Road Justice Campaign challenges justice system to investigate, prosecute & sentence road crime properly (+ Powerful videos)

Cyclists can log incidents on campaign website & upload video data will be used to push for change

by Tony Farrelly   June 4, 2013  

CTC Rough Justice logo.png

National cyclists' organisation, the CTC has today launched its Road Justice Campaign which aims to get the justice system to take a more rigorous approach to investigating, prosecuting, and sentencing incidents of bad driving on Britain's roads.

In a statement on its home page at www.roadjustice.org.uk the campaign sets out what it is seeking to change:

"Road casualties can and should be prevented, yet the justice system is failing to ensure safety on our roads by not taking road crime seriously. The police and coroners do not investigate road collisions thoroughly enough; the prosecution services make weak charging and prosecution decisions, and the courts issue sentences that do not adequately reflect the severity of crimes committed by bad drivers."

A crucial part of the new campaign is collating reports of bad driving and court cases involving bad driving from both the media and also individual cyclists - you can report incidents and near misses on the Road Justice website www.roadjustice.org.uk and even upload video. The site also logs media reports. All of the data gathered is broken down by region, type of incident, other vehicles involved and the eventual outcome.

All that data is backed up by hard hitting testimony from some of the cyclists who have suffered both at the hands of bad drivers but also of a legal system which they feel has not properly held anyone to account for the pain and suffering that they have gone through, and in some cases will continue to go through for the rest of their lives.

Among the powerful testimonies on the Road Justice site is the case of Cait Hurley - whose legs were run over by a lorry which hit her while she was riding in the cycle lane on her regular commute across Southwark Bridge in Feburuary last year.

Cait's case is a grim illustration of just how high the authorities set the bar when it comes to deciding whether injuries are 'life changing' or not. That designation matters because as Cait explains in this video - because if your injures are deemed non-life threatening and non-life changing the police will not track down witnesses, or put the same effort in to prosecuting the driver - a charge of careless driving was dropped against the lorry driver who caused her inures due to 'lack of evidence" which, says Cait and the Road Justice Campaign, existed but which the police never attempted to gather. Despite her injuries being non-life threatening Cait, a mother of two young children, who previously rode 20 miles a day - now walks with two sticks. The only form of exercise she can do is swimming but given the nature of the scarring to her legs she finds this psychologically difficult.

Equally powerful is the film and testimony of Sarah-Charlotte Peace - known as S-C, she was due to start a new job as a design teacher and to expand her business teaching yoga when her plans were wrecked by a careless driver who ran over both of her legs twice when she knocked S-C off her bike at a roundabout. The driver received a fine of £110 with a £15 victim surcharge, £60 costs and nine penalty points on her licence. S-C attended the magistrates court for the hearing and was told by the magistrate that had they not seen the extent of her injuries the driver would have received a lesser sentence.

 

The new campaign builds on the work of CTC's Stop SMIDSY (Sorry Mate I Didn't See You) campaign and their recent efforts to get newly elected Police and Crime Commissioners to make road safety a priority. You can report you own examples of bad driving to the site - including video footage - by logging on to the site you can also support  through donations and by signing up for campaign updates.

To find out more visit www.roadjustice.org.uk

1 user comments

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I've been lucky over the years - cut up and clipped by a car where the driver, having noticed the 'bump' pulled in and stopped abruptly in front of me, causing me to 'kiss' the back of the car. No driver or car was traced, and I still have scars and a slightly less mobile right arm.

Then some years later hit from behind by a driver who had over 1/4 mile of clear sight of me on a dual carriageway. An impact speed of 40mph, but fortunately being fit my muscle tone acted as a shock absorber and by swerving to try and get out of the way, I did not go the classic 'chop in half' route over the front and into the edge of the roof. I watched the white line on the road pass below my head - luckily I was not wearing a helmet but hit the A pillar with my bottom writing off the car, and chipping my spine. That took over 5 years of regular spasms that could leave me in agony on the floor, and a need for regular pulling sessions with a physiotherapist to relax the spasm and settle the bones - fortunately this has settled over the years.

Then of course there are the falls due to road conditions, 3 in Glasgow over the years with hurting injuries, and every time a wriggle to get off the hook or pass the buck on why the road surface was sub standard or a claim that it wasn't substandard when last inspected. In 2001 I broke my hip decelerating from at least 20mph to 0 on impact with the road surface. That defect had previously felled a motorcyclist, and persisted on the site for at least 10 years, reappearing every time the patch of a cosmetic repair fell out of sunk into the void below, which was never properly fixed every time.

Nothing much changes at the junction at the bottom of the hill I regularly set off as the lights turn green only to need to dodge a car coming through against the red across my path, and as for patch repairs the quick slapping down of a coat of 6mm surfacing over the dire surfaces around here for a City Road Race circuit might last 6 months or so. Already the manholes covered over have been cut out (leaving a danger to cyclists from the holes and raised manhole covers - no warning or road works signs) and a further patch around the manholes introduced the key weaknesses of repaired road surfaces - the tar sealed joint, and mismatched surfaces and supporting structures.

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 [470 posts]
5th June 2013 - 22:30

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