Campaigns

Making Bristol better for cycling

Putting lives first on Bristol’s roads – A Safe Systems Approach

We warmly welcome the long awaited road danger reduction strategy from Bristol Council, A Safe Systems Approach to Road Safety in Bristol – A ten year plan 2015-2024 (document in link below). This is the Road Danger Reduction Strategy we’ve been calling for as part of our Road Justice campaign. We do feel there is too much emphasis on the ‘fatal four’ (speed, drink, mobile phones and seat belts, also the centre of the police strategy above), as the cause for deaths and injuries. Important though speed is for more vulnerable road users, none of these factors appeared to contribute to any of the incidents…

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Policing Bristol’s roads – two strategies and a damning critique

Three significant publications in the past few weeks will do much to decide how safe Bristol’s roads are for cycling in the coming years. Avon and Somerset police put out their Policing the Roads Strategy. Bristol Council issues their long awaited road danger reduction strategy A Safe Systems Approach to Road Safety in Bristol. Finally the prosecution service was heavily criticised in the Joint Inspection of the Investigation and Prosecution of Fatal Road Traffic Incidents. We discuss each of these and what they mean for Bristol.

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February update on work with police

We have had a further meeting with the police, along with CTC and RoadPeace as the ‘Road Justice Committee’, and raised the following issues: Near miss and dangerous driving reporting We are continuing to press the police to introduce a near miss/dangerous driving reporting system. They have agreed to do this but, as yet, have not started work on its introduction; however, they reported that they plan to appoint an officer to do so. We handed over information on existing schemes run elsewhere in the country and suggested that they need to talk to them about what works best. Casework One of the cases we have taken up demonstrates the need for such a scheme and its potential value. Dr B. was cycling down St Johns Lane, Totterdown when she had to jump out of the way of an Argos lorry which had decided to overtake her just where the road narrowed. She tried reporting the incident to the police but was told that since she escaped injury there was nothing to report.

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Update to Police and Crime Commissioner, Sue Mountstevens

Here is a copy of the letter we’ve sent to the PCC on 8th December 2014 about our ongoing Road Justice work with police officers. We’re driven to address the social injustice whereby between 1 and 2 pedestrians/cyclists are being KSI (killed or seriously injured) in our community each week. The response we had was:  Thank you for this very interesting and informative update.  I will take up your comments with the Road Safety Lead within the Constabulary to ensure your message gets heard. 

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Road Justice update November 2014

The Road Justice group met officers at Bridewell Police Station on 4th November 2014. It is clearly still a time of change for the police with a major reorganisation underway alongside the updating of all their computer systems. This possibly makes our engagement with them all the more important given the lack of continuity in terms of both personnel and focus on road danger reduction and enforcement. The main points discussed at the meeting were:  Superintendent Richard Corrigan has been appointed to lead on the implementation of the Force’s new Policing Roads Strategy document. Chief Inspector Andy Bennett has been appointed Commander Bristol North and West and will be our main local point of contact. Both expect to be around for 2+ years. Police could not reassure us that they will attend all incidents resulting in injury to cyclists; on occasions they have to prioritise calls, but they will follow up all reports. New “Road traffic collision response and victim service flow chart” has been rolled out and all beat officers have attended training on correct process to follow in dealing with incidents. We reiterated our belief, backed up by evidence, that neither their 101 phone service or electronic reporting systems allow cyclists to report dangerous driving and near misses. Police said they are reorganising their reporting and dispatching service and claim that, when this is done, this will improve things.

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Our Road Justice campaign used as a national case study

The CTC have used our work in a national case study to help other groups. Of course the secret of our success has been the small group of committed individual (as always – “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead link). Original article: http://www.ctc.org.uk/case-study/bristol-road-justice-campaigners-put-pressure-police Bristol Road Justice campaigners put pressure on police   printer-friendly version Bristol Cycling Campaign (BCyC) is an excellent example of a group of local campaigners who have wholeheartedly got behind the Road Justice campaign by ramping up pressure on their local force to improve roads policing. Road Justice map of police pledges One element of the Road Justice campaign is for campaigners to put pressure on their local police force to pledge to implement the recommendations in the report ‘Road Justice: the role of the police’ and then to monitor the force’s progress in implementing those recommendations, all of which are aimed at improving police handling of road traffic collisions.  Here we give you an insight into how one cycling campaign group has managed to engage with their local force and what success they’ve had so far in getting them to improve roads policing. This case study can be used as a template for anyone wishing to engage with their police force. Bristol Cycling Campaign (aka BCyC) is a cycling campaign group led by a small team of volunteers with several thousand supporters. They have succeeded in setting up a working partnership with their local police force, Avon & Somerset Police, through well thought out actions and commitment to the goals of the Road Justice campaign.

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Productive meeting with Chief Constable

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:

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Road Justice Update – 10 April 2014

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.

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Road Justice Progress Update – March 2014

  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…

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December 2013 meeting with Chief Constable

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.

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