Footage has emerged of the Transport Secretary, Chris Grayling, dooring a cyclist. The Guardian reports that while he immediately went to check on the shaken cyclist, he left soon afterwards without leaving his name or details.
The incident occurred just before 6pm on October 12. The cyclist, Jaiqi Liu, said he reported it to the Metropolitan police, but at that point did not know who had been in the car.
The video was shot by another cyclist, Laurence de Hoest, outside the Palace of Westminster. It shows Grayling swinging open the door of his ministerial car as it sat in traffic. Liu is hit as he cycles by and is thrown off his bike. The bike appears to hit a lamppost and the rider is left sprawled on the pavement.
Grayling approaches him and puts a hand on his shoulder. Liu said that after asking if he was all right, the minister watched him get to his feet, offered a protracted handshake and then left.
Liu also said that Grayling had implied the incident was the cyclist’s fault.
“One thing he did say was that I was cycling too fast, which was not true. That made me really upset. He made out it was my fault.”
Liu said that Grayling ignored the state of the bike, which he later had to check in for repairs. He said it had sustained a damaged wheel, brakes and mudguard and had lost its lights.
He said he had contacted police because he wanted the incident to be logged in case his injuries proved more serious. “Also,” he said, “I think it’s important to report all these incidents to the police so they are recorded, and they can make the roads safer.”
De Hoest said: “I ride into London every day and I’ve had a couple of close calls, so I record everything. This is the minister of transport and here he is swinging his door out.”
He said the incident took place on a stretch of road 20 metres before a cycle lane and added that, “your cycle lane is only as good as your weakest link. We need to make sure they are properly connected”.
Earlier this month, in an interview with the London Evening Standard, Grayling claimed that cycle lanes in the capital were poorly designed on the grounds that, “there are places where they perhaps cause too much of a problem for road users.”
“Motorists in London have got to be immensely careful of cyclists,” he said. “At the same time, cyclists in London are too often unwilling to obey the road signs. I’ve seen regular examples of people who just bolt through red lights. The growth of cycling is a good thing. But good cycling is responsible cycling.”
Liu, having learned of this, told the Guardian: “And he says cycle lanes are the problem, which makes me angry. If he is still in the position to make cities safer for cyclists, he needs to do something.”
A spokesperson for Grayling said: “This was an unfortunate accident. Mr Grayling got out of the car, checked the cyclist was OK and waited until he was back on his feet. Mr Grayling spoke to the cyclist and apologised; they shook hands before he left.”