Cyclists slam low number of car smash court cases

Cyclist Rob Mackie, 29, suffered a broken collarbone after a driver wiped him out after failing to give way. Picture: Ian Rutherford
Cyclist Rob Mackie, 29, suffered a broken collarbone after a driver wiped him out after failing to give way. Picture: Ian Rutherford
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CYCLING campaigners have condemned new figures that reveal just one in ten accidents involving cars are taken to court.

The startling statistics show the procurator fiscal brought 44 cases from 400 recorded incidents in Edinburgh throughout 2012 – a year when nine cyclists were killed on Scotland’s roads.

It is not known how many resulted in successful 
prosecutions.

Cycling pressure groups insist the figures raise questions over whether the criminal justice system is doing enough to protect vulnerable road users.

And Cycle Law Scotland is heaping pressure on the Scottish Government to introduce a system of “presumed liability” where a motorist would be 
presumed to be liable for injury, damages or loss unless they could prove otherwise.

Kim Harding, of grassroots cycling group Pedal on Parliament, warned that lack of police funding may be behind the low number of 
prosecutions.

He said: “It seems a lot of stuff isn’t getting passed through to the procurator 
fiscal.

“These figures are shocking but not entirely surprising, you hear of people reporting things to the police and it’s not taken forward.

“I suspect it’s an issue of resources and the police are under-resourced and if you take it through to the PF they have to spend time in court and they would prefer people just swap insurance details.” But Superintendent Iain Murray, head of roads policing for Police Scotland, insisted the force was “committed to reducing casualties and improving safety on the roads”.

He said all incidents were “fully investigated” and added: “If the evidence suggests that someone has been to blame for the collision a report will be submitted to the procurator fiscal.”

Transport Scotland said there does not appear to be any “robust evidence” to suggest that the introduction of presumed liability would improve safety.

Its spokesman said: “The Scottish Government, Transport Scotland and all our road safety partners are continuing to work together to try to enable cyclists to use Scotland’s roads safely.

“A broad portfolio of approaches is needed and will continue to be developed to improve cyclist safety.”

Thousands of cyclists are due to descend on parliament today to implore politicians to make Scottish roads safer for cyclists. A similar event last year attracted 4000 cyclists.

Protesters will gather at the Meadows for noon before cycling to Holyrood.

Motorist failed to give way but still not charged

DAILY cyclist Rob Mackie, 29, suffered a broken collarbone after a driver wiped him out after failing to give way.

Police officers recorded the incident as “serious” but the driver was not charged.

Mr Mackie commutes to work by bike every day. At the time of his smash, he was travelling north down Dundas Street when a car came out of Northumberland Street with the intention of crossing straight over. The driver failed to give way and Rob hit the front nearside of the vehicle, going over the bonnet. The driver admitted she didn’t see him.

He was hospitalised, off work for over a week and his bike written off. There were several witnesses but the driver was not charged.

Mr Mackie said: “It was carelessness on the part of the driver, and the impact on my life is ongoing. I had a number of physiotherapy sessions at the time, but the bone has not healed correctly and I now need surgery to realign the bone. My shoulder can still hurt, and will ache after a long day, to the extent that there are some activities, such as tennis, I have been unable to do since the accident.

“It took three months before I was back on my bike and that added other frustrations such as relying on public transport.”