Cyclists? West Midlands Police don’t care about you.

Today I learned something rather disturbing. It seems that despite the new-media gloss, sheen of approachability, and constant boasts about falling crime, West Midlands Police can no longer be trusted by cyclists to investigate accidents involving them. The tale I will relate here is outrageous, and I’m shocked to the core.

Linda and Aiden are nice folks.

Experienced cyclist and partner of local blogger Linda Mason, Aiden McHaffie is a top bloke, unfortunately involved in a nasty accident with a car that pulled out on him in central Birmingham, way back in March. This horrific accident resulted in Aiden suffering a smashed elbow, amongst other injuries. One would think this a fairly clear cut case – after all, the driver of the car initially admitted liability. However, Aiden’s attempts to get action from the police have met with inertia, lack of interest, and the final indignity of them blaming him for the accident.

I am disgusted by this, and include Aiden’s latest blog post on the matter below. Even when Assistant Chief Constable Marcus Beale was pulled in via twitter, there was a reluctance to act. I can only conclude that our local police force don’t care for the safety and security of cyclists like us, and are much more interested in delaying tactics, prevarication and any course which will cause recorded crime to drop. As we’ve seen before, West Midlands Police seem to present a very caring and  publicly engaged face to social media, but continually fall down when it comes down to translating that into action.

Linda herself has written extensively about this, and there’s a thread running over at Birminham Cyclist.

In car collisions, we cyclists rarely come off well.

Aiden wrote today:

96/365 a travesty of justice by WEST MIDLANDS POLICE

As everyone knows I had an accident on the 1st March coming home from work. As everyone knows the Police weren’t interested and refused to attend or even talk to me until the intervention of Marcus Beale ACC for WM Police. They reluctantly dragged their feet throughout, broke promises left, right and centre. Pushed me from pillar to post and finally interviewed the driver five weeks after the accident.

All bad enough, however the long awaited decision by the Police has arrived and I am to blame, partially but irrespective of that, they actually believe as does the whole of the Investigating officer’s superiors.

Quite how am I to blame. Forgive me if I bang the keyboard too hard.

I was travelling at 20 -25 mph. so therefore 5 – 10 miles per hour below the speed limit.

It was getting dark, well it may have been I didn’t choose the time to go home. It wasn’t lighting up time and I had my lights on.

My main light

as you can see this is a 900 lumen light, a nice bit of kit.

The flashing front light

Not the best but certainly not the worst.

The driver’s view was obscured, even though he stopped in the middle of the bus lane. Fortunately for him I wasn’t a bus then.

I was 12 feet from the car when he overshot the junction from a side road into the main road. Therefore I could have braked.

Ok. For a start how is his overshooting the junction my fault. He shouldn’t have been there for me to HAVE TO AVOID.

Secondly take a look at 12 feet for a moment. About the length of most people’s living rooms. At a speed of 20 to 25 mph, is it reasonable to expect me to brake?

Is it even actually reasonable to expect me to react?? Of course it isn’t. The fact I managed to react and decide that I couldn’t brake and try and avoid him should have been commended not used against me.

So let us cut to the crux of the matter… The driver filed an accident report to his own insurers stating I wasn’t to blame. I have that letter. Yet the police arrived at a different conclusion. Five weeks later, probably at the sight of a copper on the doorstep he may have mitigated the causes. He couldn’t claim my speed was to blame, otherwise his decision to pull out would be dangerous driving. “He was going way too fast so I pulled out on him to teach him a lesson”. That doesn’t sound right does it?

So he would have said he didn’t see me. How is that my fault?. I took every step to ensure I was visible to other road users.

He may have said his vision was impaired. However he must have seen the junction he overshot? Whatever problems he may have encountered on the main road were after he failed to stop. Again, how could this be my fault? It can’t.

We pushed the Police to investigate. They didn’t want to, in fact the refused to do so. I didn’t want revenge or punishment. How many times did I say this? Enough for someone to understand I didn’t want revenge or punishment. I only wanted it recorded he was at fault. And yet the findings of my protectors are that I was at fault. It is hard to put into words the, anger, the disappointment, frustration and the sheer bloody INJUSTICE of this episode.

I hope that no one else finds themselves in need of the Police as they can’t even put the facts together and come out with a half decent conclusion.

He failed to stop at a junction. He was joining a main road from a side road. He failed to observe the traffic and he caused the accident.

How can I have any control over his actions? Therefore how can I be partially responsible?

The Police, have failed me. They were odds on for failing me from the start. But it isn’t only me they have failed. As the most frail of road users, we need protecting. A clear message needs sending out to other road users that we DO have a RIGHT to be ON THE SAME ROADS and that justice will be served if you hurt one.

This is my belief. The Police reluctantly responded because their Assistant Chief Constable goes on Twitter. They really didn’t investigate anything. They didn’t even read my statement. They don’t have to prove what they did, they won’t be held accountable as I was “only a cyclist” I had the sheer bloody audacity to be on the same road as road tax payers and worst still I was batting on a bit.

It is also my belief that the POLICE TAUGHT ME A LESSON, they never wanted to investigate and HAVE PUNISHED ME for making them do so. There you are, the Police are better than you. Car drivers are better than you. Don’t DARE REPORT ANYTHING so that their figures will look great and their ACC CAN TWITTER ABOUT WHAT A GREAT JOB THEY ARE DOING.

Thanks for nothing, in fact thanks for less than nothing.

This entry was posted in Bad Science, cycling, Environment, Events, Interesting photos, It makes me mad!, Just plain daft, Local media, News, Reader enquiries, Shared media, Social Media, Spotted whilst browsing the web, Walsall community. Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to Cyclists? West Midlands Police don’t care about you.

  1. Adrian says:

    Disgusting !

    But not just West Midlands Police.

    When a dangerous and disturbed women planned to murder me, by running me over, while I was cycling, and announced it to many friends, and then twice drove a car at me at over 100mph, missing me by mm, the police gave her a warning ! Then she boasted on the internet about how she was untouchable ! I have people who have given statements, saying how she spoke to them, in the days leading up to the offence, saying “I’m going to kill him, I’m going to kill him”. If I hadn’t swerved off the road at the last moment, I would be dead.

    I have cycled all over the world, raced all over the world, for the last 29 years, so I know a deliberate near miss when I see one. Especially when she was on my side of the road, head-on, at 100mph.

    That was West Mercia Police.

    Her partner was/is, a police officer. I wonder if that helped her ? Possibly worth looking into any connections with your assailant and the Police. It does happen.

    Cyclists have no protection in Britain. Its so different in France.

  2. Chris Hill says:

    This is really disturbing !

  3. ianrobo says:

    Disgusting and I would hope Aiden has employed a decent legal firm because from personal experience they take no shit over this

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  6. Alex Green says:

    A similar thing happened to me in London in my 1st year at uni in 1997. Looks like there has been no improvement in protection for cyclists since!

    I was ‘batting on a bit’ on my way home from uni when a bus decided to overtake me.
    As it got past me and I was 5/6 of the way down the bus, it inexplicably stopped to allow a car to turn from the main road across the flow of traffic into a side road.

    The poor old gent at the wheel didn’t bother to follow the highway code and check to see if it was safe to manouver, but just pulled across, at the same time as I emerged at the front end of the bus braking as hard as possible as I tried to stop to avoid any possible car that may have been coming. 8m is not long enough for a bicycle travelling at 20-25 mph to stop even with my well maintained brake blocks.

    The resulting collision totalled my bike, my helmet and my right clavicle (dislocated at the sternal end), scarred an eyebrow and left 7 teeth embedded in either road or bonnet.
    When I woke in the Royal Free hospital, Hampstead, it wasn’t very comfortable.

    When the police intervieiwed me eventually, they claimed it was “difficult to see who was at fault” citing ‘pedestrian witnesses’ claiming I went up the inside if a bus!
    Whilst that was technically true, my guess is that none of the ‘witnesses’ had ever read the highway code nor considered a bicycle’s breaking-distance.

    I failed to see how it was my fault, and though he should have checked thoroughly, the driver was probably less at fault than the non-involved party – the bus driver who made such a ridiculous decision having just overtaken me.

    The upshot was, in the end, that I, being a non-vindictive, fairly passive student dropped the whole thing out of delusionment and my kind parents forked out over £4000 for dental repairs over the next few years (on top of funding a £6000 a year university course and London living expenses).

    Basically, as you say, to the majority of road users, and to the investigating ‘protectors’ cyclists are second (or lower) class citizens.

    Back then, even if I had been that way, ‘no win, no fee’ wasn’t as popular so I walked away with just my injuries and a bike to replace!

    Good luck anyway chap, hope things work out & get well soon.

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  10. William says:

    Incidents like this are the reasons more and more cyclists are using bike cams. A few years down the line and I think they will be treated as a prerequisite to road cycling since there are so many dangerous, incompetent fools behind the wheel. This is to be expected in a densely-populated area where, it seems, certain people don’t care about protecting and serving the people who look upto them. I say some people because I don’t want to tarnish everyone with the same brush; many police officers are cyclists themselves and know all too well the dangers of using British roads whether in uniform or out. I think most of them are on our side, but their hands are tied by those who put propaganda before saving lives and cutting crime. Take care.

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  12. Pete Laffan says:

    Sorry to hear about this. It seems to be the same everywhere. I got a camera after a bus nearly killed me while cycling to work. I took video evidence in of someone overtaking and pulling around me to turn left while I was travelling at 24 miles per hour causing me to have to come to a standstill. Keighley police treat it with contempt, I was informed that no offence had been committed. I think unless someone is actually killed the police don’t want to know. There’s always the feeling in the back of my mind that they are thinking ‘Oh it’s just a cyclist not a real road user like a motorist’.

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