Wednesday, 29 December 2010

20 cm: The Conclusion

The 1st of March 2010 was just another day cycling to work. It should have been a fairly short journey. However, the journey only started that day and only now has it reached a conclusion. On that journey I came within centimeters of loosing my life.....

20 centimeters.



Just before Christmas I finally found out why the driver in the above clip will not face prosecution, and it is definitely the end of the road for this incident.

After chasing, and chasing and chasing the Procurator Fiscal, on the 1st December I received a letter informing me that the case was not going to be prosecuted due to 'Insufficient Evidence'. Specifically the evidence lacking was the proof of who was driving the HGV. This seemed rather strange to me, as at the time of the incident the driver was questioned, admitted driving the HGV and was charged with dangerous driving. How could this be?

It turns out (following a long conversation with the PF office) that I am in fact a victim of a Supreme Court ruling from October this year.

In short the ruling means that the old practice in Scotland of interviewing a suspect without asking a suspect if they want a lawyer present was now unlawful. This ruling was also retrospective. It turns out that the HGV driver in this case was, you guessed it, interviewed in this way. Thus the interview was inadmissible in court, as was any admission of driving the HGV.

Of course there is more than one way to prove who was driving the HGV on that day, tachograph records, company records etc, but this wasn't investigated by the police so there is no corroborating evidence of who was driving the HGV.

The law is certainly in this instance an ass.

What did transpire during my conversation with the PF was that my video evidence in itself did not constitute corroborating evidence to my own statement. Thus, as it stood my testimony and the video evidence were not enough to convict. However, there was a simple way around that. If the case did come to court, the video evidence would be shown with 'in court' comments from an expert witness, i.e. a traffic officer. Any comments that the officer made about the video, i.e. 'driving of that standard would be considered dangerous driving, in my view' would provide the required corroboration.

So from an evidential point of view helmet camera evidence is admissible and useful in court.


So, whilst I am annoyed that this particular case cannot proceed any further, I am happy in the knowledge that should something like this happen again (hopefully not!) that my helmet camera evidence will be invaluable.

I'll keep on filming......

11 comments:

  1. A nice positive there mate even if the driver didn't get what he deserved.

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  2. I would say better luck next time, but it would be better if there wasn't a next time. Lets just hope than you never need to produce a video as evidence again. Keep on riding.

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  3. I've just recently found your stuff. I have to say that lorry driver needs to get out his truck and cycle. Whilst my work precludes me from commuting I'm very much a cyclist. At least when I see what you put up I realise I'm not alone when I get cut up by cars in edinburgh. Keep filming and posting, very interesting stuff.

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  5. try not to get yourself killed, too many bad drivers out there.
    I try not to cycle on the roads any-more, cos it's just too dangerous.

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  6. I've read some of the comments on YT and they are not only insensitive to your plight but also factually flawed. It seems some people just want to hate on cyclists in general, using your video as an excuse. I simply say this: if those people had been in a car and that lorry had (it seemed), failed to approach the island at the correct speed as apparently shown, they would have been burned to a crisp. You were coming from the right, you have right of way regardless of what exit you take. The driver failed to drive in accordance with the conditions and put lives at risk. Keep your head up, ignore the stupid morons on YT who just want to argue for sake of it. Take care, and say hi to that Angel you have looking out for you mate :) From Quad.

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  7. You might want to formally note this with Joan Aitkin the Scottish Traffic Commissioner, as she has the say on vocational driving licences and also on operators' licences. Without a conviction she is unlikely to revoke a licence but options of interview and noting recorded detail are possible.

    The TC has the perogative to act on issues with poor LGV and PCV driving, and operators who fail to demonstrate good repute - eg employing drivers with records for drunken & dangerous driving like Denis Putz, without control checks, or Joao Lopes with a sight defect that had already resulted in one death, and thus allowing him to kill again with an HGV, less than 3 years later.

    Again it speaks volumes when the same operators and sometime the same vehicles and drivers feature in fatal and serious injury incidents, and this should prompt an invitation to discuss their operator's licence.

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  8. I do a 35 mile round-trip in London every day. The standard of driving is shocking. I lost my go-pro dinghy sailing last month, so am not videoing my journeys at the 'mo, but will soon be re-equipped. My biggest bugbear is that occasionally I'll see the police on the roads, and invariably, they're stopping cyclists who have run a red light. Whilst I hate this practice, it is not even remotely comparable to the driving offences which I see go unpunished every day. Put a camera on every traffic light and on every cycle lane. We could raise millions from the scooterists and bikers who routinely use cycle lanes, and from the drivers who jump the lights (clue: Amber means stop!). Prosecute every white-line offence, and _then_ start having a go at cyclists.
    Whilst many met policemen and women are great, as an institution they are useless, favouring cars all the time. It is outrageous!

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    1. Amber doesn't mean stop, it means prepare to stop or do not cross the line if you cannot make it cleanly through in time before red. It warns of the coming red. Obviously you'll agree that people are in too much of a rush, due to being suck-ups to their boss and cutting too many corners with their work-life balance, thus needing to steal time back at the cost of other people's safety (in effect, here). I see no real point in complaining about red light jumping when we should be complaining about our pathetic unpaid-overtime culture in the UK first. Cause-and-effect happens in a distinct order. You cannot treat the effect, you have to treat the cause. Prevent it. Of course people resent being browbeaten into behaving. They should be uniting with their accusers to take aim at the real problem - banker-led Rip Off Britain squeezing everyone not in the 1% richest, for too much. Hurts everyone, even if we pretend that we're NOT slaves to this. We are. Resistance has to start now.

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    2. No, Amber means 'Stop, if you can', not 'Go, if you can'.
      Highway Code 175
      You MUST stop behind the white ‘Stop’ line across your side of the road unless the light is green. If the amber light appears you may go on only if you have already crossed the stop line or are so close to it that to stop might cause a collision.
      Laws RTA 1988 sect 36 & TSRGD regs 10 & 36

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  9. Despite the lack of a prosecution I'd like to believe something did come out of it.

    The driver would have been anxious and stressed by the whole thing for a considerable time before the decision not to prosecute. Faced with the prospect of a dangerous driving conviction, a ban, loss of livelihood etc. I'd hope from that experience it has changed the level of care he takes as a driver in future.

    Also the national media coverage it has received in the UK will hopefully have shocked at least some drivers into looking out for us cyclists more.

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