Should BCyC take up the issue of poor cycling behaviour?

Our Road Justice campaign aims to make the roads safer by demanding that the justice system take a tougher approach to bad driving. But what about bad cycling?

This is an issue that comes up constantly when advocating for cycling. We have supported enforcement action by the police where it’s suitably targeted and evidence based, but it’s always important to remember that there is no ‘us’, and to keep our focus on the elephant. 

We received a letter from a cyclist who was cut up by another rider (dark clothing, no lights, raced up on the inside). She fell and fractured her shoulder in four places on hitting the curb. The incident was not reported to the police as she felt she had no information to give them. Quite reasonably she wanted to know what BCyC was doing about ‘poor cycling as this presents a danger to us all’.

Here’s our response:

Thank you for letting us know about your incident. I am sorry to hear about your injuries and hope you are making a good recovery.
We do encourage cyclists to report incidents, including those caused by inconsiderate cyclists, even where no identification and prosecution is likely or possible. This is so that the police have as full a picture as possible of the dangers on the road and can plan effective preventative and/or enforcement action.
Members of the Bristol Cycling Campaign are active in a range of activities specifically aimed at helping cyclists, or potential cyclists, learn to travel in safety on the roads. There are also in the media and amongst some groups in Bristol on-going campaigns to “crack down” on cyclists which the police have responded to. For instance, the police have run campaigns to deal with pavement cycling, an issue which, according to their records accounted for 2 of the 218 road traffic incidents involving injury to pedestrians in Bristol in 2013. Similarly, they have run campaigns relating to cyclists riding without lights which their officers recorded as a contributory factor in less than 1% of the 232 incidents involving injury to cyclists.
Bristol Cycling Campaign only has limited resources. Overall, in 2013, 87.5% of emergency admissions to hospital of pedestrians following road traffic incidents were the result of collisions with motorised vehicles. Similarly, 80% of emergency admissions of cyclists were the result of this type of collision. Our study of incidents on the Gloucester Road showed that the overwhelming cause of injury to cyclists was the lack of due care and attention by motorists, for instance when turning, pulling out or opening doors. That is not to say that other causes are not important, especially to the individuals concerned. However, we are concentrating our limited resources on the enforcement of safe driving so as to radically reduce the appallingly high number of pedestrians and cyclists killed and injured on Bristol’s roads. Others of our colleagues campaign for better infrastructure, which tends to breed good behaviour. We all believe in considerate use of the roads but I do think we need to recognise the major causes of the dangers which exist and concentrate on tackling them.
Best wishes,
for Bristol Cycling Campaign