21 June 2019 – Feedback from meeting with Lord Willy Bach, Police and Crime Commissioner
Two committee members, Eric and Dave, met with Lord Bach and his ‘Relationships and Change Manager’ Victoria Charlton. Eric writes:
“After introducing ourselves and the group’s aims, we stressed our wish to work with the police, especially following our recent meeting with the Chief Constable, Simon Cole. Mentioned the Riverside event and he agreed that the Close Pass mat should be used as often as possible where the police were involved in road safety events.
“We showed him the press cutting from Get Behind the Bike Box, which was news to him but which he supported. He agreed to look at promoting it via Community Safety Partnerships that exist in each district council.
“We went on to express disappointment at the lack of response by the police to email queries, and the need to at least acknowledge receipt. Also that the online reporting system is excellent, but that there is literally no protocol for reporting back to users after a report is submitted. Lord Bach took note of the fact that this creates more work for staff and tarnishes the user experience and promised action.
“Victoria, Relationships and Change Manager, was equally supportive and could be a useful ally. “
20 May 2019 – Press Officer Eric Ludlow reports on meeting with senior police officers.
“On Friday 17 May I was at Leicestershire Police HQ, representing LCCG, at a meeting with Chief Constable Simon Cole, Inspector Jason Ross from roads policing, and David Crane, a team manager from the prosecution team.
“Overall I think this was a genuine effort to improve understanding and cooperation between cyclists and police. One immediate result from that is a commitment from roads policing to attend Cycle City Workshops, perhaps on a quarterly basis – both to keep us up to date with what they’re doing and (their words) so that they can be held to account.
“Online reporting has resulted in a near doubling of reported offences (overall, not just roads) and the prosecution team are playing catch up. I showed them a particularly horrendous close pass which wasn’t actioned, and they agreed it should have been. The team dealing with the close pass reports aren’t cyclists and close passing is a new area for them. Training was promised.
“Get Behind the Bike Box – the three bus drivers already charged for this offence were charged under the wrong legislation. They should have recived a £100 fine and three points, not a fixed penalty notice. His will be recified for future offenders.
“They will look again at how they keep in touch, or not, with people who report offences and the outcomes.
“One highlight of the meeting was a suggestion from Simon that volunteers could be trained up to use police camera kit, as used in safe pass operations. Much as volunteers use speedwatch cameras at the roadside. Made Jason cough a bit, but the idea is now out there.
“I hope this does mark the start of a new beginning in our relationship with the police locally. I emphasised our willingnness to work with them, rather than to throw rocks at them, and that there was a wealth of expertise amongst cyclists locally that could be called upon if we worked together. Watch this space…”
= = = = = = = = = =
3 May 2019 – Letter to the Editor
After seeing some of the negative comments on the Leicester Mercury website in response to the article about our Get Behind the Bike Box campaign, our press officer Eric Ludlow felt compelled to respond. Here’s his letter to the Editor (or you can click here to read the full text in a Word document).
= = = = = = = = = =
Have you ever filtered to the front of a queue at traffic lights, only to find the bike box occupied by a vehicle? Members of the LCCG committee certainly have, and decided it was time to do something about it.
We’re mounting a “Get behind the bike box” campaign, aimed at the minority of drivers who disregard the Highway Code – and the law – by blocking the bike box.
Essentially we’re publicising the danger to cyclists posed by bike box blocking, and that anyone doing so risks a £100 fine and three points on their licence. As far as we’re aware, no-one has ever been prosecuted in Leicestershire for this offence, despite bike boxes having been in existence for at least the last 30 years.
To back this up, we’re asking members to use their smartphones to record such behaviour, and submit it to the police. In other words, if you’re out and about on foot, and come across a bike box, we’d like you to spend five minutes or so recording what happens and to see if an offence has been committed. If you want to get involved, we have produced guidance to help.
We hope you will support this campaign to make Leicestershire’s roads a safer place for anyone travelling by bike.