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Police stop more than 70 motorists in crackdown following cyclist hit-and-run deaths

West Midlands Police's road safety operation came after a series of fatal hit-and-run collisions, as well as another that left two pedestrians seriously injured...

Police in Birmingham responded to a string of hit-and-run incidents in the city by undertaking a day of action targeting dangerous driving, with more than 70 motorists stopped, including one allegedly watching a video on their phone behind the wheel.

The operation came following the deaths of two cyclists in hit-and-runs in May, a third killed in a collision on June 8, a week before a fourth incident saw two pedestrians, a boy and a woman, seriously injured, and sparking a roadblock protest in Kings Heath.

> Campaigners call for an "end to road violence" after three cyclists, including a 12-year-old boy "killed by motorists" in three weeks in Birmingham

West Midlands Police yesterday carried out a joint road safety op alongside Birmingham City Council. At Belgrave Middleway, the scene of the collision which killed Hussien Nur Teklise on May 16, more than 40 drivers were stopped on suspicion of a number of offences, the BBC reports, including having visibility-reducing tinted windows, as well as driving without insurance or with dangerous defects.

On the Hagley Road, more than 30 motorists were stopped, one of whom was disqualified and another who did not have documentation, while officers also advised motorists on safe passing of cyclists.

West Midlands walking and cycling commissioner Adam Tranter had responded to the hit-and-run deaths by writing a letter calling for a meeting with police and council colleagues to bring about accelerated action to protect vulnerable road users.

Yesterday, Tranter described the police action as "like shooting fish in a barrel, but the fish are really quite dangerous". 

"I don't want to be walking or cycling with my kids with these people when they can't see out of their windows properly or they don't bother with insurance," he added.

Commenting on West Midlands Police's work, supt Gareth Mason said his force was "investing heavily" in road safety and had put 23 extra officers on road policing, with plans for further operations in the future.

"Angry and frightened"

Two weeks ago hundreds of locals lined the road through Kings Heath to protest the hit-and-runs and the dangerous state of the roads in the city.

"It was extremely poignant, we went there because of the hit-and-run on Thursday, but opposite the railings where we were, there's a memorial to Hope," Paul Manzotti from Better Streets for Birmingham, the campaign group behind the protest told road.cc, referencing the memorial to Hope Fenell who was killed in a collision involving an HGV driver in 2011.

"It's been 12 years, and very little has changed. People are angry and frightened about the state of our roads. There's a real determination and a lot of people have reached the point of 'enough is enough'. We have been at the words stage, now we want action."

Dan joined road.cc in 2020, and spent most of his first year (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. At the start of 2022 he took on the role of news editor. Before joining road.cc, Dan wrote about various sports, including football and boxing for the Daily Express, and covered the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for The Non-League Paper. Part of the generation inspired by the 2012 Olympics, Dan has been 'enjoying' life on two wheels ever since and spends his weekends making bonk-induced trips to the petrol stations of the south of England.

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35 comments

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peted76 | 9 months ago
1 like

Wow.. that's VERY surprising.. so lets say 10k cars are taken off the roads (great) and the police send them all to auction houses, I suggest an average take home might be £2k per car.. that's £20m revenue per year WMP... to the internet batman!... Okay.. WMP costs £1b per year to run by the looks of it.. and while £0.7b are fund from the .gov.. there is space in there for £20m to fall down the back of the sofa.. and I guess they've got to pay for the christmas do somehow right.

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wycombewheeler replied to peted76 | 9 months ago
0 likes

is this the case, that if cars are seized by police for being used without insurance, then the police get to sell them and keep the proceeds, and the owner loses everything?

Obviously if the owner is not insuring their car they can clearly afford to lose it without compensation, but I didn't realise the state could effectively grab private property in this way.

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OnYerBike replied to wycombewheeler | 9 months ago
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I believe there is a time period in which the owner (or someone acting on the owner's behalf) can reclaim a seized vehicle. 

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mark1a replied to OnYerBike | 9 months ago
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True, vehicle can be released on receipt of proof of insurance policy, plus storage & release fees. I imagine the vast majority are collected this way.

Out of the others that are not retrieved, there have been some high profile news stories where wealthy foreign nationals bring super car toys over here to play with on the streets and then just leave them when seized, these are auctioned. The others will be last chance saloons one MOT away from the scrapyard which are disposed of at cost to the police. 

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NOtotheEU | 9 months ago
5 likes

The BBC report on this included something I didn't read in this one (or just missed).

"WMP said about 10,000 cars were seized from uninsured drivers in the region every year"

And that's just the ones they catch.

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peted76 replied to NOtotheEU | 9 months ago
0 likes

NOtotheEU wrote:

The BBC report on this included something I didn't read in this one (or just missed).

"WMP said about 10,000 cars were seized from uninsured drivers in the region every year"

And that's just the ones they catch.

Really? In the W.Mids region alone... I smell cow poo. I think they must have meant 10 not 10,000... 

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NOtotheEU replied to peted76 | 9 months ago
1 like

I thought you might be right so I did some extensive research (OK, I spent 5 mins looking at the first few Google results) and it seems 44,056 uninsured cars have been seized by West Midlands Police between 2018 and 2022 and over half a million in the country as a whole in the same period.

Of course these figures might still be completely made up given the fact that most journalists jobs these days involve confirming what their readers/viewers already believe, claiming to be a 'free press' while avoiding upsetting any powerful interests and hoping everyone forgets about people like Julian Assange and Jamal Khashoggi.

Sorry, turned a bit ranty at the end, I'm watching Russell Brand exposing the censorship industrial complex as I type.

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Rendel Harris replied to peted76 | 9 months ago
1 like

peted76 wrote:

Really? In the W.Mids region alone... I smell cow poo. I think they must have meant 10 not 10,000... 

According to figures collated by the AA, in the years 2018-2022 WMP seized  8,626/9,836/10,872/9,226/5,496 uninsured vehicles respectively (figures released October 2022 so the last number isn't for a complete year), so not far off.

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Sriracha | 9 months ago
2 likes

How are these cars getting through the MOT with darkened front windows? It's not like illegible/invisible number plates or boy-racer exhausts which can be swapped out for MOT day to be reinstated the next day. So the MOT stations must be complicit. Should be straight forward to relieve the offending garages of their MOT licence, after making them retest their year to date order book.

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Rendel Harris replied to Sriracha | 9 months ago
5 likes

Incredibly, there is no check for tinted glass on the MOT. Cars with illegal tints but no other faults will pass.

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ktache replied to Sriracha | 9 months ago
2 likes

Department of transport didn't want the garages to have to face the cost of the machines so they gave the responsibily to the undermanned roads policing units.

But it does give you an arguement as tongue "but my car is checked for legality once a year"

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mark1a replied to ktache | 9 months ago
4 likes

I'm really surprised about that because a light transmission tester would only be a few hundred quid, test stations have already had to invest many thousands in the exhaust gas emissions kit, the ramps, the IT kit for real-time online submissions, qualifications for the staff, etc. There must be other reasons other than cost. Plus the DVSA would only have to add another quid onto the test (like they added a few on in 2006 for the online stuff) to make it worth it. Maybe there's a conspiracy theory to be had involving a politician with shares in a tint company. I think we need to know. 

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Robert Hardy replied to Sriracha | 9 months ago
0 likes

It appalls me that tinted side and rear windows are allowed, let alone front ones. The reduced visibility consequences of increased occupant protection thick door and rear pillars contributes enough to killing other road users without allowing drivers to restrict their all round vision even further by reducing the transparency of the vehicle's windows.

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Matthew Acton-Varian replied to Robert Hardy | 9 months ago
0 likes

Robert Hardy wrote:

It appalls me that tinted side and rear windows are allowed, let alone front ones. The reduced visibility consequences of increased occupant protection thick door and rear pillars contributes enough to killing other road users without allowing drivers to restrict their all round vision even further by reducing the transparency of the vehicle's windows.

So what about vans? No rear windows and a mahoosive blind spot?

Such an argument is flawed in this instance. 

I have no qualms with rear passenger windows, and boot windows being of a heavier tint especially where kids are in the back. Light front tints can be especially useful if you are in the right climate for it, but there is nothing actually wrong with front tints provided it is well within the legal limit of allowing light to pass through. It isn't a significant enough reduction to impair vision.

As I have use of a van, I have not found the lack of view behind me a hindrance, as I don't tend to be driving backwards except for parking. At which point speeds are so slow, the reversing buzzers being active, any rare occurence of incidents in such situations are more likely to be very minor. 

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chrisonabike replied to Matthew Acton-Varian | 9 months ago
0 likes

Matthew Acton-Varian wrote:

So what about vans? No rear windows and a mahoosive blind spot?

Such an argument is flawed in this instance. 

I wouldn't say so.  I'd say it's a question of degree.  I bet if all vehicles had more limited view the crash rate would go up.  Especially cars where we know people treat their operation as a casual, quotidien activity.

Yes - you can have children / stuff in the back.  We shouldn't let people stack the odds against their safe operation permanently though.  Recall the case of the lorry driver who'd put a table (was it?) in his front window, blocking some of it?

Vans / light trucks are a case in point in that IIRC the numbers show (PACTS analysis from some years back) they cause the most deaths per distance travelled.  They are lots of them, you don't need special training and they will be doing a lot of manouevering in tight urban spaces.

Vehicles should be made as ergnomic as possible - drivers need all the help they can get.  Then deal with specific exceptions.  Vans / lorries won't have a rear window - so we need to think what environments / use patterns are expected from them and how can we make that safer.

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Sriracha | 9 months ago
18 likes

"Like shooting fish in a barrel", ... I believe I made the same comment in the same context here not so long ago. It's about bloody time - these offenses are in plain view, flaunted by perpetrators. Blacked out front windows, absent numberplates, and a whole parade of drivers on their phones. People don't even try to hide it, so confident are they that the police will not look their way. It is trivially easy to catch these offenders, get on with it plod.

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hutchdaddy replied to Sriracha | 9 months ago
5 likes

"Like shooting fish in a barrel"..."It is trivially easy to catch these offenders, get on with it plod." as Cycling Mikey shows us every day

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Hirsute replied to hutchdaddy | 9 months ago
3 likes

And as he says he's not even in the top 10 of reporters.

Must try and report on the Essex portal again as the local cycling campaign are saying that the police are taking reports more seriously - more courses and fewer letters of advice.

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Car Delenda Est replied to Hirsute | 9 months ago
2 likes
Hirsute wrote:

And as he says he's not even in the top 10 of reporters.

Is there a high score board I'm unaware of?

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Hirsute replied to Car Delenda Est | 9 months ago
3 likes

There must be something !

"Don't worry about me, Paul. Worry about the many tens of thousands of other cyclists with cameras who are out there every day videoing bad drivers. And then all the dashcam drivers who outnumber cyclists. I'm not even in the top ten of London's bad driving reporters."

https://twitter.com/MikeyCycling/status/1671451580925706240

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eburtthebike | 9 months ago
19 likes

"Yesterday, Tranter described the police action as "like shooting fish in a barrel....."

Well said Mr Tranter, and as we all know, the number of illegal, dangerous, callously indifferent drivers is huge, so catching them isn't difficult.  Good to hear that in your patch, traffic police numbers are increasing, and a pity that it isn't happening everywhere.  Given that a road collision is the most likely incident to cause harm or death, and it is so easy to find and prosecute the offenders, I find it astonishing that more emphasis isn't put on it, especially when from reading police reports, dangerous drivers are often wanted for other crimes.

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Matthew Acton-Varian replied to eburtthebike | 9 months ago
1 like

Catching every single incident is difficult because each potential offender effectively commits at least one criminal offence every half a bloody mile.

If you count every individual phone glance, every single passage of speeding, every single red light run ans seperate individuals, drivers are potentially breaking the law (collectively) somewhere up to the tens of millions of times daily and they all go unpunished. That's impossible to police. 

At that rate, it is no wonder drivists think they are above the law and are very much entitled to do as they please.

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IanMSpencer | 9 months ago
22 likes

Finally, people getting killed and the initiative is against potential killers, not getting pedestrians to use the Green Croos Code and cyclists to wear hi-viz.

Certainly is fish in a barrel. I reckon the majority of motorists I see commit offences, speeding (how many drivers slow before limits and accelerate out of them before the end - how many older people don't drive to the limit on rural roads but then maintain speed through villages - the permanent 40mph drivers), running red lights, creeping over the stop line, failing to give way, van drivers incapable of driving without a phone in their hand, and that's before we get onto cycling incidents.

Driving has a lot of herd behaviour and when motorists believe that others are setting the example of appropriate behaviour, poor parking, speeding and other behaviours soon escalate. It probably wouldn't take much rumour-mongering on FaceFriends to get drivers nervous about traps to make them more risk averse.

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belugabob | 9 months ago
7 likes

Surprising amount of support for the police, on that second tweet - maybe, just maybe, the tide is starting to turn, and public opinion is proving to be against bad/dangerous driving

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Secret_squirrel replied to belugabob | 9 months ago
11 likes

I wouldn't hold your breath.  Far more likely that those supporting are the ones who think it's everyone else that's a bad driver but not them. 

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belugabob replied to Secret_squirrel | 9 months ago
1 like

Well, that's a point, but it's better than those who think that both they and the people being 'victimised' are not bad drivers

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HoldingOn | 9 months ago
15 likes

One day and more than 70 motorists putting other road users at risk.

That has got to tell the police something?

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marmotte27 | 9 months ago
15 likes

If this remains more or less a one off it'll solve FA.
I'm pretty sure 23 more officers doesn't bring the force anywhere close tp pre-austerity levels.

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NOtotheEU replied to marmotte27 | 9 months ago
17 likes

marmotte27 wrote:

If this remains more or less a one off it'll solve FA. I'm pretty sure 23 more officers doesn't bring the force anywhere close tp pre-austerity levels.

Exactly. Even if it was done every day at multiple locations it still would only scratch the surface.

The 1.5m mat is being used incorrectly as usual by ignoring the car mirror and half of the width of the handle bars so more like 1m or less and why are the police removing the window tints? Just tell the driver the car doesn't move until the tints are gone and leave them to it. if it's still there at the end of the day it gets towed.

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hawkinspeter replied to NOtotheEU | 9 months ago
12 likes

NOtotheEU wrote:

Exactly. Even if it was done every day at multiple locations it still would only scratch the surface.

The 1.5m mat is being used incorrectly as usual by ignoring the car mirror and half of the width of the handle bars so more like 1m or less and why are the police removing the window tints? Just tell the driver the car doesn't move until the tints are gone and leave them to it. if it's still there at the end of the day it gets towed.

I'd prefer them to tow any vehicles that aren't road worthy. If the vehicle is being towed just because the window is illegally tinted, then at least the owner is more likely to get the message.

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