Three LCCG members [Elizabeth Barner, Matt Scull and Eric Ludlow] met Sir Clive Loader on 8 April. The meeting with Leicestershire’s Police and Crime Commissioner [PCC] took place at Police HQ in Narborough – where we were amused to find that three car parking spaces had been reserved for us, as we shackled our bikes to the front railings.
The meeting itself went well – we went through the presentation that we had prepared and pointed out that we did not have unrealistic expectations regarding the potential for his officers to have an impact on cycling levels. But we did believe that enforcing road traffic legislation would go some way towards making the roads a more pleasant place for cyclists. He was sympathetic, and could see the ‘quid pro quo’ argument that if the police were visibly targeting cyclists for pavement cycling, they should also be looking to police the few areas that are set aside for us – advanced stop zones and on-carriageway cycle lanes.
Included in our presentation was a page of Tweets collected by @CycleHatred – a Twitter user who retweets hate-filled comments made about cyclists on Twitter. These clearly had an impact on Sir Clive, who was taken aback by the level of abuse they contained. They showed very clearly our need for protection on the roads, and for individual officers to understand our vulnerability as road users. Sir Clive agreed to look at what, if any, awareness training new officers receive on the issue – we offered to talk to groups of officers about road use from a cyclist’s perspective if that would help.
We agreed to stay in contact, and to meet again if necessary.