A cyclist still recovering after being struck from behind by a car is campaigning for “road justice” for the victims of cycling accidents.
John Radford, 69, of Meltham, is a local spearhead of a national campaign for better police investigation into bike smashes.
John, chairman of Huddersfield and District Cyclists’ Touring Club (CTC), said: “Too often cyclists are treated not as the victim but as the cause of the problem.”
This week John joined CTC’s Road Justice campaign which urges police, prosecutors and the courts to protect cyclists and take bad driving more seriously.
CTC, the UK’s largest cycling charity, has produced a booklet demanding changes in how the authorities investigate cycling accidents.
On a day of action campaigners across England and Wales met police and crime commissioners.
John met West Yorkshire’s police commissioner Mark Burns-Williamson, a cyclist himself, to push the case.
John has had personal experience of a police investigation after an accident that put him in Huddersfield Royal Infirmary for three days.
Back in May John was riding in Clough Road, Rastrick, when he was struck from behind by a car and knocked off his bike.
John never saw what hit him and remembers nothing until waking up in hospital.
John had suffered a couple of fractured ribs and a chipped vertebrae and is still not fully recovered.
But it wasn’t so much the pain that left John angry than how the police played down what had happened.
“The police told me the lady driver who hit me was in her mid-70s and was looking out of the window and lost her concentration,” he said.
“I was told it wasn’t in the public interest to pursue a case against her because all drivers experience a momentary lapse in concentration at some time.
“I am a driver too and agree we all lose concentration but not all of us hit cyclists who are wearing bright clothing.
“Maybe this lady has bad eyesight and shouldn’t be driving, I don’t know.”
John wrote to the Chief Constable demanding an explanation and received conflicting information from the different officers he spoke to.
One told him that the decision to charge a driver was for the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). The police merely collected the evidence and presented a file.
He has since been informed that no file was submitted to the CPS.
John is not taking his own complaint any further and is in contact with the driver’s insurance company.
John did not raise his own case with Mr Burns-Williamson and wants an improvement in roads policing generally.
“I asked Mr Burns-Williamson to pledge to do whatever is within his power to help and I was encouraged by his response,” he said.
Chief Insp Mark Bownass, the head of West Yorkshire Roads Policing, said the force wanted to work with cycling groups to improve safety. Accidents in West Yorkshire were at their lowest since 1926
He added: “All road collisions, including those involving cyclists, are investigated thoroughly and judged according to the particular circumstances of each case, using a legal framework to make sure the same standards are applied to each case.”
Mr Burns-Williamson said: “In my regular meetings with the Chief Constable I have raised the need to make sure we are tough on a minority of drivers who do put the safety and lives of others at risk.
“There must be tough sanctions for those who don’t drive by the rules.”