National cyclists’ organisation CTC says that the Emma Way case highlights the need for police to take a more “robust” approach to investigate hit-and-run drivers – one of the points forming part of its Road Justice campaign, launched earlier this year.
Way, aged 22, has meanwhile claimed that she was subject to cyber-bullying after boasting on Twitter about knocking cyclist Toby Hockley from his bike in May this year. He sustained minor injuries in the incident near Rockland All Saints, Norfolk.
Her post on the social network read: “Definitely knocked a cyclist off his bike earlier. I have right of way – he doesn't even pay road tax!" and came with the hashtag, #bloodycyclists.
On Tuesday, Way was fined £300 and ordered to pay £367 costs at Norwich Magistrates’ Court after being found guilty of failure to report an accident and failure to stop at the scene of an accident. She was found not guilty of careless driving.
Had it not been for the tweet Way sent shortly after the incident, which was quickly brought to the attention of Norfolk Constabulary, it’s unlikely the incident would ever have been investigated.
The police force, presented with an apparent confession – Way would however plead not guilty to the three counts she was charged with – and presumably sensing a good PR opportunity, wasted no time in inviting Way to come forward as it began its investigation of the incident.
Quoted on BBC News, CTC road safety campaigner Rhia Weston said: "The only reason Emma Way was caught was because she tweeted about the incident, many other hit and runs end in no prosecution because police fail to trace the driver.
“Evidence collection needs to be much more robust if hit and run drivers are to be caught, prosecuted and convicted.”
In June this year, CTC 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.
Ms Weston added: "CTC's Road Justice petition is calling on the police to better enforce road traffic law by thoroughly investigating all injury collisions."
Last month, CTC published a map with an interactive map highlighting responses to a letter it had sent to all Police & Crime Commissioners in England & Wales as part of the campaign.
Speaking on ITV’s Daybreak yesterday – not for a fee, as had been reported in some quarters – Way said that her ill-advised tweet had led to her being subject to abuse. She was also dismissed from her job as a trainee accountant.
She said: "I lost my job in accountancy and I've received really malicious threats and stuff off people... cyber-bullying and stuff, so it has been quite bad."
Cyber-bulling is undoubtedly a serious and reprehensible issue, and one that most people would not condone.
However, many cyclists will find Ms Way's claims to be the real victim of this affair to ring rather hollow considering her tweet has resulted in her gaining a criminal record and seven penalty points on her licence.
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.