Wednesday 27 May 2009

Boris 4

Further to my posts on the Boris near-miss here, here and here.

It now emerges that

The Daf driver had passed his details to a group of cyclists who had been in the road, and after clearing debris from the road he drove away.

So we’ll never know if he’d been drinking or if he was chatting on a mobile phone at the time of the crash.

“Boris immediately stopped and came cycling back and noticed the driver had tried to hold the doors together with a coat hanger. Obviously that hadn't worked, they'd been flung open, and because of the speed at which the driver had been going they scooped up a parked car and flung it along the road.”

The driver was interviewed under caution but not arrested. He was released after being reported for two motoring offences,
driving without due care and attention and keeping a vehicle in a dangerous condition.

But in driving at speed over a road hump in an attempt to get past a group of cyclists on a narrow road, the driver was plainly guilty not of carelessness but reckless and dangerous driving.

The CTC notes that

The number of drivers in England and Wales prosecuted through the courts for 'dangerous' driving fell by over a third between 2003 and 2006, while the number of penalty notices issued for 'careless' driving offences (excluding the use of a hand held mobile phone while driving) was up 101% from 2005 to 2006. CTC believes this means that more and more dangerous drivers are merely getting a ticket for 'careless' driving, something that reinforces the impression that driving dangerously is not really a serious crime.

I agree. The police and the CPS collude in protecting dangerous drivers. Though it’s a pity that there don’t seem to be any radical cycling lawyers. I think the distinction between ‘careless driving’ and ‘dangerous driving’ is, at it currently stands, unhelpful, and it would be much better to have a single charge of negligent driving, with penalties partly related to the consequences of that negligence.

Boris concludes

“If that had been a Super Highway' the driver would have been aware there would be cyclists”

But the driver was perfectly aware that there was a group of cyclists ahead of him. He chose to put their lives at risk by overtaking in unsuitable circumstances. I can’t see that having a cycle lane painted in the road would have affected the driver’s behaviour one bit.