Cross posted from my Manchester Evening News cycling blog, with a version emailed to Honest John and copied to the CTC’s campaigns officer-
A question and answer in the Telegraph’s Honest John motoring column–
I had an accident on January 31. I have now been told by the police that I am going to be prosecuted for driving without due care and attention. The statement from the police says the accident occurred on a different road to the one on which it actually took place. As the accident also involved a pushbike, should the adult cyclist have been breathalysed, as I was? Incidentally, mine was negative. I have been told that if I plead guilty it will only cost me £43 and three points. If I plead not guilty then I will have to travel 100 miles and may have to pay witnesses that may be called. I wouldn’t mind doing this if I thought I could get away with being found not guilty. Could it go in my favour if I stated the truth, that the cyclist wore no helmet or fluorescent coat or markings?
You need to talk to a good solicitor and appraise him of the full facts. If you are saying the cyclist wove into your path and caused the collision, then that, combined with him not wearing fluorescent clothing, might lead to a decision in your favour rather than his.
This is full of wrong assumptions. The rider’s lack of helmet and fluorescent wear is irrelevant. The driver should have been paying enough attention to the road to see him. Perhaps the cyclist should have been breathalysed, but again, I think it’s irrelevant. If there had been any indication he was intoxicated the Police would certainly have made him take a test.
But what’s worse is the advice given by Honest John. He suggests claiming the it was the cyclist’s fault and blaming him for not wearing something he isn’t obliged to wear. This is a blame the victim mentality. Drivers shouldn’t be so blind to other road users that the only safe thing to do is wrap yourself in metal or glow like you’re radioactive. And motoring advice columns in serious newspapers should not hand out loophole suggestions to someone who wants to “get away” with an offence that could have killed or seriously injured someone.
I shall be emailing Honest John about this (firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re interested) and sending a copy to the CTC, who may be interested in what he has to say.