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Cycling campaigners visit Police and Crime Commissioners to call for urgent improvements in policing

Road Justice report details police failings and sets out 10-point plan for improvement

Campaigners and victims of road cycling road crashes are today visiting over 30 Police and Crime Commissioner to hand over the CTC’s Road Justice report which examines the deficiencies of roads policing as it relates to crashes involving people on bikes.

As many recent cases have highlighted, cyclists generally feel theses cases are not taken seriously by the police and prosecution service.

The report includes eight case studies of cyclists who suffered serious injuries. Failings of the policing of their cases include: failure to attend a crash scene; automatically assuming an injured cyclist is at fault; failing to take timely witness statements; and failing to keep victims informed of case progress.

Recently released figures from the Department for Transport, show serious injuries and deaths of people on bikes up 5 percent in 2012 against the previous year, while overall roads policing has been cut by 29% over the last decade.

CTC’s Road Justice Campaigner Rhia Weston said: “Time and again CTC hears stories of cyclists who have suffered life changing injuries in collisions with motor vehicles, but who then have to fight for justice. It is vital that collisions are investigated thoroughly, not just for the sake of the victims but also to send out the message that bad driving will not be tolerated. We hope all Police and Crime Commissioners pledge to implement the report’s recommendations to strengthen roads policing and help make our roads safer for everyone."

A typical case

The case of Dan Black from Chepstow is typical. Dan was left tri-plegic following a collision with a car driver in 2009. The police report made no mention of the driver’s illegal manoeuvre immediately before the collision, nor had police tested the driver’s eyesight at the crash scene, despite telling Dan’s parents they had done so. Instead, they made out that Dan himself was at fault for having inadequate lighting, even though his bike lights were fully compliant with British standards.

Their report also omitted any mention of Dan’s reflective clothing. This key piece of evidence had been cut off him at the crash scene by the paramedics, but was then disposed of by the hospital after the police failed to collect it.

The case was dropped by the Crown Prosecution Service because it was deemed not to be ‘in the public interest’ and due to Dan’s ‘poor lighting’.

Severe injuries

The CTC's Road Justice site contains many more examples. Here's just one, Sarah-Charlotte Peace, who is making a protracted and painful recovery from severe soft-tissue injuries after being hit at a roundabout. The driver who was subsequently found guilty of careless driving and fined £110, plus £60 court costs, a £15 victim surcharge and received 9 penalty points.

CTC recommendations

The report makes ten recommendations for ways the policing and prosecution of crashes involving bike riders should be improved.

1. The police should use the Association of Chief Police Officers’ Road Death Investigation Manual in cases of serious injury, not just for fatalities. The manual should be renamed The Road Crash Investigation Manual.

2. The police should attend all road crash scenes involving injury and death and collect as much evidence as possible.

3. The police should investigate reports of seriously bad or aggressive driving even when no injury occurs.

4. The police should facilitate collision and ‘near miss’ public reporting systems and follow up reports made via these systems.

5. Potential ancillary offences should be investigated, such as using a mobile phone whilst driving or having defective eyesight.

6. All road crash victims should be included in the Code of Practice for Victims of Crime so they receive support to the same standard as victims of other crimes with similar consequences.

7. Police officers at any stage of a collision investigation should guard against a propensity to blame the victim.

8. Roads police need to be adequately resourced to respond appropriately to road collisions and to investigate them thoroughly; and to enforce traffic law.

9. Roads policing should be prioritised for investment by national government and those who allocate resources locally.

10. Training should be provided for roads police, investigation officers and family liaison officers about the practical and legal issues facing cyclists and other vulnerable road users.

John has been writing about bikes and cycling for over 30 years since discovering that people were mug enough to pay him for it rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work.

He was heavily involved in the mountain bike boom of the late 1980s as a racer, team manager and race promoter, and that led to writing for Mountain Biking UK magazine shortly after its inception. He got the gig by phoning up the editor and telling him the magazine was rubbish and he could do better. Rather than telling him to get lost, MBUK editor Tym Manley called John’s bluff and the rest is history.

Since then he has worked on MTB Pro magazine and was editor of Maximum Mountain Bike and Australian Mountain Bike magazines, before switching to the web in 2000 to work for Along with founder Tony Farrelly, John was on the launch team for and subsequently became editor in chief of Future Publishing’s group of cycling magazines and websites, including Cycling Plus, MBUK, What Mountain Bike and Procycling.

John has also written for Cyclist magazine, edited the BikeMagic website and was founding editor of before handing over to someone far more representative of the site's main audience.

He joined in 2013. He lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

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kie7077 | 10 years ago

From another blog:

my gripe is mainly about the fact that cyclists have been told to cycle in a certain way (which – to repeat the point I made in my post – I do believe to be the best way of ensuring my safety), but that no-one in authority seems to have concurrently told drivers that’s what cyclists should be doing.

A recent example of this, which I may blog about, concerns a cyclist who reported a driver to Roadsafe. I’ve watched the video, and it seems the driver was upset about being ‘held up’ by the cyclist, who was in primary position, and proceeded to honk, swerve past the cyclist, brake test him, and then swear at him.

The Met police sent out a letter of reprimand to the driver, but also told the cyclist he should have been further over to the left. Even the police don’t seem to know about ‘primary’!

kie7077 | 10 years ago

Roadsafe, nice idea, not staffed properly, 7.4 million Londoners, over 540,000 journeys cycled per day, 31,478 Police, how many working on roadsafe, average rounded to the nearest 1, None, as far as I can tell.

I have filled the roadsafe form 18+ times, had 1 inadequate response, 0 prosecutions AFAIK.

If you are raped, do the police say sorry we can't help you because there are no witnesses.

When you cycle during rush hour and record hundreds of number plates, are there 'no witnesses'.

Does London not have a million CCTVs?  14

We need something better than roadsafe, it needs to be staffed not just be someone who cycles but by people who know all the statistics regarding cyclist road deaths and injuries, it needs to be staffed by someone that understands the distance a vehicle is supposed to leave a cyclist, it needs to be staffed by someone who doesn't cycle in the gutter because the safest place to be is at least a meter out.

a.jumper | 10 years ago

Roll out road safe nationally?

Mattrb78 | 10 years ago

I wish we has road safe in the Manchester area as currently there is nothing. Every time reported anyone I got at best an uninterested and sarcastic response. We need action urgently now!!!

georgee | 10 years ago

12. When a cyclist reports a driver via the Met Roadsafe system for the police to investigate or at minimum have knowledge of the complaint when they then chase the cyclist for 'harrassment' because he posted the van drivers details on line...

Bedfordshire Clanger | 10 years ago
jollygoodvelo | 10 years ago

11. When a cyclist is unable to take the details of the driver involved in an accident, they rely on the police's records. There should be a transparent and prompt process for obtaining those details for insurance claim purposes.

At the moment, I'm feeling like an inconvenience...

Stumps replied to jollygoodvelo | 10 years ago
Gizmo_ wrote:

11. When a cyclist is unable to take the details of the driver involved in an accident, they rely on the police's records. There should be a transparent and prompt process for obtaining those details for insurance claim purposes.

At the moment, I'm feeling like an inconvenience...

There is mate, each force will have a collision records department which will supply details if required. Also its an offence not to exchange details.

Joselito | 10 years ago


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