The Metropolitan police has been criticised for failing to prosecute a London van driver for careless driving after he knocked a cyclist off her bike. Cycling UK commented: "If this represents Met Police policy they might as well say that they are just not bothered about careless driving, as long as nobody suffers a life changing injury.”
The London Evening Standard has published helmet cam footage of the incident which took place on Lambeth Bridge roundabout on July 22 last year.
Nisha Singh was riding from St Thomas’s hospital to the Maudsley hospital in Denmark Hill when a white van, which had up until then been driving behind her, pulled into the side of her.
She suffered bleeding, bruising and a black eye and said that it was only because a black cab had been following at a distance that it was able to avoid running her over as she lay sprawled in the road.
However, in the wake of the incident Singh said she endured six months of frustration dealing with the Met and the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime.
The driver claimed that Singh had been trying to overtake him and she said she felt the police would have believed him that the collision was her fault if it weren’t for the video footage.
Furthermore, because she escaped serious injury, no charges were brought against the driver and he was instead told to attend a safer driving course.
Karen Stuart, the Met official in charge of considering traffic offences in Lambeth, told Singh: “The National Driver Alertness Course is the first option that is offered to drivers where there is evidence of driving without due care.
“A course would not be offered if the matter involved a life-threatening or life-changing injury. Unfortunately we cannot offer both the driving course and also summons the driver to court.”
A Met police spokeswoman said: “The injuries and standard of driving are all taken into consideration.”
Duncan Dollimore, Cycling UK’s Senior Road Safety and Legal Campaigns Officer was unimpressed.
"If this represents Met Police policy they might as well say that they are just not bothered about careless driving, as long as nobody suffers a life changing injury,” he said.
“This driver's lack of attention and bad driving was no less careless just because Ms Singh was lucky, and was merely bloodied and bruised rather than paralysed.
“Careless driving is driving below the standard of a careful and competent driver. This was way below that standard. The Met however have applied their own "nobody died" interpretation of the law, and offered a re-training course. Somebody should be asking themselves what message they are sending regarding road safety and the standard of driving they expect on London's roads?
"Minimisation of incidents like this is why we have called on the Ministry of Justice to review their definition of bad driving offences in their recent consultation on driving offences. One man's view of careless seems to be another's view of dangerous, with the Met having a bespoke view of what's worthy of prosecution."