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Police use close pass footage to prosecute cyclist for riding on shared-use path

“It highlights how clueless police are about cycling and to me seems to be an attack on cyclists”

A cyclist who submitted footage of a close pass to the Met Police has learned that he himself is to be prosecuted. The force says road.cc reader Giles is guilty of riding a pedal cycle on a footpath – but the cyclist points out that the stretch in question is a well-marked shared-use path.

The alleged offence happened at 6.45am on March 4 at the roundabout between New and Old Kent Roads in London. It occurs towards the end of the video above.

“As a result of my reporting a driver for what I considered a fast, close, aggressive pass, I am being prosecuted for ‘Ride a pedal cycle on a footpath,’ when in fact I was using a well-marked cycle path,” said Giles.

“After I reported the driver I was somewhat surprised to get an email a few days later saying that they were going to prosecute. They rarely prosecute for close passes. It turns out that they are prosecuting me rather than the driver.

“I am absolutely raging about this. It highlights how clueless police are about cycling and to me seems to be an attack on cyclists. They are ignoring the driver but jump at a chance to prosecute a cyclist.”

A look on Google StreetView shows that there is a sign indicating the area can be used by cyclists as well as pedestrians at the point at which Giles comes off the road.

Great Dover Street (via StreetView)

There are further signs round the corner.

Giles says that he often takes this route.

“In this case the roundabout was very quiet but there can often be lots of queuing traffic there. This makes it hard to get by on the road, especially leaving the roundabout where it is narrow. It's a lot easier on the shared cycle path – and the shared cycle path avoids two sets of lights.”

Alex has written for more cricket publications than the rest of the road.cc team combined. Despite the apparent evidence of this picture, he doesn't especially like cake.

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74 comments

Avatar
chundernuts | 4 years ago
0 likes

If he had hurt someones feelings on Twitter he would have really been in trouble.

 

Avatar
ktache | 4 years ago
0 likes

Giles, anything further on this very interesting story?

Avatar
Nemesis | 4 years ago
3 likes

Make a complaint against police. Plead not guilty. Met are thick as shit. Other police forces hate them as they give conscientious, professional officers from other forces (and some in the Met) a bad name. Incompetent retards.

Avatar
cycle.london | 4 years ago
4 likes

Just found another one in my archives.   Westbound on Cannon Street, right in front of the railway station.  Lights go to red, I stop inside the ASL and I sort of 'sense' a driver behind me, not stopping.  I turn my head and see a silver saloon go bombing through the red light, scattering pedestrians. 

This is City of London, so I send off the video.  They get back about I dunno, two months later, saying they haven't been able to find the identity of the driver, but that they were prosecuting the registered keeper for failing to divulge who was driving.  Soon after, I am in e-mail correspondence with the copper in question, who sounds considerably less thick and considerably more professional than most of the Met woodentops with whom I have had to deal.  He lets slip that the registered keeper was erm .. I don't want to leave myself open to court action, so let's just say that it is a VERY large and successful car hire firm.  He also tells me that they got fined £1000 for refusing to tell the Old Bill who was driving.

I can't resist, and e-mail their customer services department.  'Which one of your employees was driving, and was it worth a grand to protect him?'  I ask.  'How many points does he already have?' I add.

I get a stern letter from someone erm, reasonably high up the food chain, telling me that the company was 'in negotiations' with the police, to get a refund of the fine as there had been a massive mistake.

I e-mail my buddy at the City of London police, and ask him if this is true.  He replies that the only way they could have got a refund was to appeal the conviction, and since they had entered a guilty plea in May 2016, and told me in June of 2017 that this 'refund' was happening, he called bullshit.

I sent another e-mail to the company, asking them to come clean and stop being twats.  They threatened to sue me if I didn't shut up. 

Avatar
brooksby replied to cycle.london | 4 years ago
1 like
cycle.london wrote:

Just found another one in my archives. ...

I think I speak for everyone, when I say I would *love* to read your email archives sometime!  3

Avatar
hawkinspeter replied to brooksby | 4 years ago
1 like
brooksby wrote:
cycle.london wrote:

Just found another one in my archives. ...

I think I speak for everyone, when I say I would *love* to read your email archives sometime!  3

I don't think you're speaking on behalf of the police - too much like work for them.

Avatar
cycle.london replied to brooksby | 4 years ago
0 likes
brooksby wrote:
cycle.london wrote:

Just found another one in my archives. ...

I think I speak for everyone, when I say I would *love* to read your email archives sometime!  3

Well, the 'police' folder in my e-mail has 1,273 e-mails in it, which includes sent as well as received.  And I think I've sent about thirty letters to the Commissioner of Police.  Some of them were copied to the Deputy Mayor for Policing (which is London's equivalent of the Police & Crime Commissioner in the country) and to my MP.   But as my MP is a died-in-the-wool Tory who has never to the best of my knowledge deviated from the Party line, I don't really expect him to be that sympathetic. 

I have toyed with the idea of copying some of them to the media.  As in: blanket copying, sending one to every single bloody news outlet in the country.  But Legs is right: we are hated in this country, so if I got any 'help', it would be of the kind that would have me sitting in a TV studio in lycra and hi-viz, to give the slavering masses someone else to hate. 

Avatar
burtthebike replied to cycle.london | 4 years ago
3 likes
cycle.london wrote:

But as my MP is a died-in-the-wool Tory..........

It's dyed-in-the-wool.  Wishful thinking perhaps?

Avatar
burtthebike replied to cycle.london | 4 years ago
3 likes
cycle.london wrote:

I have toyed with the idea of copying some of them to the media.  As in: blanket copying, sending one to every single bloody news outlet in the country.  But Legs is right: we are hated in this country, so if I got any 'help', it would be of the kind that would have me sitting in a TV studio in lycra and hi-viz, to give the slavering masses someone else to hate. 

I used to be press officer for my local CTC club, and trying to get any kind of press coverage that wasn't totally anti-cycling was almost impossible.  They just weren't interested in anything to do with cycling unless it involved confrontation, then they'd go overboard.

Or if they did feature cycling without criticising it, they'd use someone who didn't actually know anything.  My local BBC radio station is having a massive feature on transport, but despite having had hour long discussions about public transport, with the head of the local bus company, they've thus far refused to do something similar for cycling.

Avatar
Legs_Eleven_Wor... replied to burtthebike | 4 years ago
1 like
burtthebike wrote:
cycle.london wrote:

I have toyed with the idea of copying some of them to the media.  As in: blanket copying, sending one to every single bloody news outlet in the country.  But Legs is right: we are hated in this country, so if I got any 'help', it would be of the kind that would have me sitting in a TV studio in lycra and hi-viz, to give the slavering masses someone else to hate. 

I used to be press officer for my local CTC club, and trying to get any kind of press coverage that wasn't totally anti-cycling was almost impossible.  They just weren't interested in anything to do with cycling unless it involved confrontation, then they'd go overboard.

Or if they did feature cycling without criticising it, they'd use someone who didn't actually know anything.  My local BBC radio station is having a massive feature on transport, but despite having had hour long discussions about public transport, with the head of the local bus company, they've thus far refused to do something similar for cycling.

We are probably the last minority group in this country whom it's not only acceptable to hate, but whom it is 'cool' to hate.   People will actually stand up and be 'proud' to hate cyclists, and they will have the enthusiastic support of their peer group.  

Eventually, it will change.  Attitudes always change, given enough time.  The question is whether you're patient enough to wait.  

Avatar
cycle.london replied to brooksby | 4 years ago
5 likes
brooksby wrote:
cycle.london wrote:

Just found another one in my archives. ...

I think I speak for everyone, when I say I would *love* to read your email archives sometime!  3

This is the final paragraph of one I sent last May...

I should like to reassure you that I derive no pleasure from making complaints about your officers or about the performance of the Metropolitan Police Service as a whole.   However, you have a duty enshrined in statute to take all reasonable steps to enforce the law and to protect lives and property.  You do not get a choice as to whether or not to execute this duty, and the wide discretion you enjoy does not, I believe, allow for the wholesale disregarding of incidents where an innocent person has been placed in mortal fear of death.   It is evident that you are not currently discharging this duty, and I cannot permit this to continue without lawful, peaceful complaint.  If you are not willing to do the job for which you are paid handsomely from the public purse, I would respectfully request and advise that you stand aside and permit another candidate – one who cares about the law and about the safety of vulnerable road users - to take your place.   At that time, I should see no reason to make any further complaints.

I know it's a waste of time.  But it gets right up my fucking nose when they lie to us.  At the end of the day, they don't give a shit about cyclists.  Fine.  No one else does.  But stop fucking lying to us.

Avatar
Drinfinity | 4 years ago
0 likes

OK, I presumed ‘car’ from your reference to ‘motorist’. I was wrong.

Avatar
cycle.london | 4 years ago
7 likes

Well, I suppose I might as well share this.  What follows is a letter I sent to the Met last week. 

Dear Commissioner Dick,

At 19:45 on 05 March 2019, my wife and I were involved in a ‘near miss’ with a bus on Avery Hill Road in the London Borough of Bexley.  I duly reported this incident to the Metropolitan Police Service – please see XXXXXXXX.  As is almost always the case since you and your service decided that offensive words on social media were more worthy of resources than the personal safety of road users, my report was rejected.  The grounds for this rejection were that the VRM of the bus in question was not visible, and that ‘…also no offence has taken place as there is sufficient distance between you and the emerging bus and no danger was caused’.

I confess that the abject incompetence of your officers in CO16 is beginning to try my patience, but for the benefit of the record, I shall hereafter indicate how the decision in this case was wrong, in the hope that you shall see fit to implement training so that the same errors can be avoided in the future.

•    As I indicated in the original report, my wife and I were both present in our vehicle at the time of the incident.  Had your colleague bothered his or her backside to watch the video attentively, he or she would have noted that I activated ‘full beam’ in order that the VRM of the bus be visible.  My wife noted these details down, and confirmed them in a text message to me which is dated 19:46 on the day of the incident.  There were thus witnesses to this incident, both of whom would have been prepared to give evidence in court, as to what we saw.
•    Contrary to your colleague’s claim, an offence was indeed committed, this being under s. 3 of the Road Traffic Act 1988, which states: ‘If a person drives a mechanically propelled vehicle on a road or other public place without due care and attention, or without reasonable consideration for other persons using the road or place, he is guilty of an offence’.   I would also draw your attention to s. 3ZA(4) of the Act: ‘A person is to be regarded as driving without reasonable consideration for other persons only if those persons are inconvenienced by his driving’.  As is visible from the video which I supplied to the Metropolitan Police Service, the bus driver’s actions caused me to brake from an approximate speed of 24 mph to 9 mph in a distance of no more than 15 to 20 feet.    Perhaps you would care to indicate in what way this was not ‘an inconvenience’ according to s. 3ZA(4) of the Act.
•    Finally, I wish to address your colleague’s assertion that ‘…there is sufficient distance between you and the emerging bus and no danger was caused’, since in many of my dealings with your colleagues and their risible attempts to fob off cyclists and drivers who are victims of others’ selfishness, arrogance and thoughtlessness, this is perhaps the aspect which is the most frustrating.  It is indicated on the surface of many rear view mirrors that ‘objects are closer than they appear’, and it is well known by most people (except, curiously, your colleagues in CO16) that a dashcam or helmet-mounted camera does not offer an accurate depiction of distances.  In tests with my own vehicle, I have determined that a driver who has been ‘tailgating’ me has been between eight and nine inches from my rear bumper at 30 mph.  When these reports arrive on the desk of one of your clueless SO16 colleagues, however, they are rejected because ‘there was no danger’.   Objects are, to coin a phrase, ‘closer than they appear’ when viewed in a dashcam or a helmet-mounted camera.  I would dearly love to understand why this fact has apparently not been understood by the officers and civilian assistants of the Metropolitan Police Service.   When I had slowed to 9 mph (as indicated above), the front of my vehicle was no more than ten or fifteen feet from the side of the bus.  There was indeed ‘danger’, otherwise I would not have reported this incident.

In short, as a cyclist and a driver, I have submitted hundreds of reports to your colleagues, the vast majority of which have been discarded, including those in which my life or personal safety was placed in danger.  When I have complained about these rejections, I have been rewarded with blatant lies and obfuscation.  When I have sought to escalate these complaints, your Directorate of Professional Standards has closed ranks and refused me the right to have my grievances heard.

As I have indicated previously, I and other cyclists (and personally, as a driver) have been asking the Metropolitan Police Service to take our personal safety seriously for well over ten years.  The Metropolitan Police Service has not only failed to do so, but has brazenly refused to do so.  I would ask you what exactly has to happen before the Metropolitan Police Service protects vulnerable road users.  I would ask you why you evidently appear to consider the use of motor vehicles to intimidate, assault and kill to be ‘minor offences’.   I would ask why you seem disinclined to enforce the 30 mph and 20 mph speed limits on urban roads.  I would ask why you do not seem to care that the practice of ‘tailgating’ has become the rule rather than the exception on London’s roads.   And I would ask you – not for the first time – to speculate as to what is likely to happen when the aforementioned vulnerable road users become tired of asking nicely, tired of being treated like the whipping boy of the road, tired of being told that until we pay the non-existent road tax, we do not deserve the protection of the law, and tired of your inane, obstinate and steadfast refusal to do the job for which you are handsomely remunerated.  

I do not imagine for a second that it will change anything, but at least I got to let off steam. 

Avatar
hawkinspeter replied to cycle.london | 4 years ago
2 likes
cycle.london wrote:

Well, I suppose I might as well share this.  What follows is a letter I sent to the Met last week. 

Dear Commissioner Dick,

[snipped to alleviate scrolling]

Firstly, I'm hoping that his name isn't Richard.

Secondly - I'd say that your rejected FOI request sounds like some undercover/James Bond shit, so I doubt you'll get any further with that one.

Thirdly - don't forget to make a complaint every time they don't do their job properly so that it goes onto their statistics and eventually will make a senior person direct them to actually look at bike-cam videos. I don't think it matters too much if they reject the complaint - it'll still get onto their figures, and unfortunately hitting them in their KSIs is likely the most effective method to make the roads a bit safer.

Avatar
Legs_Eleven_Wor... replied to hawkinspeter | 4 years ago
3 likes
HawkinsPeter wrote:
cycle.london wrote:

Well, I suppose I might as well share this.  What follows is a letter I sent to the Met last week. 

Dear Commissioner Dick,

[snipped to alleviate scrolling]

Firstly, I'm hoping that his name isn't Richard.

He is a she.  Cressida Dick.  You know, the one who presided over the killing of an innocent Brazilian whose skin was the wrong colour, and whose reward was to get the top job because she has a vagina.

Avatar
brooksby replied to Legs_Eleven_Worcester | 4 years ago
4 likes
Legs_Eleven_Worcester wrote:
HawkinsPeter wrote:
cycle.london wrote:

Well, I suppose I might as well share this.  What follows is a letter I sent to the Met last week. 

Dear Commissioner Dick,

[snipped to alleviate scrolling]

Firstly, I'm hoping that his name isn't Richard.

He is a she.  Cressida Dick.  You know, the one who presided over the killing of an innocent Brazilian whose skin was the wrong colour, and whose reward was to get the top job because she has a vagina.

Was that innocent Brazilian wearing a light denim jacket who was originally reported as being a dark skinned Arab wearing unseasonably thick winter clothing with a bomb under it...?

Avatar
Legs_Eleven_Wor... replied to brooksby | 4 years ago
2 likes
brooksby wrote:
Legs_Eleven_Worcester wrote:
HawkinsPeter wrote:
cycle.london wrote:

Well, I suppose I might as well share this.  What follows is a letter I sent to the Met last week. 

Dear Commissioner Dick,

[snipped to alleviate scrolling]

Firstly, I'm hoping that his name isn't Richard.

He is a she.  Cressida Dick.  You know, the one who presided over the killing of an innocent Brazilian whose skin was the wrong colour, and whose reward was to get the top job because she has a vagina.

Was that innocent Brazilian wearing a light denim jacket who was originally reported as being a dark skinned Arab wearing unseasonably thick winter clothing with a bomb under it...?

That's the badger.

Avatar
cycle.london replied to hawkinspeter | 4 years ago
2 likes
HawkinsPeter wrote:
cycle.london wrote:

Well, I suppose I might as well share this.  What follows is a letter I sent to the Met last week. 

Dear Commissioner Dick,

[snipped to alleviate scrolling]

Firstly, I'm hoping that his name isn't Richard.

Secondly - I'd say that your rejected FOI request sounds like some undercover/James Bond shit, so I doubt you'll get any further with that one.

Thirdly - don't forget to make a complaint every time they don't do their job properly so that it goes onto their statistics and eventually will make a senior person direct them to actually look at bike-cam videos. I don't think it matters too much if they reject the complaint - it'll still get onto their figures, and unfortunately hitting them in their KSIs is likely the most effective method to make the roads a bit safer.

The problem I see here is that they in effect police themselves. Whose idea was that? Who thought it'd be a good idea to let the police handle complaints about themselves? 

Complaints go to the Directorate of Professional Standards, who will in my experience reject 100% of the complaints they receive. You can appeal, but that appeal will be rejected.  And when it is rejected, you'll be told that you have no further right to appeal.

What's the next step?  Judicial review? Maybe if I won a Euromillions rollover, I'd have the means to keep dragging them into court.  But whilst by no means a pauper, I cannot afford to do so even once, without it having a massive knock-on effect. 

Avatar
Legs_Eleven_Wor... replied to cycle.london | 4 years ago
0 likes
cycle.london wrote:

What's the next step?  Judicial review? Maybe if I won a Euromillions rollover, I'd have the means to keep dragging them into court.  But whilst by no means a pauper, I cannot afford to do so even once, without it having a massive knock-on effect. 

Why do you think judicial review costs so much?

Answers on a postcard…

Avatar
burtthebike replied to cycle.london | 4 years ago
0 likes
cycle.london wrote:

Well, I suppose I might as well share this.  What follows is a letter I sent to the Met last week. 

Dear Commissioner Dick,

Was that the Police and Crime Commissioner?

Avatar
Legs_Eleven_Wor... replied to burtthebike | 4 years ago
0 likes
burtthebike wrote:
cycle.london wrote:

Well, I suppose I might as well share this.  What follows is a letter I sent to the Met last week. 

Dear Commissioner Dick,

Was that the Police and Crime Commissioner?

He's in London, so it would be the Met Commissioner.  Where you in the sticks have Chief Constables, we have the Commissioner. 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commissioner_of_Police_of_the_Metropolis

Avatar
dassie | 4 years ago
0 likes

OOI in this kind of situation would one need to get a solicitor involved or represent oneself - and point out the bleeding obvious to the police?

Avatar
cycle.london | 4 years ago
4 likes

Ah, you wanna hear a story?   I know that this makes me sound like a conspiracy theorist, but I’m really not one.  And if I am, then my wife must be one too!

About five or six years ago, I’m crossing the street in Welling, right in front of the big Tesco.  If you know the town, you’ll know that there’s a set of traffic lights there, but that very often, drivers coming from the east - from Bexleyheath, then - will go through on the green and stop in the middle of the junction before they can clear it (there is no junction box).  This blocks traffic coming out from Tesco’s underground car park and wanting to turn either east back towards Bexleyheath, or west towards Shooter’s Hill Road.  Another consequence of this is that those drivers who stop in the middle of the junction, will be east of the pelican crossing from the south side of Welling High Street, to the north (and of course, vice versa).  

So anyway, one day, I’m waiting at the Tesco side, and I get the green man.  I’m about to start crossing when a driver who had indeed gone through on the green, starts to cross in front of me.  As he does so, he threatens me with physical violence if I do not stop walking.   I can’t see his face, just his tattooed arms.

I take out my phone, note the registration mark of the car, and go about my way.  When I get home, I download the form 966 from the Met website (this was before they got their PR exercise website up and running) and made a complaint.

About a fortnight later, I get the response from the Met.  ‘We can’t do anything as you didn’t give us the registration mark of the vehicle,’ they say.

Erm .. yes I did.  And my wife - who had read over the form - saw it.  Besides, what would have been the point of sending in the form if there had been no means of identifying the driver?

I replied to the Met.  ‘I did give you the VRM!’.

The reply came back.  ‘No you didn’t’.

So I ask them let me see a copy.  They send me a copy, and sure enough: the bit for the registration mark is blank.  

I show it to my wife.  We both look at each other.  ‘What the —??’

I write back and ask them to send me the original.  

A week later, I get the form through the post.   

Now …. this is where you need to remember that I personally consider myself to be a reasonable person.  Sure, I suffer from depression, and a sense that the absurdity of the world is not outweighed by any positive aspects.  But I am not prone to believing in alien abductions, lizard people or that Princess Diana was murdered by Prince Philip because she was about to marry a Muslim.  And maybe at the end of the day, my memory’s not as good as I think.  Maybe I did forget to put the details in.  But how does that explain my wife also remembering seeing it?

Or .. the other possibility?  The guy driving was either a copper or a friend of a copper, and the ‘original’ of the form they sent back, was in fact a forgery.

Well, who knows?  At the end of the day, it’s not the end of the world and no one’s dead because of it.

But the thing I took away from this is: never trust the police.  They are pathological liars. 

Avatar
hawkinspeter replied to cycle.london | 4 years ago
4 likes
cycle.london wrote:

Ah, you wanna hear a story?   I know that this makes me sound like a conspiracy theorist, but I’m really not one.  And if I am, then my wife must be one too!

About five or six years ago, I’m crossing the street in Welling, right in front of the big Tesco.  If you know the town, you’ll know that there’s a set of traffic lights there, but that very often, drivers coming from the east - from Bexleyheath, then - will go through on the green and stop in the middle of the junction before they can clear it (there is no junction box).  This blocks traffic coming out from Tesco’s underground car park and wanting to turn either east back towards Bexleyheath, or west towards Shooter’s Hill Road.  Another consequence of this is that those drivers who stop in the middle of the junction, will be east of the pelican crossing from the south side of Welling High Street, to the north (and of course, vice versa).  

So anyway, one day, I’m waiting at the Tesco side, and I get the green man.  I’m about to start crossing when a driver who had indeed gone through on the green, starts to cross in front of me.  As he does so, he threatens me with physical violence if I do not stop walking.   I can’t see his face, just his tattooed arms.

I take out my phone, note the registration mark of the car, and go about my way.  When I get home, I download the form 966 from the Met website (this was before they got their PR exercise website up and running) and made a complaint.

About a fortnight later, I get the response from the Met.  ‘We can’t do anything as you didn’t give us the registration mark of the vehicle,’ they say.

Erm .. yes I did.  And my wife - who had read over the form - saw it.  Besides, what would have been the point of sending in the form if there had been no means of identifying the driver?

I replied to the Met.  ‘I did give you the VRM!’.

The reply came back.  ‘No you didn’t’.

So I ask them let me see a copy.  They send me a copy, and sure enough: the bit for the registration mark is blank.  

I show it to my wife.  We both look at each other.  ‘What the —??’

I write back and ask them to send me the original.  

A week later, I get the form through the post.   

Now …. this is where you need to remember that I personally consider myself to be a reasonable person.  Sure, I suffer from depression, and a sense that the absurdity of the world is outweighed by any positive aspects.  But I am not prone to believing in alien abductions, lizard people or that Princess Diana was murdered by Prince Philip because she was about to marry a Muslim.  And maybe at the end of the day, my memory’s not as good as I think.  Maybe I did forget to put the details in.  But how does that explain my wife also remembering seeing it?

Or .. the other possibility?  The guy driving was either a copper or a friend of a copper, and the ‘original’ of the form they sent back, was in fact a forgery.

Well, who knows?  At the end of the day, it’s not the end of the world and no one’s dead because of it.

But the thing I took away from this is: never trust the police.  They are pathological liars. 

What? The police destroying evidence!

Inconceivable!

Avatar
cycle.london replied to hawkinspeter | 4 years ago
4 likes
HawkinsPeter wrote:
cycle.london wrote:

Ah, you wanna hear a story?   I know that this makes me sound like a conspiracy theorist, but I’m really not one.  And if I am, then my wife must be one too!

About five or six years ago, I’m crossing the street in Welling, right in front of the big Tesco.  If you know the town, you’ll know that there’s a set of traffic lights there, but that very often, drivers coming from the east - from Bexleyheath, then - will go through on the green and stop in the middle of the junction before they can clear it (there is no junction box).  This blocks traffic coming out from Tesco’s underground car park and wanting to turn either east back towards Bexleyheath, or west towards Shooter’s Hill Road.  Another consequence of this is that those drivers who stop in the middle of the junction, will be east of the pelican crossing from the south side of Welling High Street, to the north (and of course, vice versa).  

So anyway, one day, I’m waiting at the Tesco side, and I get the green man.  I’m about to start crossing when a driver who had indeed gone through on the green, starts to cross in front of me.  As he does so, he threatens me with physical violence if I do not stop walking.   I can’t see his face, just his tattooed arms.

I take out my phone, note the registration mark of the car, and go about my way.  When I get home, I download the form 966 from the Met website (this was before they got their PR exercise website up and running) and made a complaint.

About a fortnight later, I get the response from the Met.  ‘We can’t do anything as you didn’t give us the registration mark of the vehicle,’ they say.

Erm .. yes I did.  And my wife - who had read over the form - saw it.  Besides, what would have been the point of sending in the form if there had been no means of identifying the driver?

I replied to the Met.  ‘I did give you the VRM!’.

The reply came back.  ‘No you didn’t’.

So I ask them let me see a copy.  They send me a copy, and sure enough: the bit for the registration mark is blank.  

I show it to my wife.  We both look at each other.  ‘What the —??’

I write back and ask them to send me the original.  

A week later, I get the form through the post.   

Now …. this is where you need to remember that I personally consider myself to be a reasonable person.  Sure, I suffer from depression, and a sense that the absurdity of the world is outweighed by any positive aspects.  But I am not prone to believing in alien abductions, lizard people or that Princess Diana was murdered by Prince Philip because she was about to marry a Muslim.  And maybe at the end of the day, my memory’s not as good as I think.  Maybe I did forget to put the details in.  But how does that explain my wife also remembering seeing it?

Or .. the other possibility?  The guy driving was either a copper or a friend of a copper, and the ‘original’ of the form they sent back, was in fact a forgery.

Well, who knows?  At the end of the day, it’s not the end of the world and no one’s dead because of it.

But the thing I took away from this is: never trust the police.  They are pathological liars. 

What? The police destroying evidence!

Inconceivable!

There's another one.  Not quite as blatant.  White van: RJ11 AOZ, I clock the driver using a mobile telephone on Creek Road down towards Greenwich Market on 28 March last year.  I fire off a report to the Met.  Couple of days later, comes the e-mail telling me that as a NIP had been sent, I was kindly requested to remove all social media commentary and make the video non-public.

I never make them public until after a successful prosecution, anyway.

Six weeks later, I get another e-mail:

'We refer to the above incident which you reported.

This office has traced the driver of the offending vehicle but unfortunately it will not be possible to take action against the driver on this occasion for reasons that I cannot disclose'

Needless to say, I ask them to tell me why.  They refuse.  I make a FOI request, asking them to confirm if the vehicle in question is owned by the Met or if the driver is a former or currently serving Met officer.  They refuse.  I 'escalate' to the Information Commissioner, who unsurprisingly enough, upholds the Met's decision.

So who was the driver?  I'll probably never know.   But I can make a guess. 

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brooksby replied to cycle.london | 4 years ago
1 like
cycle.london wrote:

/snip/

Six weeks later, I get another e-mail:

'We refer to the above incident which you reported.

This office has traced the driver of the offending vehicle but unfortunately it will not be possible to take action against the driver on this occasion for reasons that I cannot disclose'

You'd think if they're going to go to the trouble of reporting back to you, they'd come up with something that didn't look so downright iffy.  Just "The office hasn't traced the driver" or something.  To actually say that it will not be possible to take action against the driver looks bl00dy awful 

Avatar
Legs_Eleven_Wor... replied to brooksby | 4 years ago
2 likes
brooksby wrote:
cycle.london wrote:

/snip/

Six weeks later, I get another e-mail:

'We refer to the above incident which you reported.

This office has traced the driver of the offending vehicle but unfortunately it will not be possible to take action against the driver on this occasion for reasons that I cannot disclose'

You'd think if they're going to go to the trouble of reporting back to you, they'd come up with something that didn't look so downright iffy.  Just "The office hasn't traced the driver" or something.  To actually say that it will not be possible to take action against the driver looks bl00dy awful 

These stories don't surprise me at all, and shouldn't surrpise anyone.  The police are institutionally anti-cyclist.  That in turn shouldn't surprise anyone, since the British public - thanks to the efforts of Paul Dacre, Tony Gallagher et al - are vehemently anti-cyclist and in that respect at least, the British police are representative of the population.   

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The _Kaner | 4 years ago
0 likes

Bloody cyclist. Bloody cycling wantonly and bloody furiously. Should be done for getting in the way.....pah!

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Jimmy Ray Will | 4 years ago
2 likes

I don't think this is a war on cyclists at all, we are merely collatoral damage in an ongoing battle between resources and funding squeezes. 

its a straight forward tactic that police forces have been using for years. Someone makes a complaint... a devilishly effective way to make that complaint and associated work go away is to question the conduct of the person making the complaint. Simples innit?

Think of the effort that goes into contacting the driver in question, trying to prove who was driving etc. etc. compared to prosecuting on something that is so black and white.

This is nothing to do with agenda's or bias, its about negating the need for work pure and simple. still shit though.

In this case however, the Met have dropped the ball, so I would absolutely encourage you to turn the screw as hard and as long as you can. 

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OnYerBike | 4 years ago
7 likes

Unbelievable.

More generally, the dichotomy between cycling on the pavement being a dangerous crime, but cycling on a "shared use" path being fine is ridiculous. As if a few blue signs makes it any more safe. I live in Cambridge and as far as I can tell there's no rhyme or reason and what makes a path suitable to be "shared use" or not: narrow or wide, lots or few pedestrians, next to busy or quiet roads, next to roads with and without cycle lanes. I've often thought it would be a great game to get people to guess whether or not a Google Street view image shows a shared use path or footway. I don't think many people would score highly.

I also enjoy the irony that it's the same louts who tell cyclists to get off the road and then complain about cyclists on pavements being a "menace".

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