareness course, and the additional insurance premium.

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benb [80 posts] 3 years ago
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So make them do an awareness course and impose points and a fine.

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Simon_MacMichael [2450 posts] 3 years ago
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sponican wrote:

Gravel Hill is in Poole, not Bournemouth.

Thanks, Sponican, the Bournemouth Echo's story didn't mention it was in Poole so we're grateful for some local knowledge, story updated.

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cat1commuter [1421 posts] 3 years ago
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Quote:

has 21 says to reply to the police’s letter

21 days, I believe.

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Nzlucas [123 posts] 3 years ago
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If the police felt it was necessary to punish this driver (albeit leniently) what is stopping the cyclist from suing (other than cost.)?

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Bez [593 posts] 3 years ago
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benb wrote:

So make them do an awareness course and impose points and a fine.

Well, yes. I was disputing the idea that points and a fine were effective, not suggesting that settling for a course was either sufficient or in any way punitive.

The practical problem would seem to be that the police have the option of either ordering the driver to attend a course, or charging them and letting the magistrates deal with it. Given that we've recently seen magiatrates apply a £35 fine and points where a cyclist was killed, that's not necessarily a great option.

The police have to work with the tools at their disposal and this seems to illustrate the fact that the system is fundamentally flawed in this area.

The interesting point IMO is that the police see the currently available punitive measures as impotent, and personally I agree with that.

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mattsccm [330 posts] 3 years ago
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The reason why fines and points don't work is that they are trivial. Any motoring offence should have two zeros tacked on the end of the current fee. That would make people think. 60 quid doesn't say you have been fined. Its less than an admin fee. 3 points mean now't either. 11 maybe, out of 12.
Of course the awareness course should still be run.

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koko56 [330 posts] 3 years ago
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That's pretty peculiar fo sho. My goodness

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Furry Mommy [32 posts] 3 years ago
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The police do nothing....shock, horror, gasp.....and we expect better of them!??  14

Sorry but after this incident that was videoed (low definition on You Tube but HiDef disc supplied to TVP) and with an independent witness, guess what TVP have done....??

Bugger All!

See: http://youtu.be/BoBye7ch1WI

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bike_food [169 posts] 3 years ago
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It's comical that the police 'offer' you the choice to go on the course. My sister in law was offered the chance to go on one of these courses after being caught speeding but decided to pay the fine and take the points instead.

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CGSmithy [15 posts] 3 years ago
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Furry Mommy - have you sent that footage to BP Mitchell?

I'm sure they would be pleased to see how their employees represent them on the road! Bearing in mind the construction industry is supposed to abide by strict H&S etc seems he might need a bit of re-training.....  3

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AWPeleton [3310 posts] 3 years ago
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bike_food wrote:

My sister in law was offered the chance to go on one of these courses after being caught speeding but decided to pay the fine and take the points instead.

Thats because its the easy way out. If your working you have to take the time off which will cost you leave and having to tell the boss why you want time off.

3 points and a small fine are easier to swallow.

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robert.brady [155 posts] 3 years ago
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stumps wrote:
bike_food wrote:

My sister in law was offered the chance to go on one of these courses after being caught speeding but decided to pay the fine and take the points instead.

Thats because its the easy way out. If your working you have to take the time off which will cost you leave and having to tell the boss why you want time off.

3 points and a small fine are easier to swallow.

Not necessarily so. The two people I know who have been offered the course have taken it to avoid the fine and the points. One driving from Brighton to Dorset to attend, the other being very much of the opinion that being offered the course was being "let off" and avoided the real punishment of the points and the fine.

Points and thirty quid fines may seem trivial to some people but I think to many they send a better message that it is a punishment for braking the law.

Rob

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graham_f [186 posts] 3 years ago
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There is a fine of sorts I think. The driver who hit me on a roundabout was given the option to attend a course but it was at his own expense - £130 if I remember rightly

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CarlosFerreiro [107 posts] 3 years ago
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While it's a little off topic, I was reading up on pedestrian crossing design across Europe and was interested to note that the penalty for failing to give way on a crossing in Belgium is €2400. Presumably drivers take care to the extent of not paying THAT more than once....

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Sudor [186 posts] 3 years ago
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The police prefer driver awareness training - no prosecution - less paperwork. Clearly, awareness training is positive however, he real problem here is that the courts cannot include compulsory driver awareness training as part of a penalty so it's either prosecution or awareness training. In some cases there would be benefit in the courts deciding to impose a mixture of both where circumstances warrant it.

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White jazz [9 posts] 3 years ago
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I did a driver's awareness course a few years ago. As I understand it you could do it if you we're slightly rather than greatly over the speed limit.
It did cost a not insignificant amount.
It was really good - essentially an accident prevention course, looking at speed, road signs and conditions, mirrors. We also had a session with a driving instructor in the afternoon, about 40 minutes of one to one.
It was a useful reminder that all the things you think you're doing subconsciously - checking mirrors, anticipating other users - you aren't necessarily doing.
I'd like to see much more of this kind of constructive response to poor driving, perhaps combined with tv advertisements that educate on driving and cycling skills/awareness.

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sfichele [141 posts] 3 years ago
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The wife did the course and on the whole she had praise for it. BUT she also pointed out a typical problem with regards to cycling awareness!

A picture of a scene was shown to the group, consisting of a road, a petrol station, cars etc. The group was asked to identify the hazard.

The wife said there is a cyclist and the road narrows to a pinch point - obviously a correct answer of many.

Trainer: nope that's wrong the answer. The answer he was looking for was someone might be pulling out of the petrol station forecourt and you should be looking for that. No consideration or discussion was planned regarding the cyclist and the pinch point.

I suspect there is very little formal training for the course organisers regarding cycling. In which case it is hardly conducive to correcting bad drivers who have collided with a cyclist.

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doc [167 posts] 3 years ago
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There is a cost as mentioned for the course. It varies a bit, but upwards of £90-100 is average. Plus a day off work. Someone I know was caught at 36 in a 30 zone and opted for the training to keep a clean licence. He said it was one of the best days training he had ever had, and having been in a car with him, is a better driver for it. One thing not mentioned - you can only do this once. If you get caught again it's fines and points, no choice.
I would prefer that drivers who make a mistake get trained rather than just fork out £60 and carry on as before.

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md6 [181 posts] 3 years ago
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I'm beginning to think that in cases like this, where the poolice do nothing really that the only course of action is to start taking court action against the driver. It is clear that if ou leave the road, cross a grass verge and hit someone, you were driving without due care and attention and reckless endangerment at the least. I think that actual court action would chang the driver's habbits. You know, a trial and whatnot. But if the police (CPS) are too spineless to take action then the cyclist should...god i hate myself for saying that

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Noelieboy [87 posts] 3 years ago
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YorkshireMike wrote:

I completely empathise with this. I was knocked off my bike while using a cycle lane a couple of weeks ago when a driver decided to pull out without using his mirrors. I required an ambulance etc for cuts and bruising, my bike and clothing were damaged and I was highly visible, with a big LED on my handlebars. My bike is my only form of personal transport, and I had to take 2 weeks off riding.

What does the driver get? Nothing.

It's carelessness, and could have been so much worse.

I got a letter saying 'no further action needed to be taken'. Why not? It's so frustrating.

Where there's blame, There's a claim...
Plenty of ambulance chasing lawyers out there.
I was knocked off in 2010 it took 6 months to complete but I recouped my losses + some more.
Get on the phone!!!

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notfastenough [3679 posts] 3 years ago
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sfichele wrote:

The wife did the course and on the whole she had praise for it. BUT she also pointed out a typical problem with regards to cycling awareness!

A picture of a scene was shown to the group, consisting of a road, a petrol station, cars etc. The group was asked to identify the hazard.

The wife said there is a cyclist and the road narrows to a pinch point - obviously a correct answer of many.

Trainer: nope that's wrong the answer. The answer he was looking for was someone might be pulling out of the petrol station forecourt and you should be looking for that. No consideration or discussion was planned regarding the cyclist and the pinch point.

I suspect there is very little formal training for the course organisers regarding cycling. In which case it is hardly conducive to correcting bad drivers who have collided with a cyclist.

Crazy. I've noticed that learner drivers are split maybe 60/40 AGAINST leaving me sufficient room when they pass. How are things ever supposed to change while instructors are teaching in this fashion?

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Carl [137 posts] 3 years ago
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Here's a novel alternative punishment: cyclists should be offered the option to punch a member of the driver's family with the same force with which the driver hit them.

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