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"You think police would take a hit and run quite seriously" says disappointed Bristol cyclist who caught collision on camera

Police say six-month statute of limitations expired “because of the time taken to make appropriate and necessary checks”

A Bristol cyclist has accused police of “incompetence” after they failed to track down a driver he said was responsible for a hit and run – even though he’d provided them with footage of the incident.

The Bristol Post reports that Dr Richard Patterson was riding down Kings Weston Road, Henbury, on March 5 when the driver of a white van pulled out of a side road towards him.

Footage captured by his helmet cam and posted to the newspaper’s website appears to show Patterson being hit, but the driver ignored him and drove away.

Patterson wasn’t badly injured but reported the incident to Avon and Somerset police later that day.

Six months later he was told the force had been unable to trace the driver, despite the number plate being clearly visible in the footage.

“They offered no support, help or advice whatsoever, and ignored most of my emails,” he said.

“After six months they said the statute of limitations had passed so they wouldn’t be able to bring a prosecution.

“I made a complaint about this and they insisted that they had done everything they could to identify the driver – which as it turned out was to search a database and send out a couple of letters.”

A police spokesperson said: “Footage the victim provided to us showed he was not struck by the vehicle but does show the poor manner of driving and failing to stop.

“However, we were unable to track down the driver of the vehicle, despite making exhaustive searches using the Police National Computer and other intelligence databases available to us, which meant that we were unable to prosecute the suspect.

“Regrettably, because of the time taken to make appropriate and necessary checks, the time period we legally have available to us to make those enquires – six months – had elapsed.

“We urge anyone involved in a fail to stop or injury road traffic collision to call 999.”

In a summary of its investigation sent to Patterson in November, the force said it sent a notice to the vehicle’s registered keeper, but it was “returned to sender as the keeper was not known at that address”.

Attempts to contact the person with driving insurance for the van were also returned for the same reason.

Patterson described the police’s statement that he wasn’t hit as a “strange claim” and insisted that he was.

“I didn’t get any support from police,” he said. “I was only able to make an insurance claim for the injuries and my damaged jacket through reading advice on the Cycling UK chatroom.

“If it’s a speeding ticket, fine, but you think police would take a hit and run quite seriously. It’s not for me to conjecture or attribute blame, but it definitely highlights a problem.”

Alex has written for more cricket publications than the rest of the road.cc team combined. Despite the apparent evidence of this picture, he doesn't especially like cake.

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22 comments

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alansmurphy | 4 years ago
1 like

Dial 999 they say; hmmmm sure that'll work. Though there may be a case for us to do this with every incident as at least you'd get a reference number. If the many 'minor' incidents we faced each day added to the statistics or workload of the police then maybe they'd make improvements to their processes for dealing with this online...

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Rick_Rude | 4 years ago
1 like

My mate got hit but she didn't run and despite hospitalising him for weeks the police were satisfied he appeared out of nowhere with it being a road with no bends for literally 2 miles.

He can't remember the accident as such and she claims he materialised so no charges. Amazing.

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hawkinspeter replied to Rick_Rude | 4 years ago
4 likes
Rick_Rude wrote:

My mate got hit but she didn't run and despite hospitalising him for weeks the police were satisfied he appeared out of nowhere with it being a road with no bends for literally 2 miles. He can't remember the accident as such and she claims he materialised so no charges. Amazing.

I'm sure the review into traffic offences/sentencing will sort out these kinds of shenanigans.

They must be close to completing it by now.

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Southy83 | 4 years ago
1 like

I was knocked off in a hit and run and thankfully the police saw the driver and vehicle within a couple of hours and despite his denials/weak excuse that he didn't hit a cyclist, they were clearly shrewd enough to know he had done it.

The only way to get the police to actually follow through with these is to be constantly on their case until they get things done, because despite in my situation having competent officers dealing with it, the people in the "road justice department" were extremely sloppy and must have got sick of me ringing but I am glad I did because I didn't want the driver to get away with it.

In all likelihood this would go before a magistrates who, if there are sufficient witnesses/evidence will likely side with the victim, as they did in my case. Admittedly, the charges will be more about failure to stop with a bit of careless driving thrown in.

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Chris Hayes | 4 years ago
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Whereas if the driver stopped, got out of his car and crossed the road speaking on his mobile phone whilst not looking and was hit by a cyclist.....?

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Muddy Ford | 4 years ago
1 like

Freemason

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werics | 4 years ago
1 like

Wait, not trying to attribute especial competence to the department in question, but the statute of limitations on leaving the scene is six months? That might be a deeper problem here.

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iandusud | 4 years ago
1 like

Shocking. As stated elsewhere ANPR should pick this up and the CPS convict the driver and or registered keeper, but I don't suppose that will happen, and so it continues....

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hawkinspeter | 4 years ago
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Poor performance on this one by Avon & Somerset police. Even if there's no direct evidence of the collision, there's enough evidence of poor driving to send a warning letter.

What's more worrying is that they don't seem overly concerned that they can't locate the driver.

I've found them (Avon & Somerset) to be much better in general - I submitted a clip of a driver trying to muscle in on a bus lane that I was in and that got a response the following morning despite it not being particularly dangerous (slow speeds and no contact). However, I remember submitting a close pass during the summer that I never got a response to - maybe they lost some staff around then.

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brooksby | 4 years ago
3 likes

Even if the police have said, "Meh! Nothing to see here" you'd think that the dvla and the insurance company would be interested to know that the insured party/registered vehicle keeper either doesn't exist or doesn't exist at their stated address...

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FluffyKittenofT... | 4 years ago
6 likes

So much for the argument that 'cyclists should have number plates, so they are accountable as motorists are'.

Between cases of fake plates, not being able to identify who was driving a rental vehicle or a vehicle owned by a company, and now not having the right address for the driver, it seems as if number plates are of rather limited use.

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vonhelmet replied to FluffyKittenofTindalos | 4 years ago
1 like
FluffyKittenofTindalos wrote:

So much for the argument that 'cyclists should have number plates, so they are accountable as motorists are'.

Between cases of fake plates, not being able to identify who was driving a rental vehicle or a vehicle owned by a company, and now not having the right address for the driver, it seems as if number plates are of rather limited use.

Never mind number plates in silly fonts, or with extra bolts to make the letters look like something else, or in deliberately dark colours so they're hard to read, or just so inexplicably dirty as to be illegible.

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ktache | 4 years ago
0 likes

They would possibly have started to do something before seven weeks had elapsed.

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Beachboy | 4 years ago
7 likes

Pretty certain they could have found the driver if it had been one of their own involved in a hit and run.

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Richard D | 4 years ago
2 likes

What is this "statute of limitations" of which they speak, other than a foul freeing Americanism?  If they mean section 127 of the Magistrates Courts Act they should say so.

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spen | 4 years ago
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The car pulling out definatley caused the fall but it's not clear if there was contact and a jury would never convict on that (don't forget it would be made up mainly of drivers).  If the driver can't be traced it could be the van is on false plates and that's why the driver didn't stop.

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Hirsute replied to spen | 4 years ago
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spen wrote:

The car pulling out definatley caused the fall but it's not clear if there was contact and a jury would never convict on that (don't forget it would be made up mainly of drivers).  If the driver can't be traced it could be the van is on false plates and that's why the driver didn't stop.

What charge would the jury be deciding on ?

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vonhelmet replied to Hirsute | 4 years ago
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hirsute wrote:
spen wrote:

The car pulling out definatley caused the fall but it's not clear if there was contact and a jury would never convict on that (don't forget it would be made up mainly of drivers).  If the driver can't be traced it could be the van is on false plates and that's why the driver didn't stop.

What charge would the jury be deciding on ?

Failure to stop at the scene of an accident, presumably.

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Hirsute | 4 years ago
7 likes

Where in the RTA does it say you have to be struck?
170 Duty of driver to stop, report accident and give information or documents.

(1)This section applies in a case where, owing to the presence of a [F1mechanically propelled vehicle] on a road [F2or other public place], an accident occurs by which—

(a)personal injury is caused to a person other than the driver of that [F1mechanically propelled vehicle],

The driver pulled out and failed to give way and as result, the cyclist came off and sustained injuries.

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1988/52/section/170

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mdavidford replied to Hirsute | 4 years ago
1 like
hirsute wrote:

This section applies in a case where, owing to the presence of a [F1mechanically propelled vehicle] on a road

 

Pretty sure an F1 vehicle wouldn't be road-legal in the first place, so shouldn't there be some sort of charge for that?

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Hirsute | 4 years ago
3 likes

Perhaps Bristol (Avon and Somerset?) Police could let us all know how many cameras are required in case we get hit from an odd angle. Perhaps we need a drone following us to get a 360 view

A spokesman said the rider got his injuries falling off his bike for some random reason, probably the wind or braking too hard.

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ktache | 4 years ago
7 likes

The victim would have made a statement saying he was hit by the vehicle.

What the incompetent police investigator said, that the video "Footage the victim provided to us showed he was not struck by the vehicle"

It might not show the point of collision, but there looks to be evidence of an impact there, what it does not show is a lack of being struck, for example a definitive distance between rider and vehicle.

What they definitely don't have is the drivers statement, so are the police so car centric to be taking the awful drivers assumed point of view.

I would hope that the registration has been taken and would flag up any ANPR camera, for the very least failure to inform the DVLA about a change of adress, same with the insurance.

It all seems a bit dodgy to me.

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