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. 


From: Rob Harding
Sent: 08 December 2014 18:27
To: Sue Mountstevens
Cc: Andy Bennett (Chief Insp); John Long; Eric Booth; Mark Brough; Rhia Weston; Steve Duddell
Subject: Road Justice and Incidents Involving Cyclists 

Dear Ms Mountstevens,

I am writing to update you on the work of the Bristol Road Justice Committee. The Committee now includes representatives of CTC (the national cycling charity), Bristol Cycling Campaign and Road Peace, who work with the bereaved and those injured on the roads.

In 2013 you signed up to the recommendations of the CTC’s report Road Justice – the Role of the Police. Shortly afterwards we wrote to the Chief Constable, copied to you, raising our concerns about the lack of enforcement in relation to recorded incidents of dangerous driving on the Gloucester Road which had led to injuries to cyclists. Since that time we have had a series of meeting with your officers and developed a constructive working relationship with them.

One of the issues on which we are working with them is the recording and investigation of careless or dangerous driving which has resulted in injury to cyclists. We have raised incidents with the police which, despite their involvement, have not been recorded or have been incorrectly recorded as less serious incidents This situation would appear to mirror the findings of the recent HMIC inspection. Arising out of this work, we understand that in-house training has been provided to all front-line officers on new guidance for dealing with road traffic collisions. Supervision and checking of processes has also been tightened up. We are hopeful that this will lead to more comprehensive recording of incidents as well as a higher quality and more consistent level of service to victims. We will, of course, be monitoring the situation.

One area where further work is currently being undertaken is on the reporting of instances of dangerous driving and “near misses” where no injury occurs. We have received a number of complaints from cyclists where they have attempted to report such instances only for the on-line reporting or in-station service to decline to deal with the matter. I attach a recent complaint from Dr Rosemary Bailey who was involved in a potentially fatal incident involving a dangerously driven Argos lorry. Despite her best efforts, she was unable to get Avon and Somerset Police to record this incident either on-line or at the station. I have referred the case to Chief Inspector Andy Bennett, the policing lead for cycling, who I am pleased to say has very promptly undertaken to look into the matter. Chief Inspector Bennett is also actively looking into establishing a more effective system for dealing with reports of dangerous driving and near misses.

The Road Justice Committee are also keen that information from both the police’s road traffic injury reports and reports of dangerous driving and near misses is used pro-actively by the police and Bristol City Council as part of their road danger reduction strategy. At present the police put considerable efforts into stopping unauthorised cycling on the pavement, which accounts for less than 1% of recorded injuries to pedestrians. Similarly, campaigns have been run to stop cyclists riding at night without lights and high-viz jackets, which your officers have identified as a contributory factor in less than 1% of recorded incidents resulting in injury. Our study of incidents in 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. With improved record keeping we would hope that a more focused effort could be made by all the agencies involved to tackle the danger being caused to cyclists and pedestrians.

The Road Justice Committee plans to continue working with your officers. If there is any further information you require from us or any matters you wish to discuss, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

Yours sincerely,

Rob Harding

For the Bristol Road Justice Committee