Three Bristol Cycling Campaign members from the Road Justice sub group recently met the Chief Constable again to review progress on an action plan agreed at our last meeting. At the meeting we discussed evidence-based policing, officer training, ‘near miss’ reporting, and the response of Avon & Somerset Police to the CTC Road Justice pledge. This was a wide ranging discussion that noted that progress had been made in some areas, but there was much to do. A further review of progress will be in October. Here’s a summary of key points:
One of our members, a recent victim of road injustice, has been in touch to let us know the police have decided to prosecute the driver (who broke her face, jaw and teeth last September) for dirving without due care and attention. The trial is set for 1 July. She said “I am pleased that after refusing to take a statement from me for 5 months, they finally read what I’d written and took it forward” although she is still waiting for a response from IPCC about police attitudes and competence.
Bristol Cycling Campaign representatives have had two further meetings with the police, to which the Council have also been invited, and have visited the police’s Collisions Investigations Unit in Weston-super-Mare. The police officers concerned have accepted that their practices and procedures need to be improved to deliver a consistently good service to cyclists who have been involved in collisions. They have put forward a number of measures, primarily involving training of police officers, to improve collision investigations. There is further work the Campaign needs to do to ensure these changes are delivered. A major concern is that this overhaul…
A group from Bristol Cycling Campaign met the new Chief Constable of Avon & Somerset, Nick Gargan, appointed earlier in the year by the Police & Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens. Also present were Rhia Weston, who runs the CTC’s Road Justice campaign (www.roadjustice.org.uk) and Superintendent Matt Ayres, in charge of Traffic Management and head of the collisions investigations department. We met to discuss the results of Rob Harding’s Freedom of Information investigations, which have revealed that the police are rarely prosecuting motorists who injure cyclists (no-road-justice-on-gloucester-road); and to discuss reports we have received from members that victims, even when seriously injured, are sometimes treated in a dismissive manner both at the collision scene and thereafter. The police seemed surprised that there are between 1 and 2 pedestrians and/or cyclists being killed or seriously injured in Bristol each week. Inspector Keith Rundle, also present, referred to the current operation against lawless motorists and cyclists, describing it as balanced. We objected that the operation is not balanced, since, of the collisions studied, 100% of the injuries were sustained by cyclists, and 0% by motorists; and since nothing is being done to address over 80% of the collisions’ causes (essentially motorists’ lack of care). We were surprised that they did not appear concerned that in the last year no cases of dangerous driving involving injury to cyclists were referred to the Crown Prosecution Service. Generally, both Nick Gargan and Matt Ayres were concerned at the current state of affairs regarding the handling of cycling incidents and were willing to take steps to mitigate it. Their demeanor was concerned and collaborative, rather than defensive and accusatory, as had been expected given comments from civic leaders in recent months. In particular, Nick Gargan said that a lack of staff should not justify ignoring collisions where there is an injury, and undertook to look into a mechanism for online reporting of dangerous driving from the public. Rhia Weston described the CTC’s online reporting tool (previously called “Stop SMIDSY”), which is used by the Met. Police.
40 cyclists killed, 4 drivers jailed: exclusive investigation reveals only one in 10 drivers are jailed after being involved in cyclist death From the London Evening Standard 2 Jan 2014: Road victim: no prosecutions will follow the cycle death of Katharine Giles inset. Main picture, police observe London cyclists Ross Lydall, Chief News Correspondent Published: 02 January 2014 Updated: 09:56, 03 January 2014 Drivers have only a one in 10 chance of being sent to jail after being involved in the death of a cyclist, an Evening Standard investigation reveals today. An analysis of police data on the 40 cyclists killed in London between 2010 and 2012 found that drivers had been imprisoned on just four occasions. There were seven further cases where minor or suspended sentences were imposed – allowing motorists to walk free. In at least 24 further cases, the Metropolitan or City of London police and the Crown Prosecution Service decided not to press charges or discontinued criminal proceedings. On four occasions the driver was cleared by a jury. The revelations come as it emerged there will be no prosecution in a death involving an HGV last year – that of Dr Katharine Giles at Victoria. Cyclist Alan Neve died last year in an incident involving an HGV. A 51-year-old is currently on bail on a charge of causing death by careless driving. Their respective inquests are due to be heard tomorrow and on Monday. Today politicians and campaigners warned the criminal justice system was failing to offer sufficient protection to cyclists by allowing convicted motorists to escape with “lenient” sentences.
The Police Response to Incidents Involving Cyclists on Bristol’s Gloucester Road
Rob Harding (BCyC member)
Mid-morning traffic on Gloucester Road, Bristol
Early this year I was surprised to see in a local freesheet that a Bishopston Councillor had called for the police to make cracking down on cycling on the pavement one of their top priorities. Whilst an occasional nuisance, I didn’t think the problem was so pervasive or dangerous as to warrant a re-prioritising of police resources. I decided to take a closer look at the cause of road traffic incidents on the Gloucester Road near where I live. The road had already been identified as one of the six worst in Bristol in terms of incidents involving injury to cyclists (see Sam Saunders’ blog).