UK Parliamentary report details failures of police and courts to cyclists

©Barry Sandland/TIMB - Bumber sticker on a bicycle reads, In Bike We Trust.

©Barry Sandland/TIMB – We trust our bikes, but less so the police and courts to do the right thing.

There has been a shocking report released in the UK about the dire situation of policing, and justice in the courts, for cyclists. The All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group (APPCG) met over a series of weeks and heard testimonies about the inadequate response of police and UK courts to injuries to, and deaths of cyclists, many from cyclists who have been personally severely injured in incidents, filmed exchanges where assaults have happened, or just close-shave survivors. The result is a stark parliamentary report that states the vulnerable cycling community has been, over many, many years, poorly served by the police and courts.
In total, the report has 14 recommendations for change, ranging from encouraging the police to be more receptive to videos provided by cyclists to nationwide roll-out of “safe space” education and undercover police cyclists, teamed with motorised colleagues, to address close pass issues, along with recommended changes to the highway code
It has to be a welcome relief for UK cyclists who have seen years of abuse, that police failed to address, create a culture of superiority and dominance, along with disdain and contempt, within the car driving population towards cyclists. The expanding numbers of cyclists on the road, the power of their collective voice has been helpful. But instrumental has been the video footage recorded by too many cyclists – as well as the reported incidents where prosecution has failed to occur, time and time again, or the court sentence was too lenient to be credible. The building outrage, from media reports to die-in protests after another cyclist had been killed one the streets, has been successful in creating the investigation.
The result is a parliamentary report that makes it clear cyclists have bevel poorly served and a change must happen.
The change will not be overnight, but is another step in the right direction. Jeremy Vine and his high profile instance of extreme abuse by a driver (the driver was sent to jail), has been a welcome relief. But in the past year, drivers who caused the death of cyclists have found themselves w the most meagre of punishments, often excused w the flimsiest of excuses, ranging from the cyclists deemed to have fallen from the sky to the driver thinking the body his car bounced over was just a piece of litter.
And the parliamentary report addressed this with their notice on how many drivers have been suspended from driving. The rates have fallen by 65% over the past decade. And more and more drivers, remain on the road, pleading exceptional hardships should they be denied their car. Which means more and more drivers proven to be dangerous remain on the roads.
In many aspects, the report condemns the “right to drive” attitude that dominates UK culture. Instead, the report clearly states that driving is a privilege.
Hopefully life for cyclists will steadily improve. But, for that to happen, the police and courts have to acknowledge their shortcomings and resolve to do a better job. A far better job.
Notes: 
Parliamentary Group  reports on Cycling UK website
http://www.cyclinguk.org/blog/duncandollimore/appcg-blog
All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group recommendations
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