Derbyshire police has reversed its decision not to investigate what Cycling UK described as “one of the worse close pass videos” it has seen. The cyclist involved, Luke Smith, says the driver is now being prosecuted and that the force has pledged to review its policy regarding the submission of video evidence.
Smith was riding through the Bowshaw Roundabout at Dronfield, just south of Sheffield, last week, when a driver cut in front of him at speed, missing him by centimetres. However, when he passed the footage to Derbyshire Constabulary, they declined to take action and didn’t even watch the footage.
Cycling UK’s Duncan Dollimore commented: “The video of the vehicle overtaking Luke shows a close pass at speed, cutting across his path and putting him in obvious danger.
“If Derbyshire Police told Luke they wouldn’t be able to do anything because he hadn’t been hit there’s an obvious training need which needs to be addressed, because they’re wrong.
“If they initially refused to view the video there’s a police service issue to consider.
“If, having finally viewed the video, a sergeant concluded that the driver’s conduct did not even merit a discussion, let alone prosecution, that sergeant has no business dealing with any road traffic complaints or investigations.”
Chris Boardman was another to question the force’s approach and was subsequently told that an investigation had been launched.
Good. Understand resource stretch but some of these so blatantly LETHAL behaviour, isad that it takes social media pressure to get action https://t.co/7IalhlxGhh
— Chris Boardman (@Chris_Boardman) June 14, 2017
Smith has since confirmed that the driver will be charged, tweeting: “I've been to the police station tonight. They're going to prosecute and are issuing an NIP. No other witnesses required.”
Apparently they are reviewing the policy like other forces already have. So hopefully it will be better in future
— Luke (@lukesmith12) June 15, 2017
Cycling UK says it still intends to write to Derbyshire police on the issue of close passing and renewing its previously rejected offer of a close pass mat, but Dollimore welcomed the news.
"Having criticised Derbyshire Police for their initial response, Cycling UK are delighted to hear that they have now recognised their mistake, investigated and prosecuted the driver.
"As cyclists we know how dangerous and intimidating close passes like Luke experienced can be. Some police forces seem to understand this, others are slowly getting the message, but some have far to go.
"We've still got free close pass mats available for any police force which accepts close passes are a problem and wants to something to address it."
Boardman also applauded the force’s willingness to admit mistakes.
— Chris Boardman (@Chris_Boardman) June 15, 2017