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Cyclist films drivers ignoring red lights – but hears nothing back from police

Funny how so many motorists get up in arms when it's a bike rider who ignores a traffic signal .....

Here’s a video sent in by a road.cc reader of the type of behaviour that gives all cyclists a bad name, as they ignore a red traffic light and carry on through a junction … except here, it’s not bike riders at all, it’s motorists, and for some reason not all of them get tarred with the same brush as the ones who break the law. Moreover, in this case, the police did not respond to the cyclist after he sent them the footage of the drivers breaking the law.

You don’t have to spend too long in the comments section of any local newspaper article to realise that the actions of a few cyclists who ride through red lights or on the footway – in both cases, often on grounds of safety – equate, in some people’s minds, to all bike riders doing that.

At the same time, motorists ignoring traffic lights, or driving onto the pavement, does not attract the same venom, and where such instances are reported – all too often where someone has been killed or injured as a result – the incident is attributed to the specific individual, not motorists as a whole.

The clip above was filmed by road.cc reader William, who submitted it to police but did not receive a response.

He told us: “I was approaching this junction on the A6 from one of the side roads when a car shot past at 70, obviously crashing the lights.

“I heard that this was commonplace at this junction where 3 roads cross, so decided to film it – and it is! This is just 1 of 4 offences that occurred within 40 minutes or so – but there has been the anticipated complete absence of response from Lancashire Constabulary to the online incident report of 21.6.20.

“Lancashire Constabulary just uses that system as a quick way to file reports in the bin,” he continued.

“Certainly, reporting to the Police and Crime Commissioner or the local MP is useless in Lancashire – they just refer everything back to the police, who promptly ignore it again. I have tried it over close-passing to no effect,” he added.

That last point echoes a story we published last week, which looked at how some police forces are treating   close passes of cyclists by motorists, and other law-breaking behaviour by drivers, as a “victimless crime” according to Cycling UK. 

> Some police forces treating close passes of cyclists as a “victimless crime”

A road.cc reader had contacted us to say that they had been told by Hertfordshire Police that they wouldn’t act on a close pass video submitted to them because there was no “victim” – ie someone who had suffered harm, whether physical, mental, emotional or economic, as a result of a criminal act.

Cycling UK’s head of campaigns said: “Most police forces accept reports by cyclists of careless or dangerous driving, often close passes captured on camera, as a complaint by a victim. They’re then providing information about the investigation in compliance with the [Victims] Code [of Conduct].

“Unfortunately, Hertfordshire Police and some other forces seem to have concluded that close passing a cyclist is a victimless crime, and are treating the person making a report and submitting evidence merely as a witness, to whom the entitlements under the Code don’t apply.

“Many cyclists reporting close passes and other incidents will have been shaken, distressed, and frightened by what’s happened, so the careless or dangerous driving isn’t victimless. It’s really disappointing that a few police forces are applying a narrow interpretation of the Code, to avoid providing information to people endangered by someone else’s driving.

“The refusal to do so implies that their report isn’t been taken seriously, because there’s no victim, so we’d implore Hertfordshire Police to follow the lead most police forces are taking, treating road crime as real crime and cyclists reporting close passes as victims,” he added.

Last year, we reported how a study from the Danish Road Directorate found that less than 5 per cent of cyclists break traffic laws compared to 66 per cent of drivers.

> Cyclists far less likely to break traffic laws than motorists finds study

The study was conducted by consulting firm Rambøll using video cameras at major junctions in cities including Copenhagen.

As we noted at the time, there is a widespread perception among non-cyclists that people who ride bikes ignore red traffic lights.

Commenting on the study, privately-funded NGO the Danish Cycling Embassy, suggested that visibility was a key factor, saying that while law-breaking cyclists are “easy to notice for everyone,” it is harder to spot motorists breaking the law, for example through speeding.

There has been a sharp increase in the number of drivers caught breaking the speed limit across the UK over the past three months, with some motorists taking advantage of quieter than usual roads during lockdown to drive well beyond the permitted speed limit.

> Police report 71% rise in speeding during lockdown

Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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29 comments

Avatar
wtjs | 3 years ago
0 likes

I feel it is my duty to revise this topic when there have been significant developments, even though it is now 'old'. I wrote to my MP yesterday about the local force failing to respond in any way to the 4 RLJ offences within 40 minutes which set off this topic, until they wrote to say 'offences now too old to process'. Much to my surprise, my MP replied today to say that he had written to a senior Lancashire police officer about the matter. The offences continue- this one (of four) was worse than it looks because the light turned red as the vehicle in front (the blue Transit) entered the cyclist box.

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Sriracha replied to wtjs | 3 years ago
0 likes

Great stuff. Just make sure you never let a wheel stray over the stop line on red.

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ktache replied to wtjs | 3 years ago
0 likes

Well done for all of your efforts wtjs.

 

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wtjs | 3 years ago
2 likes

I'm adding a follow-up, although it appears that no-one is reading this any longer. Yesterday I heard from Lancashire Police TacOps Lancaster, the go-getting dynamic name for the slumbering traffic police, that these 4 traffic light jumping offences are going no further because they "were too close to the time limitations to process". Ho! Ho!- pull the other one! The offences occurred on the afternoon of the 20th, and were reported online at 15:04 on the 21st. They were declared "too close to the time limitations to process" over 12 days later. I am beginning to believe that the real reason prosecution was avoided by the police was that the worst offence was committed by an expensive posh Range Rover with tinted windows and personalised number plate, and LC were protecting the driver. Obviously they couldn't then prosecute the other 3 slightly lesser offences, so they invented this 'too close' excuse. This website has the other 3 videos, but hasn't displayed them, so this is the RR as the lights turn red, and before it crashes the lights at 50 mph.

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Hirsute replied to wtjs | 3 years ago
1 like

I read it.

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wtjs replied to Hirsute | 3 years ago
1 like

Thank you. Police have now issued NIPs to an unspecified number of drivers out of 10 proven RLJs demonstrated within 2 police log numbers. I'm not sure what the dodge is, because none of the 4 included in the log incorporating the Range Rover below are being prosecuted and all their offences were about the same as each other and were worse than any of those receiving NIPs. I'm pretty sure there will be a dodge, though- even the Lancashire police must realise they can't throw the book at Steptoe here, and let the Range Rover toff off completely

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Rik Mayals unde... | 3 years ago
3 likes

Lancashire Police are completely useless. They are not interested in targetting the motorists, they are not interested in following up near misses, people caught using mobiles, etc, even though the complainant has video footage. It's always the same excuse, not in the public interest, blah blah blah. I used to have great respect for the police. Not any more.

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Supers79 | 3 years ago
1 like

There are strict criteria for the location of red light cameras so I highly doubt the police will be able to accept footage from someone stood at the side of the road taking a video.  If they accept this then loads of people would be stood at the side of the road making videos with their phones.  

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mdavidford replied to Supers79 | 3 years ago
7 likes

Supers79 wrote:

There are strict criteria for the location of red light cameras

At red lights?

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schlepcycling replied to Supers79 | 3 years ago
1 like

Yes they do, it's one of the specific traffic offences that you can report via the Nextbase site https://www.nextbase.com/en-gb/national-dash-cam-safety-portal/

'Driving through a red light'

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ibr17xvii replied to schlepcycling | 3 years ago
1 like

schlepcycling wrote:

Yes they do, it's one of the specific traffic offences that you can report via the Nextbase site https://www.nextbase.com/en-gb/national-dash-cam-safety-portal/

'Driving through a red light'

Lancashire Constabulary don't accept footage through that site.

There's a shocker.

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Hirsute replied to Supers79 | 3 years ago
0 likes

Obviously not as I already posted above.

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wtjs replied to Hirsute | 3 years ago
2 likes

You are obviously correct. The idea that someone could be filmed crashing through a red light and colliding with another vehicle, but 'the law' says: 'Oh, we can't accept that film as evidence because it wasn't taken on a special camera', is clearly barmy. There is a major disparity between what the polic say and what they  do:

From: Bill Stevenson <noreply [at] askthe.police.uk>

Sent: 29 June 2020 18:32

To: PNLD <pnld [at] westyorkshire.pnn.police.uk>

Subject: Question Asked from England and Wales FAQ Web Site

Bill Stevenson (wtjs [at] live.co.uk) has asked a question.

How much leeway may the police give for crossing traffic lights at red if they have only changed to red a second or so before the driver crosses the stop line- or if the driver was only 20-30 feet or so from the stop line when the light changed to red? I mean leeway like the '5 mph +10%', or whatever it is, that they allow on speed limits.

Tue 30/06/2020 08:54: Classification: OFFICIAL

Bill

Thank you for your email.

An amber light  means stop. You may go on only if the amber appears after you have crossed the stop line or are so close to it that to pull up might cause an accident. It will be a matter for the local police to decide what action to take in these circumstances.

We hope this information is of use.

Regards,

PNLD

(EG)

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wtjs replied to Supers79 | 3 years ago
0 likes

Lancashire police will ALWAYS find that they're unable to accept evidence, especially if it's irrefutable. They will try anything, no matter how barmy, to avoid action. They will try to blame it on the courts, the CPS... They will say they have to have 2, 3, 5 etc minutes on either side of the incident, and will then make it impossible for the police to obtain the video because mine is 400+ MB a minute.

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Rick_Rude replied to wtjs | 3 years ago
0 likes

Just compress it into a mp4 or whatever. 

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ibr17xvii replied to wtjs | 3 years ago
0 likes

wtjs wrote:

Lancashire police will ALWAYS find that they're unable to accept evidence, especially if it's irrefutable. They will try anything, no matter how barmy, to avoid action. They will try to blame it on the courts, the CPS... They will say they have to have 2, 3, 5 etc minutes on either side of the incident, and will then make it impossible for the police to obtain the video because mine is 400+ MB a minute.

No that it makes it right obviiously but you are genuinely wasting your time.

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jollygoodvelo | 3 years ago
7 likes

A few years ago while I was lying in the road bleeding after a SMIDSY at a roundabouta Hertfordshire policeman informed me that the driver probably wouldn't be charged with anything unless I had any broken bones.  

Safety shouldn't be a postcode lottery.

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JohnnyRemo | 3 years ago
3 likes

Ah! - it's the ASL that causes that. It interferes with the natural stopping distance and forces cars to go through the red light....

 

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mg129523 | 3 years ago
6 likes

Had one a few months ago – oncoming impatient 4x4 sprayed me with his bow-wave and then my rear view camera caught it jumping a red light. To cap that, the driver "doesn’t pay road tax” as DVLA check showed it's tax expired months previously. Usual Herts Police black-hole.

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FrankH | 3 years ago
15 likes

We all know that only cyclists jump red lights.
We all know that cyclists sometimes drive cars
What you are seeing is cyclists in cars jumping red lights.

Obvious when you think about it.

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David9694 replied to FrankH | 3 years ago
1 like

Wrong - they're not on the pavement. 

perhaps he captured more, but on this edit  I only saw the one RLJ - with the trailer. 

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DoctorFish replied to FrankH | 3 years ago
9 likes

FrankH wrote:

We all know that only cyclists jump red lights.
We all know that cyclists sometimes drive cars
What you are seeing is cyclists in cars jumping red lights.

Obvious when you think about it.

You beat me to it, I was about to make the same comment.

Only thing that will prevent this happening, of course, is to make it law that cars should be fitted with registation plates.

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OldRidgeback replied to DoctorFish | 3 years ago
2 likes

DoctorFish wrote:

FrankH wrote:

We all know that only cyclists jump red lights.
We all know that cyclists sometimes drive cars
What you are seeing is cyclists in cars jumping red lights.

Obvious when you think about it.

You beat me to it, I was about to make the same comment.

Only thing that will prevent this happening, of course, is to make it law that cars should be fitted with registation plates.

If only the cars wore high viz and helmets and paid road tax.

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Hirsute | 3 years ago
0 likes

I did get a successful NIP status on my one rlj. Mindyou, it was a full 6 seconds after and caused other vehicles to come to a stop !

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Sriracha | 3 years ago
2 likes

I can't imagine it's difficult to get footage like this. We all know it happens all the time. And typically car drivers do it exactly like that, just after the light turns red. Whereas cyclists for the most part don't; they go just before it turns green.

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FluffyKittenofT... replied to Sriracha | 3 years ago
2 likes

At one particular junction I know well, when trying to cross as a pedestrian I often find the entire 'green man' phase is stolen by motorists going through 'just after the lights turned red'. Their idea of 'just after' is quite a vague one.

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ibr17xvii replied to FluffyKittenofTindalos | 3 years ago
1 like

As the reader notes it is complete waste of time & effort to report anything along these lines to Lancashire Constabulary.

I wouldn't say they aren't interested, it's just not a priority.

To be fair I did get a response once when I asked why I wasn't getting a response & it was basically along the lines of they simply don't have the manpower to view all the footage that they would get sent in from cyclists & vehicle dashcams.

I won't report anything to them unless it's a really really bad close pass or something similar.

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Rik Mayals unde... replied to ibr17xvii | 3 years ago
3 likes

I reported a woman once texting whilst driving. I had video footage of her telling me she was sending a very important text to her daughter who was having a jab at school, and that I should fuck off. All this whilst still moving and the phone still in her had, caught beautifully in HD. Lancs Plod not in the least bit interested. I complained to the police standards department, didn't even get a reply from them. Tossers. Although as I type this, about a dozen police cars have screamed past my house. probably chasing a cyclist who's ridden on the pavement.

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wtjs replied to Sriracha | 3 years ago
0 likes

It isn't difficult at this junction- the point is that they're crashing through at 60+ mph, and it happens all the time

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