Today I went to court and was told that the case was to be dropped. Why? Well, the police hadn't served the driver with a section 172, which requires the owner of the vehicle to tell the police who was driving at the time of an incident. Thus, there was no evidence that could be presented to court identifying who the driver was. I was informed all of this by the Procurator Fiscal. This is all despite the fact that, whoever the driver was, the driver had requested that the police counter charge me with careless driving as I had apparently 'forced the driver to brake sharply when I filtered in front'.
So.....and this is a little long winded...... an unidentified driver made a complaint about my cycling, that just so happened to be the driver I was complaining about, which means that driver would have had to give the police his details, and, unless he was lying, would have provided information on the incident in question, but....the court can't be sure who he (I can only assume he was a he....) was?
Here is video of the incident in question. As you'll see, the van is a Car Key Centre van. Feel free to make up your own mind.
What follows are not necessarily the facts of the case. What follows are my opinions of what may or may not happened. I'm going to be fair and provide a number of alternative explanations. Feel free to chose which one you think is accurate based on your own opinon. Perhaps you even have another alternative....
I filter in front of the driver just as the queue starts to move. I filter in safely, as I do nearly every day on numerous occasions without incident. The driver did not like this for some reason and decided to drive close to me. I indicate that I don't like this with a palm back gesture. He pulls out and as he passes swerves his van towards me (whilst hitting his horn) in anger. I am forced to swerve into another, fortunately empty lane. The suggestion being that he used his vehicle as weapon.Option 2
He accidentally dropped his mobile phone and accidentally hit the accelerator, bringing him closer to me. He decided the safest course of action was to try and overtake. As he was passing he went to grab the phone and accidentally hit his horn and swerved towards me. He looked back relieved to see that I had safely swerved into the filter lane. He picked up his phone and apologised to the caller for interrupting the call....Option 3
He spotted a friend in the distance, and wanted to get closer, so he accelerated. He noticed a cyclist ahead of him, so pulled out. He hit his horn to say hello and swerved closer to give them a wave, forgetting in that instance that the pesky cyclist was in the way. He met up with the friend later for drinks and had a laugh about the whole unfortunate incident.Option 4
He carries a large electromagnet in the back of his van, which he accidentally activated as he approached me. This interacted with the aluminium of my bike (actually this does happen, look up Eddie Currents) and caused deviation in his course. He hit the horn to warn me of his big magnet.
In my opinion justice was not served today. It wasn't allowed to. There are some great police, and I've been helped by them over the years, but this time police screwed up. Serving a section 172 is standard in these cases. So why wasn't it in this case?
Unfortunately this is not the first time that the police have messed up in incidents I have reported. These two failed due to the police not issuing a section 1, which warns the driver that their charges can be changed.
How can such simple, school boy errors be made? Would those type of errors be acceptable in any other type of job? How on earth, considering the evidence that the police had seen, was I charged with careless cycling? Why, if this section 172 had never been issued was the case allowed to progress to court?
So, all three drivers are still free to drive, free of prosecution, not guilty of any charges and probably happy as Larry. In my opinion, that is unacceptable. You may have an opinion too......
What is clear, is that we can't depend on the police to protect us. They might, and as I've said, ther are some great police officers out there, but they might not. It is unfortunately luck of the draw. We need to take the conflict away from our roads. We need to redesign them so drivers like this, can't endanger me, or anyone else any more. This is exactly why, we need investment in proper cycle infrastructure. This is why people asking for the Bears Way to get ripped up, must not succeed.