• Office of the Police & Crime Commissioner for Cambridge

Road safety: “You can’t cherry pick the law” says Sir Graham

January 4th, 2013

Police and Crime Commissioner Sir Graham Bright says that everybody has a responsibility to ensure they are using roads safely to reduce deaths and injuries in Cambridgeshire.

The 2011 Cambridgeshire Joint Road Casualty Data Report states that 15 per cent of all casualties in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough were pedal cyclists. 46 per cent of these were injured in Cambridge City where pedal cycles were involved in 60% of all accidents.

Speaking about his decision to ask the Chief Constable to focus on anti-social cycling in Cambridge, Sir Graham explained that during his election campaign to become Cambridgeshire’s first Police and Crime Commissioner, the issue was raised with him many times by the people who spoke to him.

“The law is the law, whether you are talking about pedestrians, cyclists or motorists – particularly those using mobile phones whilst driving. You can’t cherry pick which bits of the law you will adhere to. The fact is that there are more bicycles per head of population in Cambridge than almost anywhere else in the world and dangerous cycling in the city was brought to my attention during my election campaign. As a result I asked the Chief Constable to tackle it. Dangerous cycling is a risk to all road users, including the cyclists themselves. All road users have a responsibility to walk, cycle or drive safely.”

The Constabulary runs various road safety campaigns throughout the year. The ‘Operation Pedalo’ campaign to tackle anti-social cycling in Cambridge ran for two weeks in December and will run again in February

Accident data statistics for Cambridgeshire in 2011 can be found by clicking here

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  • Claire says:

    Seriously? The most important thing for the police commissioner to worry about is cyclists going the wrong way down a one one way street? Educating people on how to cycle safely is important but is it really the most important thing for Sir Graham Bright? The people who complain about cyclists are usually just jealous because they are stuck in a traffic jam. What looks dangerous from within a car is often completely safe and considered risk by the cyclist who has much greater visibility from their seat. There are some crazy cyclists but are we sure we cant find something more important to encourage the police to do?

  • Gareth Evans says:

    Of the 60% of accidents which involved cyclists, would the PCC like to comment what percentage of those were the fault of the cyclist. From the police’s own statistics. Then deal with the problem

    Thank you

  • Leslie Thomas says:

    I write to support your intentions to require the Chief Constable of Cambridge to prioritise, and hopefully prosecute, danger cyclists. I would ask you to go further and introduce some kind of licencing of cyclists to require them to identify themselves and take responsibility for the fear and accidents they cause.

    I have lived in Cambridge for forty years and the attitude of many cyclists has notably worsened over this period. I was ridden into as I stood waiting for a bus on the pavement on Green End Road at 5.30pm a few weeks’ ago. The female rider was not content with this one act of assault but stopped her bike round the corner and strode back menacingly wielding her bicycle chain before my eyes, whilst claiming her right to cycle on the pavement “like everybody else”. With her free hand she three times slapped me hard on the face. Although the police attended and I was able to identify the exact house she regularly rides into, police are unwilling to prosecute and last week filed the case.

    At 8.30pm on August 7th last year, a visiting academic in his sixties was using the pedestrian crossing with a crowd of others outside the Salvation Army shop on Mill Road, when a female cyclist rode hard into the crowd of crossing pedestrians, knocking down a number including the gentleman mentioned. Instead of pursuing his academic research as he had intended, he spent no less than 11 weeks in Addenbrookes Hospital with a broken hip and is still using a stick to walk now that he has returned home. Apart from the personal cost to him for using a pedestrian crossing, there is the high and unnecessary cost to the British tax-payer of his medical care and rehabilitation. The cyclist showed no intention of ascertaining what damage she had caused, and certainly offered her name and contact details to no-one. The victim was not advised to report the incident to the police, no doubt because most Cambridge residents do not expect cyclists like this to be prosecuted and imprisoned for the immense damage they routinely cause.

    As a driver, I know I have saved the lives of countless cyclists over the years by expecting and anticipating most if not all of their careless and aggressive cycling whether on road, pavement or pathway. Some cyclists, of all ages, are manifestly suicidal and I deeply resent them trying to implicate me, as a qualified, careful and insured driver, in their death or maiming. The minority of well-trained and careful cyclists, some of them very young, shine like beacons on the road by indicating and positioning themselves clearly and where the Highway Code indicates. I feel like getting out of my car and complimenting them for their unusually good behaviour.

    Car, bus and lorry drivers feel helpless in the face of Cambridge cyclists since it is always drivers who have to take responsibility for any accident, however clearly caused by one or more irresponsible cyclists of all ages and capabilities- many of them drunk.

    Please continue to remind police of their continuing responsibilities to identify and prosecute danger cyclists: too often police are seen out and about stopping these cyclists for a short time, only to move on to another non-cycling priority.

  • Steve Godfrey says:

    The best way to improve road (cycling) safety in the county is to get more bobbies out on bikes. However they must be officers that are both confident and enthusiastic about cycling. These officers will then have an excellent knowledge base of road safety and the road traffic act pertaining to cycling. It will enable them to engage with all road users without alienating any one section of the public. It also has many other benefits including increased levels of fitness and less days off due to illness. Better visibility and approachability compared to officers in cars etc etc

  • cambs_editor says:

    Road safety is tackled in partnership and related statistics are compiled in the same way via various organisations, including the police. The Cambridge campaign is one part of Cambridgeshire Constabulary’s strategy to improve road safety. Part of the cycling campaign specifically is about ensuring that cyclists are easily and clearly seen by other road users to avoid injuries to themselves. The Commissioner has also visited a local Speedwatch Scheme, the aim of which is to involve volunteers from communities in tackling speeding motorists.

  • A cycling cardriver says:

    Congratulations on bringing the spot light to the problem of road users. We all know cars are more dangerous in an accident. We also know a large percentage of cyclists ignore road traffics laws.

    As a cyclist and car driver, I fully support the actions being taken. The laws apply to all road uses, and this current targeting is about applying the law more fairly. It’s not wasting police resources, as we are talking about a small handful of officers, out of hundreds, being tasked with addressing the problem.

  • Al Storer says:

    ‘”You can’t cherry pick the law” says Sir Graham’
    But clearly he can…

  • MJ Ray says:

    I visit Cambridge for work, leisure and Addenbrookes appointments, sometimes by car and bus, sometimes by train and foot or bike. By all methods, I’ve rarely had problems with cyclists, but often had problem with amazing stunts by motor vehicles. So, I really feel that this campaign seems to be ignoring the evidence and pandering to prejudices. Maybe this isn’t surprising: low turnout elections often over-emphasise extreme views and the PCC elections were among the lowest turnouts ever.

    So look at the linked evidence. There might have been 391 cycle user casualties of any type (not really accidents, are they?) but most were slight, with only 4 fatalities in 2011. Meanwhile, there were 33 fatalities in total, 18 of which (more than half) were car users. There were 3190 casualties in total, with 2003 (almost two-thirds) being car users. Of course, this could be weighted by number of trips or length of time, but that’s not in the reported data.

    This news release’s title is “You can’t cherry-pick the law” and yet, this campaign cherry-picks cyclists. Please ask the Chief Constable to put cycling as part of a much-needed more general approach to road traffic law enforcement, which probably should use more than half its resources on car users, in line with the proportion of fatalities and casualties that they cause.

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