Delays to the introduction of an online road safety reporting portal are putting cyclists in Scotland "at risk", says Cycling UK - after Police Scotland took over a year to report an alleged hit-and-incident which left a rider "unable to sit down for a week", leading to the case being dismissed.
Police Scotland and the Scottish Government announced funding for a national safety portal last year, but it hasn’t been implemented yet.
Scottish cyclists currently have to use the Police Scotland Online Reporting Form, which is time-consuming and inconsistent, with how an incident is handled often depending on the attitudes of different police forces and officers.
As we reported earlier this week, Alan Myles contacted Police Scotland 30 times after he was the victim of a hit-and-run in November 2021. Police Scotland took a year to report the incident (with one officer taking over six months to open an email containing footage of the alleged collision) to the Procurator Fiscal, Scotland's public prosecutor, who dismissed the case because it was time-barred.
“Ever since I was knocked off my bike, every time I head out for a ride to work or with friends and family, I have that nagging thought that maybe I’ll be hit again – maybe that same person who drove into me will be out on the road again,” Mr Myles said.
“Not only have the police failed to deliver justice in my case, they are failing to ensure our roads are kept safe from those who pose the greatest danger to others.”
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Police Scotland and the Scottish Government have promised to introduce a third-party National Dashcam Safety Portal, but the project has seen delays and in October 2022, Police Scotland said that the portal was ‘under review’ due to budget constraints.
Cycling UK have been campaigning to introduce the portal since 2021. The campaign has received support from 33 road user organisations including the AA and the RAC.
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Keir Gallagher, Cycling UK campaigns manager said the portal would save time and money, is widely supported by the public, is used successfully elsewhere in the UK and will help deliver road safety and justice consistently across Scotland.
“It’s not just Mr Myles who has been let down by Police Scotland’s failure to investigate and report this collision to the Procurator Fiscal within the necessary 12-month timeframe but responsible drivers, cyclists and pedestrians across Scotland," he said.
“Had the force and the Government made good on their commitment to introduce a National Dashcam Safety Portal, as is in operation across most of the UK, arguably the investigation could have been concluded in a timely and cost-effective manner that would have delivered justice and safer roads.
“There is a clear lack of consistency in investigating road crimes at branch level which the portal would help to address.”
He continued: “Responsible drivers, cyclists and pedestrians in Scotland shouldn’t be put at risk because of delays to the National Dashcam Safety Portal.
“Police Scotland and the Government must urgently get together and find a solution to get this vital road safety tool up and running as a matter of the highest priority.”
Mr Myles said the portal needs to be introduced urgently, "so that no one else has to go through what I have".
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This has been echoed in recent weeks by Scottish camera cyclist Deacon Thurston, who told road.cc in an interview that the current method is time-consuming and complicated, resulting in not enough victims reporting offences, and that Police Scotland aren't capable of acting on video reports as effectively as elsewhere in the UK.
He said that allowing third-party reporting for traffic offences would "massively improve" the system.
Responding to road.cc’s request for a comment concerning the delays to the investigation of Mr Myles’ hit-and-run allegations, a Police Scotland spokesperson said: “Around 9.25am on Tuesday, 30 November, 2021, we received a report of a hit and run on Glen Road, between Lennoxtown and Milton of Campsie.
“Enquiries were carried out and a 55-year-old man was charged in connection with the incident.
“A report was submitted to the Procurator Fiscal on December 11, 2022.
“Any member of the public who has any complaints about Police Scotland can contact us by visiting our website - www.scotland.police.uk, or calling 101.”
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