At the July Cycle Forum Bristol, Damien Devanny, from Avon and Somerset’s Road Safety Department, talked about their work on reports of motorists close passing cyclists and how the police deal with camera submissions.

The close passes, reported using Avon and Somerset Police’s online form, are added to their database of problem locations but this does not lead to any follow-up action in relation to the driver: something Bristol Road Justice have long argued they ought to do.

Where camera submissions of dangerous driving are made, however, they are assessed by a team of traffic cops. During the last year Avon and Somerset Police (ASP)received:

221 submissions from cyclists of which

  • 59 (27%) were forwarded for intended prosecution
  • 127 (57%) of drivers were sent warning letters
  • 35 (16%) cases no further action was taken

An issue raised and accepted by the police was that ASP needs to do more to inform cyclists of the outcome of their submission. Nevertheless, overall the figures suggest that officers professionally assess the evidence and decide on a range of possible actions.

It is instructive to compare these figures to the even more serious road traffic collisions which result in death and injury to cyclists. In 2017, the last year for which we have figures, 232 cyclists were killed or injured on Bristol’s roads and the police were involved in the incident. In:

  • 12 (5%) cases drivers were prosecuted
  • 12 (5%) cases drivers were required to attend education courses
  • 207 (89%) cases no further action was taken

(A small number of ancillary offences, eg no insurance, were also prosecuted.)

Overwhelmingly, these case are dealt with by non-specialist officers who, we have been told by individual officers, have piles of paperwork on their desks and clearly they do not give such incidents the priority they deserve. In short, the results speak for themselves.

Report close passes and submit camera evidence by going to:

https://www.avonandsomerset.police.uk/accidents/#/rnm

https://www.avonandsomerset.police.uk/accidents/#/video-footage