Avon & Somerset Police promise a Section 59 warning and deliver… nothing

On the 22nd of July the driver of a car with registration LT51KME decided to overtake me with inches to spare. I recorded the incident on my helmet camera.

Warning: Video has loud swearing

This was beyond a mistake. The driver knew what she was doing and deliberately drove her car at speed towards me. If I had not evaded her car then the wing mirror would have clipped me. This is serious, and this driver should not be operating a vehicle under the impression that ‘might is right’.

Fortunately the Avon & Somerset police officer I spoke to three days later agreed. She decided to serve the driver with a warning, specifically Section 59 of the Police Reform Act. In essence this means if the driver causes “alarm, distress or annoyance” again in the next year then her car will be seized.

I was very pleased with the outcome of the meeting from the police. For once it seemed I had come across a sympathetic ear and had for the first time elicited a decent, but proportional, punishment towards a dangerous driver.

One month later, on the 22nd of August, I finally heard back from the officer I spoke to (after I chased it up). Below is the email I received.

Apologies that it has taken some time to resolve this matter.

This has been in part due to my working part-time hours and catching the other party at the right time to speak with them.

I can confirm that the female driver has now been spoken to and made aware of your complaint.

I did discuss with her the Highway Code and rules regarding how a cyclist should be treated when passing on the road.

At first she did not see any wrong doing on her part, but was quite receptive to what I had to say.

For this reason I felt that words of advice were suitable on this occasion and that no further action will be taken.

Her vehicle index and details are recorded with us should there be any further need for Police involvement due to manner of driving.

She did raise one concern of her own, in that she was aware you were recording the incident and she heard you mention YouTube during your exchange.

She would like reassurance that the footage would not be made publically available.  Her main worry being that she had her children in the car, and her number plate visible, and would not like this information on an open forum.

Has the footage been used online at all?

If so, out of courtesy for the children, and consideration of Data Protection and Human Rights, could I ask that the footage be removed from any public forum?

Kind regards

<name of officer removed>

In summary, not only has the officer gone back on their agreement to serve a section 59, but I am to remove the video of the incident from YouTube.

Since the police have failed to police the roads I refuse to remove the only practical consequence of driver’s behaviour. The message is clear: if you drive your car dangerously then expect to get away with it. And if you get caught? Don’t worry about that either, the police will help you to cover your tracks.

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2 comments

  1. I was talking to my wife about the spaces4cash debacle, and then showed her this post. She said that posts like this made her massively unsympathetic to cyclists (she disapproves of helmet cameras, saying that motorists don’t get to carry cameras to show “stupid or dangerous cyclist behaviour” and that it wasn’t fair). She said she couldn’t understand what the problem was – she said that if she had had a visit from the police over a matter like this, then she would be absolutely devastated and terrified and would be way more careful in future, regardless of whether or not she got points on her licence or a formal warning. I didn’t know what to say. I cycle to and from work every day, and I only drive a car about once every two or three weeks (I get driven in a car maybe once a week). She doesn’t cycle at all, so has only seen it all from inside the car. Any suggestions? 🙂

    1. I think your wife’s response to a police visit is the the one I’m after. At the end of the day I don’t want this to happen again, and if a visit from a police officer achieves then that’s alright.

      It’s a bit worrying that she doesn’t see anything wrong, particularly you cycle. I would have thought she’d have a bit more empathy! In the video I show the parts of the Highway Code the driver broke, so I would have thought your wife would understand that. Even if I was in the wrong and should have been cycling in the ‘door zone’, does that make it okay to driver at someone to scare them? Is this how we should treat other people, who are just trying to get around like you? What’s lost by being ‘stuck’ behind someone cycling? A few seconds off your journey? There are bigger worries in life!

      I’m not really sure if that’s what you were looking for, but I hope that helps. Apologies for the late reply, I’ve been quite busy recently!

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