Tuesday 17 December 2013

Flagged Down

Tonight on the way home I had an encounter with a driver.

I was cycling along a fairly busy country road as I often do on the way home when I noticed a car quite close behind me. In fact, as we went along the road (it was busy coming the other way so no overtaking  opportunities) I noticed the car getting closer behind me. It was now tailgating me. I didn't react at first, but it kept getting closer.

After a while I decided to make sure the driver knew they were too close and I gave a 'palm facing backwards' hand signal. Sometimes that encourages the driver to pull back. Not this driver. They stayed put. There was nothing I could do, so I just kept riding, hoping that an overtaking opportunity would arise. It did and the car passed. As it passed I recited the registration out of habit. Even as I did that I decided that this was one of those annoying encounters that wouldn't make it to video. I certainly don't post everything!

About half a mile later I noticed a car pulled into a lay-by  and I saw the driver getting out of the car. It was the driver of the car that was tailgating me.

Oh no. Here we go....

I decided some distance off that I wasn't up for an argument so I kept my speed up as I approached. It was at that point the driver started waving at me.

Oh no. I've got a real crazy one here. Definitely not a good idea to stop!

I went past the driver without slowing....but something wasn't right. The driver was waving a notepad at me. Eh? Correct me if I'm wrong but a crazed lunatic who wants to beat a cyclist to a pulp, doesn't normally do so whilst taking notes......

I decided to pull over.

I stopped and turned back, not entirely sure what to expect. I noticed, that the crazed lunatic didn't actually look like a crazed lunatic after all (what do they actually look like....). In fact it was an older lady, and the lady didn't look crazed.....she looked interested.....

Excuse me, I was wondering.....what lights are you running on the back? They look very bright!

Turns out the lady had actually followed me when she saw me (she went off her route!) and was tailgating me because she wanted to get my attention. She was desperate to find out what lights I had. Apparently her brother had been badly injured in a crash a while back (70 year old  in Milton....anyone know about this?). The driver had seen his flashing light,  not realised that it was a cyclist and....drove straight at it. Apparently the poor chap suffered a broken pelvis. This lady was keen to get him some decent lights, so when she saw some, she was desperate to find out what they were!

We had a nice chat  and she apologised for driving too close. What struck me the most in this whole incident was that when I asked her....what happened to the driver?... she replied...I don't know. You never find that out.

You never find that out.

So a gent in his 70's was seriously injured, through no fault of his own, and he was never informed about what happened to the driver?!?!


How can a system be called a, 'justice system' when the victim is never informed if justice was served?

I've had my fair share of dealings with the police and, as someone who never takes silence as an answer, I've always chased up either the police or the Procurator Fiscal. Should I have to chase though? Should I as a victim, or even a witness have to chase up the system out what has happened?

Worse though, even when someone is seriously injured, the system shows total disregard for the victim by not bothering to tell them what, if anything happened to the driver? Not everyone knows that you need to 'shout' to get information.

The justice system is broken.

I informed the lady that she could find out what happened to the driver, but she would have to chase the procurator fiscal (or police if it didn't get that far) up and find out what happened. She thanked me and we both went on our separate ways.

I was left shocked by this driver interaction, but I wasn't expecting to be shocked the way I was.


Here is a video showing what happened


  1. Yea but.... what lights do you have????

  2. Well, it's not only a problem in traffic offenses. I felt the same when I was victim of vandalism for a while (gangs gathering at night shouting and throwing things at my window etc., several broken windows). Reported to police, and policeperson phoned me later to ask if I'm ok, but I could not find out if anything actually had been done, if problematic groups in my neighbourhood had been investigated or charged.

    Not being informed of the outcome is really a terrible feeling, you are helpless and don't know if the problem is being dealt with or can happen again any time.

  3. The particularly shocking thing is that for several years now, the justice system has been making a lot of noise about making the process more 'restorative', with the aim of giving victims more involvement in court proceedings and community-based rehabilitation. Professionals working in the justice system will bemoan the fact that victims aren't more involved, but the reality is that many people who have been victims of crime want to find out what happened to the offender and get a chance to have their voice heard, but as this lady found out, they never get that chance. There's a real gap between what's supposed to happen and what actually does happen, and that means victims are let down by a system that's supposed to serve them.

  4. Glad it turned out not to be violent lunatic.

    For everyone who wants the "justice" system fixed, you might like to think about signing up to CTC's Road Justice campaign http://www.roadjustice.org.uk/