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.
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.
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.