15 September 2012…..A dramatic claim, no? But it is true. Please read this letter to the Argus detailing an example of a small child being mown down and injured on the promenade at Hove Lagoon by a hit and run cyclist who is untraceable:
What were the options in that hit and run situation? How do you stop a speeding cyclist without felling him or her and risking their injury? You can’t do it. And even had there been a police officer present, the cyclist would have been free to scarper because of this problem.
So what can be done to enforce accountability and in this case criminal responsibility?
Bicycles should be licensed and carry a licence plate on the back wheel frame. It has been done in the past but there is zero political will in this country to protect pedestrians from dangerous cyclists. There is no interest in introducing any kind of legislation or bye-law requiring every bicycle on the road to be visibly licensed, with the owner of the bicycle responsible for whatever actions are performed by whoever is riding it (identifying who rode it when they hit someone).
Some time ago, whilst walking up George Street in Hove, this writer was suddenly yanked sideways by an unseen man. A cyclist, riding at speed the wrong way up this one-way street during its hours of pedestrianisation, had been about to ride straight into my back. Without so much as a glance back, that youth just whizzed past my elbow as I was jerked out of his way. People in the street were shaken at what I had narrowly avoided suffering.
Had that brat’s bicycle been licensed, the CCTV would have had something to go on in identifying him had he actually sent me flying, even injuring me seriously, by riding straight into my back.
As I write, by sheer coincidence, a reporter on Radio 4’s From Our Own Correspondent is describing being knocked down in Bulgaria by a cyclist and suffering broken vertebrae in his spine, and having the cyclist visit him in hospital full of mea culpa and how they became friends. But a year on he can no longer play football and still has physiotherapy……
Why is there no political will to tackle dangerous cyclists and to do the one thing that could conceivably rein them in so they would not be guaranteed to get away with abusing and mowing down pedestrians? Make them have a licence on their bikes. Make them subject to speed limits. Make them take out insurance….just like motorists have to.