An unseated cyclist fails to find justice…

ANYONE who cycles will be shocked by this. Or maybe they won’t be, the way things are.

A cyclist put a video online yesterday showing the moment he was knocked off his bike by a car that didn’t stop. The incident happened in November 2014, but the victim has only released the footage now to highlight what he sees as a lack of justice.

“At the time there was an ongoing criminal investigation and I didn’t want footage that I released online to hamper than investigation,” he told the BBC website. He shouldn’t have worried as the case fell apart.

The cyclist does not reveal his name, but calls himself Reginald Scot on his YouTube video. Odd perhaps that he chooses to remain anonymous, but this unseated cyclist does have reason to be annoyed.

First to that clip, shot from behind, presumably from a helmet camera. This shows a Volvo following the cyclist around a roundabout in Nottingham; its number plate is perfectly visible in the footage. The car stays at a safe distance, and then for no apparent reason accelerates and bumps into the bicycle. The camera tumbles, the cyclist can be heard groaning on the ground; and the car speeds off.

It turned out the car was a hire vehicle sub-leased through a number of companies. I don’t know why this should be, or if this is normal, but it was enough to stymie the investigation.

An investigating officer did manage to trace a man and woman who were eligible to drive the car at the time; he asked them who was driving but they did not respond, and they were then “summonsed to court for failing to stop at the scene of an accident, failing to report an accident and failing to respond to a legal request for driver details”.

The Crown Prosecution Service then became involved, and their efforts suggest, not for the first time, that they should be renamed the Crown Non-Prosecution Service: not enough evidence to prove who was driving at the moment of collision, apparently.

The charges relating to failing to stop or failing to report were dropped, although a 52-year-old man from Nottingham received six penalty points and was fined £150 for failing to provide driver details. So presumably he was identified to some extent.

The cyclist needed four months to recover from his injuries, and a further month of physiotherapy. He said: “It would never put me off cycling but it has made me very annoyed at the fact that cyclists are being let down time and time again when it comes to justice.”

Cycling is a fantastic way to get around, especially in a small city such as York, where you can travel to most places within 30 minutes. A regular route of mine runs from the outer reaches where we live, down through Holgate, over Tadcaster Road, skirting Knavesmire, round the back of Millthorpe School, over the lovely Millennium Bridge and the swollen Ouse, and then down the side of the barracks and across the midnight-black of Walmgate Stray in winter to the university.

All that for another appointment with defeat on the squash court.

Sometimes on that route the danger lies in other cyclists, mostly the pro-cyclists who pelt around at a furious pace, handling their bikes with great skill, while sometimes forgetting that not everyone shares their confident abilities.

And the lights! I know people go on about cyclists not having lights, but some of these pro-cyclists are madly dazzling, with two or even three front lights.

But away from that relatively slight risk, the potential danger always lies with cars – or, worse, lumbering great trucks that could obliterate a cyclist as you or I might squash a fly. Cars that drive too fast; cars that pull into a road without looking properly; cars that come so close their wing-mirrors threaten to unseat you (this happened to a friend and caused terrible injuries and much suffering).

So if you’re in a car, be careful (that includes me, too). Look out for cyclists, give them a wide berth. And if you’re a driver who is able enough, ride a bicycle along a busy road: it might just make you see the world – and the risks – a little differently.

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