Driver sacked after cyclist reports dangerous driving
photo The RoadSafe website allows cyclists to report near misses and incidents to the police using an online form
An LCC member has told how a new website could have contributed to a dangerous driver being sacked from his work.
James Hoggarth was cycling in traffic on Pall Mall when the car behind came very close and sounded its horn repeatedly, even though there was a bus in the left lane and nowhere else to ride.
The car overtook in a dangerous manner, almost knocking the cyclist over.
The cyclist caught up with the driver in the stream of traffic, and a verbal altercation took place. "At this point the car driver swore and swerved his car at me," Hoggarth said.
Reporting the incident to the employer
Shocked and frightened by this attempted assault, Hoggarth noted the registration number and name of the company from the side of the car.
He complained to the company, NCPM247.com, which styles itself as “the most environmentally friendly London window cleaner”.
Hoggarth also reported the crime to the new Metropolitan Police 'Roadsafe London' (http://www.met.police.uk/roadsafelondon) website, which allows road users to report incidents. The police also contacted the company to discuss the incident.
Fortunately, this company NCPM247.com takes road safety seriously, and has installed videocameras in all its cars and vans. They told Hoggarth that when the recording from the car showed the driver swerving at him, the driver was suspended, and has since been dismissed.
RoadSafe not designed for convictions
DCI Nick Chalmers, who runs the police reporting site, said: "The primary aim of RoadSafe is not of prosecuting offenders but raising awareness of the potential consequences of their actions in order to promote road safety.
"The scheme allows any member of the community to report their concerns about road conditions, road user behaviour or criminality to Police and each report is dealt with on it's own merits"
LCC communications officer Mike Cavenett said, "While this is no substitution for stronger enforcement of laws against, for example, speeding or mobile phone use, it's welcome that the police have recognised that there are too many unreported incidents under the current system."
With the help of LCC’s recommended solicitor, Levenes (www.levenes.co.uk), James Hoggarth is looking to prosecute the suspended driver for attempted assault.
I regularly seem to take my life into my own hands on my daily commute through Trafalger Square, where drivers don't seem to understand how the 3 lane system works (is it really rocket science?) and, without fail, they change lanes cutting across cyclists that are in the correct lane. I regularly find I have to suddenly swing out from the middle to the outer lane before entering Admiralty Arch in order to avoid near misses by vehicles that have no excuse for not having seen me. I suggest that it be mandatory for drivers to take annual refresher driving tests and for that matter, eye tests.
Police have abdicated responsibility for road traffic. They respond after the fact, in the event of a fatality. In 10 years cycling in London, I can't recall ever seeing a traffic cop. Drivers do whatever they like. And cyclists too for that matter.
It's important to document such dangerous incidents, otherwise nothing will ever get done through lack of information. Such drivers will never change their ways unless more is done towards taking them to court and that means pushing the police that we all pay for.
Great! I'm going to get a video camera on my bike and start gathering evidence of the bullies with motorised fists.
It's good to see an employer acting responsibly. But the website is no substitute for prosecuting offenders - which the police seem to consistently refuse to pursue. I was thrown from my bike by a speeding, hooting minicab bearing left. The police spent over an hour taking statements and evidence, including from other cyclist witnesses and observing the marks from my bike on the vehicle, but still decided to take no further action. So what hope is there for cyclists when there is not even a collision?
Well done James and RoadsafeLondon! It's high time on-road bully culture is addressed.
Further to our very strict approach to road safety, particularly towards cyclists (our director cycles to work daily), we have removed the driver from our company and would like to offer a 10% discount to all LCC members for window cleaning services in London.
If the police want to hear about all the dangerous driving that goes on around me as a daily cyclist then I will be happy to report it, but I will unfortunately be reporting quite often. Even though James Hoggarth's experience was quite extreme, it is a frequent occurrence for drivers to cut me off and cause me to swerve and/or brake, and I find this unnecessary and dangerous. But it happens so much, what are the police actually able to do about it? Drivers behave the way they do because they can get away with it.
Your headline is misleading. The report clearly says that the driver was suspended because the cyclist reported him to his employer. The DCI in charge of the reporting site also clearly states that the purpose of the RoadSafe website is not to prosecute offenders (the Met-police seem to have a laissez-faire attitude to motoring-offences, and apparently that's going to continue.)
So pleased to read this article... this is similar to what happened to me some 13yrs ago, but I was knocked off my bike and hospitalised, the driver was never convicted as the police wanted him for other criminal activities, when I tried to get justice was told I was seeking revenge!!! If we do report all such incidents... I hope it will make a difference not a war?