At some time or other, any cyclist will have experienced some abuse from passing motorists. This may take form of being shouted at, things thrown at or even worse, pushed off the bike.
There’s not much to do about it, and unfortunately in the ‘happy slapping culture’, people feel it is something that is funny, something they can do with impunity and something they can usually get away with.
I rarely read a letter in Cycling Weekly which actually has anything worthwhile to say. -’I think people should wear a helmet’ I thing people shouldn’t wear a helmet’. All pretty tedious. But, this one week, one letter did catch my attention.
Someone wrote in saying they were cycling along, when a car passed carefully. He was grateful a car had the decency to pass carefully and slowly for a change, rather than speeding past without a second thought. But, just as he was feeling grateful for the careful driving, he felt an almighty wack on his backside, followed by hoots of laughter from those inside the car. The car sped off.
Now usually, that would be the end of the story. But, this cyclist happened to be a police officer. He managed to get the registration number, and when he got back to police station he followed up on the case. Those driving the car were eventually fined around £100 costs in court.
The funny thing is that the cyclist was actually wearing something identifying his relationship with the police. So much for ‘dumb criminals’
Unfortunately, when something like that happens, it is tempting to do nothing because, even if you did get the registration number, the police will invariably say they don’t have enough resources to follow it up. But, if the incident is potentially dangerous – you should get the registration plate, and ideally report it. The police may well probably just file it. But, it could be useful if there was a more serious incident they later investigated.
Anyway, it’s good to know that occasionally stupid people can be fined. If there were just a few more cases like this, it would act as a great deterrent and would help to avoid many unpleasant experiences on the road.
Ironically, the other day, I was catching up with an old cyclist friend who left working in a bike shop to go and become a police officer. He’s a great bloke and will make a great police officer, but it was rather revealing listen to how difficult it is to actually prosectue criminals. He says so many small things police turn a blind eye becuase it’s just too time consuming and expensive to follow up. It left him rather discouraged by the state of the criminal system, but without radical change that’s the way it will stay.