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"Relentless enforcement of the rules of the road": Police force crackdown on dangerous driving after cyclist deaths

Aiming to "target the most dangerous drivers", West Midlands authorities have announced new measures to tackle road danger...

A meeting of stakeholders has produced a new package of tougher measures to tackle dangerous driving in the West Midlands. The action comes to the grim backdrop of three cyclists and a pedestrian having lost their lives on Birmingham roads in May.

A father of a two-year-old boy was killed in a hit-and-run while cycling on 16 May, weeks before a 12-year-old riding a bike was also killed, and a driver arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving and being unfit to drive through drugs. On 29 May, a cyclist was killed in a further hit-and-run before a four-year-old boy was killed after being hit by a driver in Erdington a day later.

The fatalities prompted the West Midlands' Walking and Cycling Commissioner Adam Tranter to make an urgent plea for action to "turn the tide on aggressive driving in Birmingham".

At a subsequent meeting requested by Mr Tranter — chaired by West Midlands mayor Andy Street and attended by the Chief Constable of West Midlands Police, the councillor responsible for transport at Birmingham City Council, Police and Crime Commissioner Simon Foster, as well as Transport for West Midlands' executive director — tougher measures for dangerous drivers were agreed upon, with the cited aim to "target the most dangerous drivers" with "relentless enforcement of the rules of the road".

Among the agreed measures, the speed limit on main A-roads in the city will be cut from 40mph to 30mph, enforced with an increase to the number of average speed cameras in the city.

Pedestrian crossings are to be reprogrammed to give people more time to cross, while the police force said it would work to make it easier for road users to report footage of dangerous driving.

A crackdown, called Operation Triton, will be launched at hotspots with extra police officers out combating dangerous driving, Birmingham Live reports.

The footage-reporting admission comes just months after an FOI request, submitted by Chris Smith, revealed that of 286 reports of careless, inconsiderate, or dangerous driving around cyclists considered by West Midlands Police in 2022, only one resulted in a prosecution.

In response, the force accepted it needed to review the way reports are managed, an update again acknowledged in the findings of last month's meeting.

Also last month, officers launched an on-ground response to the hit-and-run deaths, undertaking a day of action targeting dangerous driving, with more than 70 motorists stopped, including one allegedly watching a video on their phone behind the wheel.

The operation came after a further incident saw two pedestrians, a boy and a woman, seriously injured, sparking a roadblock protest in Kings Heath.

> "Angry and frightened": Could Birmingham safer roads protests inspire Dutch-style cycling revolution in Britain?

Outlining the "sensible" aim to reduce the number of collisions, currently around 400 per year, where people are hurt or killed by 50 per cent by 2030, Mr Tranter said the longer-term goal of reaching a point where nobody is killed or seriously injured in collisions would be "one of the most challenging things this region has ever done". 

"In recent weeks, several unacceptable acts of road violence have led to needless deaths and serious injuries on our roads," he said. The outrage felt by communities is clear and justified."

Dan is the road.cc news editor and has spent the past four years writing stories and features, as well as (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. Having previously written about nearly every other sport under the sun for the Express, and the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for the Non-League Paper, Dan joined road.cc in 2020. Come the weekend you'll find him labouring up a hill, probably with a mouth full of jelly babies, or making a bonk-induced trip to a south of England petrol station... in search of more jelly babies.

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6 comments

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ChrisB200SX | 9 months ago
5 likes

It's a shame the Police couldn't "relentlessly enforce the rules of the road" before numerous innocent people were killed in one month.

Avatar
Safety | 9 months ago
1 like

Disappointed but not surprised to hear the outgoing (not a moment to soon) chief of Polis Scotland say on the news last night that a proposal they are considering will mean only two traffic cars on the roads at night across the whole of Scotland. While not even kidding on by making the same noises as Midlands in stating they will make it easier for people to report dangerous driving.

What a green light to all the boy racers and drink drivers. Is it any surprise driving standards have sunk so low.

Avatar
chrisonabike | 10 months ago
14 likes

Quote:

The footage-reporting admission comes just months after an FOI request, submitted by Chris Smith, revealed that of 286 reports of careless, inconsiderate, or dangerous driving around cyclists considered by West Midlands Police in 2022, only one resulted in a prosecution.

...

Also last month, officers launched an on-ground response to the hit-and-run deaths, undertaking a day of action targeting dangerous driving, with more than 70 motorists stopped, including one allegedly watching a video on their phone behind the wheel.

So: 70 drivers stopped in one day when the police looked.
But only 286 reports "considered" in a year - 0.4% of which resulted in a prosecution.
Say that again - not a 0.4% conviction rate, a 0.4% prosecution rate!
Target: reduce the 400 collisions leading to KSIs to 200 by 2030.

Great ambition - make no mistake that's an extremely tall order.  I mean - given they're effectively not enforcing the law currently (see above).  Especially if they're just trying to do that with a few more police, 40 -> 30 mph speed limits plus more average speed cameras.

Hope they're also full speed ahead on their City Segments plan and serious active travel infra works if they're honestly hoping to improve those numbers!

Avatar
wtjs | 10 months ago
12 likes

Today people in Birmingham came together to say "Enough is Enough"

Unfortunately, as far as the police are concerned, enough evidence is never enough for them to take action on offences against cyclists. This one, for instance, was last night so hasn't yet appeared on UpRide- this Corsa SH63 YMK was illegally across the unbroken white line in a dangerous position approaching a blind bridge crest. The MOT had also expired 3 weeks before. The following vehicle was even closer to the crest when overtaking and had to swerve very close to me to avoid collision at a closing speed of 60-70mph with an oncoming Volvo. The immediately preceding oncoming vehicle, Mitsubishi Outlander WR60 YCU, was MOT-expired 5 months ago and displayed long lists of failed items on previous MOT tests. Despite all this, the response and action by LancsFilth will be zero. The Outlander will remain without MOT and may or may not get one when VED is due on 1.9.23, and the Corsa will likely remain without MOT at least until VED is due on 1.7.24. They may decide to follow the example of many other Lancashire drivers, and go completely 'bare' without MOT, insurance or VED for years (my record is 6 years so far) The police are happy to come up with platitudes when engaged on a PR stunt as described above, but when it comes to action it's back to Idleness (or Corruption) as Usual

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Left_is_for_Losers | 10 months ago
9 likes

Injuries and deaths by senseless driving is bad enough, but hit & run incidents are absolutely shocking. The very least you could do after potentially killing or injuring someone is check up on them. 

I sincerely hope that due justice and punishment is meted out to those responsible. 

Avatar
mctrials23 | 10 months ago
7 likes

Well thats depressing. Halving the number of collisions by 2030 would be the hardest thing they have ever done. 

Then again, they are probably right because there is an overwhelming number of people on the roads who hate cyclists and genuinely seem to enjoy reading about stories where they have been hurt. 

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