A year after Chris Boardman’s mother was killed by a van driver while riding her bike, the former world and Olympic champion turned cycling campaigner has said that the justice system is failing cyclists and their families.
The British Cycling police advisor prefaced a message posted on Twitter on Friday by saying: "Getting so many messages from road crime victims coupled with polite inaction from our justice system, I think it's time for this." His attached message read:
The last 12 months have been tough. I’ve seen my mum in a dozen places: shopping on the village, in our garden smelling flowers and smiling at her new grandson. I’ve even seen her at The Tour, riding along a lane enjoying the countryside. It was a year ago this weekend that my mother was killed.
It’s been heart wrenching watching my dad try to come to terms with the absence of his soulmate. We’ve all tried to carry on living ‘a normal life’ it’s what my mum would have wanted. But it doesn’t feel normal.
Whether intentional aggression of inattentiveness, road crime, because that’s what it is, isn’t taken seriously.
A year on, there has still not been a decision on whether to even prosecute the man who killed my mother. A year.
I originally didn’t care what happened to the driver, it would change nothing for us and would we really want to ruin another life? But if our justice system doesn’t take road crime seriously, then someone will needlessly go through exactly what my father is experiencing now.
Killing, injuring or even threatening someone with a knife is not accepted, do the same with a car and it often is. And it’s wrong.
On Friday, Boardman had retweeted a video shot by cyclist Tom Littlehales showing a white van driver almost hitting him as he passed him to the left then turned right.
— Tom Littlehales (@TomLittlehales) July 12, 2017
— Chris Boardman (@Chris_Boardman) July 12, 2017
Boardman's retweet prompted a reply from Bedfordshire Police.
I appreciate the strain police are under.
Not all forces treat the same way.
At what point does it get classed as serious...? https://t.co/wuFpYWvou0
— Chris Boardman (@Chris_Boardman) July 13, 2017
However we do still get in touch with the motorists reported to give them advice. Hope this helps clarify things.
— Bedfordshire Police (@bedspolice) July 13, 2017
In a tweet sent this morning, Boardman said that other forces should follow the approach adopted by West Midlands Police when it comes to cases where the victim is a vulnerable road user.
— Chris Boardman (@Chris_Boardman) July 16, 2017
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.