Greater Manchester Police has apologised after one of its Twitter accounts advised cyclists “not to weave in and out of traffic at speed” following the region’s second cycling fatality in a week.
The Manchester Evening News reports that following a collision on Eccles Old Road in Salford on Friday afternoon, 18-year-old Olivia Wojciechowska was left trapped under the wheels of an HGV. She was freed by firefighters, but later died in hospital.
The previous Sunday, Vicky Myres was hit and killed while riding on Stockport Road in Timperley. A man has been charged with causing her death by dangerous driving.
After Greater Manchester Police’s Radcliffe Twitter account had linked to a story about the incident that resulted in Wojciechowska’s death, user Wednesday Jones asked: “Getting to be one a week. Any suggestions as to how to stop this?”
GMP Radcliffe responded: “Drivers to give the cyclists room to manoeuvre and cyclist not to weave in and out of traffic at speed.”
The comment drew a furious response, but GMP Radcliffe defended the comments, saying they were general and not specific to this particular incident. “I would not be allowed to comment on the cause of this accident because I didn't know the facts and it would jeopardise any prosecution etc.”
Jones told the Guardian she had written a letter of complaint to GMP chief constable, Ian Hopkins, as well as to Burnham and her MP.
Transport for Greater Manchester’s cycling tsar, Chris Paul, who will be working closely with Chris Boardman in his new role as the region’s cycling and walking commissioner, said:
— Chris Paul (@ChrispLOL) September 2, 2017
Yesterday, Chief Inspector Tariq Butt, of the GMP Roads Policing, Travel Safe and Mounted Unit, said: “I would like to apologise to anyone offended by [the tweet]. This is a tragic case in which a young woman lost her life and I would like to send my sincere condolences to her family at this very difficult time.”
Chris Boardman said: “It is completely unacceptable that people lose their lives on roads in Greater Manchester when they are simply going about their day.”
He added: “The mayor has made a commitment to cut casualties on the road, and I see the priority as evidence-based enforcement and improving road design. I have already met with the GMP roads leader to discuss that the enforcement resource focuses more squarely on those that can do the most harm to others. We want to encourage an attitude in all of us of looking after other road users, especially those that are more vulnerable than ourselves.”