Cyclists & the Law findings

This was forwarded to all the attendees by Jenny Jones’ office.

Findings from ‘Cyclists and the Law’ seminar, 22nd May 2013

 

Andrew Gilligan’s opening comments

  • It is not just cars but also motorcycles that often fail to stay out of ASLs. He would be in favour of signage warning of £50 fines for vehicles that encroach on ASLs.
  • Cyclists currently are prohibited from entering ASLs via any means other than the feeder lanes and can be prosecuted for doing so. This needs to be changed.
  • Red bicycles on crossings are not allowed whereas red pedestrians and red horses (in Hyde Park Corner junction) are permitted. Why not red bikes?
  • Mayor’s sentencing unit recently set up – monitoring sentences for those convicted of causing death to a cyclist by dangerous or careless driving is a ‘priority’
  • Cycle Task Force to be expanded by 25% – there will be an average of approx. 2 officers per borough
  • Commercial vehicle unit (8 officers) to monitor commercial vehicle safety

Kevin O’Sullivan’s opening comments

  • A big step forward would be for the injury caused to be mentioned in a criminal charge. This would communicate the seriousness of the collision and make the process not just a judgement on the driver’s driving but also on the injury they caused another person (and the impact on that person’s life).

Andrew Gilligan – main comments

  • Suggests we could learn from the Olympics re: restrictions on HGV movements during peak hours – the Games were delivered on time and with restrictions enforced well
  • Stricter liability makes sense especially if we look at the cyclist as the ‘vulnerable road user’ – motorists cannot be classified as vulnerable
  • Bad road design produces bad cyclist behaviour e.g. pavement cycling

Kevin O’Sullivan – main comments

  • Police officers are often reluctant to share CCTV footage after a collision, citing ‘insufficient resources’ as the reason. DCS Wilson agreed with this reasoning
  • ‘Death by careless driving’ is the routine charge in the event of a cyclist fatality
  • After a collision, police should as a matter of course check drivers’ ‘phones to see if they have been used shortly before the incident

Scott Wilson – main comments

  • Re: HGV driver who caused a cyclist’s death not being immediately arrested – this was because the police did not want to use up allowed questioning time before knowing the details of the incident

Darren Johnson AM – main comments

  • Current shift in engineering thinking is not being accompanied by shift in law
  • TfL should insist that boroughs sign up to HGV safety training code of procurement before money is made available to them

Ideas from the floor

  • Stricter penalties should exist for drivers (including police officers) who park their vehicles in cycle lanes. At the moment no penalties
  • Charges of ‘careless’ (introduced in 2008) instead of ‘dangerous’ driving are lessening burden of blame on drivers who have caused injury or death Since 2008, prosecutions for dangerous driving have nosedived. CPS need to look again at this distinction
  • Proximity used to feature in previous incarnations of the highway code but has been dropped. This remains in place on the continent
  • Restrict HGV movements during peak hours (it worked during Olympics)
  • A legally binding inspectorate is lacking (unlike rail or aviation accidents) – if one existed it could prosecute councils for bad junction design Gilligan pointed out this could discourage innovative thinking from junction engineers
  • Poor performance of cycle safety working group. Police do not enforce road traffic laws properly
  • ASLs to be treated the same as yellow box junctions. Kevin O’Sullivan pointed out that this would be best enforced using CCTV, as yellow boxes are enforced
  • Re: the police saying ‘we are not going to enforce 20mph limits’ – elected representatives make these decisions, not the police.
  • More one-way systems which are two-way for cyclists only
  • Junction outside Victoria Station (Palace Street and Victoria Street) lacks safety features such as ASLs. Police cars are often seen inside ASLs all over London. Accidents should be visible on a map like crimes are on the crime map. Signalling in the city also seems to be optional – why can’t this be enforced with CCTV?

Initial vote – 15 initiatives

Initiative Ranking
Stricter liability – the assumption that injured cyclists deserve compensation unless it can be proved otherwise, or the Dutch scheme where at least 50% of responsibility for all cycle-related collisions lies with drivers 1st (82 votes)
The courts should make greater use of driving bans in sentencing and should be much firmer in resisting pleas of ‘hardship’ 2nd (79 votes)
Enforcement of 20mph limits by police 3rd (53 votes)
Implement 20 mph limits on main roads, unless a case for exemption has been made and approved 4th (41 votes)
Advanced Stop Lines to be treated the same as yellow box junctions 5th (40 votes)
All KSIs to be properly investigated and the police should adhere to the Road Death Investigation Manual 6th (35 votes)
All major new developments should include Crossrail-type clauses on HGV safety training and joining the Fleet Operator Recognition Scheme (FORS) 7th (26 votes)
Road crash victims of speeding, drunk and careless drivers should be included in the Government’s Code for Victims 8th (22 votes)
‘Stop at red’ campaign 9th (21 votes)
Cycle lanes should continue across side roads 9th (21 votes)
Continental standards on vehicle design and fitting safety equipment, especially HGVs 10th (20 votes)
Coroners should make greater use of their powers to make “Section 43” reports to highlight solutions that might prevent deaths, and particularly the recurrent causes of deaths 10th (20 votes)
Combat pavement cycling 11th (11 votes)
Legal priority for ‘straight across’ movements at junctions 11th (11 votes)
Close proximity collisions should be prosecuted using plain clothes police officers with cameras 12th (6 votes)

Follow-up Vote  (Audience ideas in red)

 

Initiative Ranking
Stricter liability – the assumption that injured cyclists deserve compensation unless it can be proved otherwise, or the Dutch scheme where at least 50% of responsibility for all cycle-related collisions lies with drivers 1st (34 votes)
The courts should make greater use of driving bans in sentencing and should be much firmer in resisting pleas of ‘hardship’ 2nd (9 votes)
Enforcement of 20mph limits by police 3rd (8 votes)
Advanced Stop Lines to be treated the same as yellow box junctions 4th (6 votes)
Decriminalise ASLs and mandatory cycle lanes 5th (5 votes)
Implement 20 mph limits on main roads, unless a case for exemption has been made and approved 6th (4 votes)
Tie cycle education to parking permits/DVLA 7th (3 votes)
‘Careless’ driving should not be default CPS choice 7th (3 votes)
French rules on close proximity 7th (3 votes)
Continental standards on vehicle design and fitting safety equipment, especially HGVs 8th (2 votes)
All drivers automatically arrested in the event of a death or serious injury 8th (2 votes)
Mayor should refuse to fund boroughs until they sign up to HGV training contracts 8th (2 votes)
No more road building in London 8th (2 votes)
Legal priority for ‘straight across’ movements at junctions 9th (1 vote)
Police to automatically look at CCTV and check mobile ‘phone records after collisions 9th (1 vote)
Focus on reducing number of potholes 9th (1 vote)
All KSIs to be properly investigated and the police should adhere to the Road Death Investigation Manual 9th (1 vote)
Larger road traffic unit 9th (1 vote)
Create a legal inspectorate similar to that which operates on the railways 9th (1 vote)
Police report form ‘accidents’ does not mention cyclists and should be changed 9th (1 vote)
Tougher rules on dirty vehicles – air pollution 9th (1 vote)
Speed limiters in London 9th (1 vote)
Bigger, clearer cycle signage 9th (1 Vote)
Trial covering repeater traffic lights (should result in better adherence to signals) 9th (1 vote)
Ban on HGVs during peak hours (Games model) 9th (1 vote)
Close proximity collisions should be prosecuted using plain clothes police officers with cameras 9th (1 vote)
Ban taxis from bus lanes 9th (1 vote)
‘Stop at red’ campaign 9th (1 vote)
Cycle lanes should continue across side roads 9th (1 vote)
Coroners should make greater use of their powers to make “Section 43” reports to highlight solutions that might prevent deaths, and particularly the recurrent causes of deaths 9th (1 vote)
Combat pavement cycling 0 votes
All major new developments should include Crossrail-type clauses on HGV safety training and joining the Fleet Operator Recognition Scheme (FORS) 0 votes
Road crash victims of speeding, drunk and careless drivers should be included in the Government’s Code for Victims 0 votes

Ideas for ‘legislative wants shopping list’

  • ·         TfL should insist that boroughs sign up to HGV safety training code of procurement before money is made available to them
  • ·         Minimum proximity between drivers and cyclists – Gilligan commented that this was ‘interesting’
  • ·          All KSIs need to be more thoroughly investigated and that the police should be obliged to adhere to the Road Death Investigation Manual – over a year has passed since Roadpeace, LCC and CTC got TfL and the Met to agree to their demands to publish an annual report on the legal outcomes of KSIs in London. Road death investigation unit overall do a good job but the same cannot be said for borough police
  • ·         What can be done to deter motorists from using mobiles whilst driving? Urgent action also needed to get drivers with 12 points off the roads. 8,000 drivers in the UK are still driving with 12 points on their licence
  • ·         TfL have control over the taxi fleet. Why not use this leverage to influence taxi drivers’ behaviour and oblige them to fit sensors? Or limit parking permits to those who have undergone appropriate training? Power over taxi drivers lies in taxation, duties to be paid or licensing arrangements. Behaviour can be changed in these ways, leaving criminal action as a last resort

Update:

Jenny Jones’ office sent out the following emali:

We’ve realised that the ‘Cyclists and the Law – Summary of Findings’ report which you recently received contains a factual error.

 Specifically, the comment ‘Stricter liability makes sense especially if we look at the cyclist as the ‘vulnerable road user’ – motorists cannot be classified as vulnerable’ was incorrectly attributed to Cycling Commissioner Andrew Gilligan. This comment was in fact made by a member of the audience and not Mr. Gilligan who has emphasised that he does not have any position on stricter liability.

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2 comments
  1. The HGV regime did not BAN HGV movements it MANAGED them. Each delivery was allocated a time slot and HGV’s had to report to holding points outside London. The vehicle had to be the one specified, with the driver specified to deliver on that trip, otherwise the delivery was (normally) refused. The vehicles were dispatched with sufficient time to arrive at the site for the specified time and make the delivery Too early (and too late) they were refused (again with some tolerance).

    The secret is in the management of this issue. One construction operator has recently won a prize for thier work in putting construction traffic on to water – on some days they can have 10,000T moving around London on the rivers and the canals – equivalent to 500 32T trucks removed, or traveling substantially shorter distances on London’s streets. The same company is moving VERY substantial tonneges by rail, where the facility to load exists.

    Unfortunately, despite having several locations where material could be moved by rail, each one removing 50-100 trucks per day from the city, the removal of the rail connection means a bill of £1-£2m to reconnect to the rail network and a lead time of 2-3 years. However it only costs £3000-£5000/year to maintain an existing connection. A similar siisue exists with water – building a new wharf costs big money and takes years – keeping an existing one ‘warm’ and ready for use much less. Here is a key role for TfL Freight Unit to deliver a network of strategically placed rail and river transfer points which will minimise both the number and size of trucks that need to move around the city streets.

    As an example of under-used facilities take a look near Cannon St (off Lower? Thames St) – a wharf equipped to load 25T containers on to 500T barges, just ticking over loading the collected city waste from the transfer station. Because it is tidal the access and loading times are limited. A clear policy on freight might see this wharf ‘improved’ with water at all states of the tide and the facility to swap barges as they are loaded/unloaded, and perhaps other wharves at Deptford/Rotherhithe made fit for moving large volumes by water. Redundant railways at Moorgate/Barbican, and King’s Cross can take the bulk of materials in and out and off the routes out from the City.

    On the Canal – size limit – around 80T per barge, on the river 2000T up to Battersea and Steinsky’s beloved Lotts Road, but potentially to Brentford Docks as it used to be. On the rails – between 500T and 1500T per train, depending on the route and space available.

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  2. Direct vision is also not mentioned but a vital element in delivering safety all Council purchased transport (trucks or contractors trucks should not require ‘drivers in the sky’ for most applications. put the driver back down at street level and immediately you dispense with the need for a forest of mirrors and other indirect vision devices. The most effective road safety measure for all road users is to look into the eyes of other road users. For HGV’s the relocation of drivers at eye-level with pedestrians and cyclists is a key detail.

    All council managed transport – especially HGV’s and buses (TfL London Bus to take this on board) can be fitted with very precise speed governors through the electronic engine management applied to most Euro 3 engines and above, and one bus operator did limit their buses working solely in 30mph areas to run at 30mph. The result fewer minor damage crashes, less driver stress and reduced fuel consumption – external to this the buses were mobile speed regulators for other traffic. Manage the speed of vehicles that TfL and the Boroughs control and you put a massive number of speed regulating vehicles out on the street.

    The litany of poor driving and crashes racked up by those drivers who have killed and maimed before their eventual day of reckoning is often an appalling read. The truck that killed Cynthia Barlow’s daughter had killed and maimed others – twice with the same driver, and was operated by a small sub contractor ‘in livery’ for the bigger company, Denis Putz (Catriona Patel) had an appalling record revealed, which lead to the judge questioning how he managed to retain his vocational licence for so long, and Joao Lopes left a trail of crashes after his first killing (Eilidh Cairns) before killing again. Very tellingly the retiring Traffic Commissioner for NE Tom McCartney highlighted this issue in his final annual report. He had seen just 2 drivers with vocational licences on referral that year, following driving convictions, and called for a formal and direct process for notifying the Traffic Area Offices of motoring offences committed by holders of vocational licences (LGV and PCV). The Traffic Commissioner does not need a court case to trigger revocation of a licence of a vocational driver – or the Operators Licence of a company which repeatedly falls below the standards of ‘good repute’ by employing drivers without the correct licences, or using vehicles which are not fit for the road, although they do need greater support from the Courts when such decisions are challenged by those losing their licences.

    It is telling that the company who employed Putz (and had a second fatal incident at the same time as Putz was being sentenced), has now made a massive effort to improve their operations, and it doesn’t take much to work out what pressed this change on them. Yet it should not have to be such a blatant pressure from such dreadful incidents to change things. The TAO should be able to take the firm line of a regulator and get results before people get killed or badly injured, through a clear line of court reporting, and backing from those courts when they take action against bad drivers and operators..

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