Near misses are a common experience in the UK and have a significant impact cycling experience and uptake (see the Essential Evidence summary, and the Near Miss Project study). Our Road Justice campaign has been working with the police and this is what they’ve been doing

Update: Following representations from the Bristol Road Justice Group the police have amended their near-miss reporting form. Previously the form was just intended to give the police intelligence as to what types of incidents were occurring and where, so allowing them to target particular types of dangerous driving at certain locations. The form will now ask those reporting near miss incidents to include details of the vehicle involved. This will allow the police to follow up incidents of dangerous driving with identified drivers and fleet owners. The Road Justice Group will be pressing them to do just this.

Members of our Road Justice Group recently met Inspector Andrew Gilbert from the Bristol East-Central Policing Area to discuss issues of common concern. 

Inspector Gilbert reported that, after a slow start, the police’s near miss reporting system (see their web page) is now getting a significant number of hits and the information gathered is proving very useful in identifying problems that the police need to tackle. The Group had recently got the police to ask for more information identifying the driver / fleet involved in the incident and Gilbert expected this to further increase the usefulness of reports.

Another issue we raised was the problem of car doorings which in some areas account for up to 20% of incidents where injury is caused to cyclists by motorists. Gilbert agreed to look into ways of educating drivers as to the dangers of opening doors without due care.

We pressed him on the low incidence of prosecutions, at present only about 10% of incidents resulting in death or injury to cyclists are prosecuted. He did n’t express a view as to whether with the police’s revised training and procedures they would hit the 30% target that Superintendent Corrigan, the police’s lead on road traffic policing, has put forward.

With regard to victim support, Inspector Gilbert offered to try to ensure that victims were made aware of the support offered by Road Peace. The police will also consider attending a Sustrans organised event in Queen Square. Finally, he asked us to help publicize the police’s push to reduce the number of cycle thefts (see separate article).

In all, we felt it was a useful meeting and hope to meet again in a couple of months time.