To start this episode, the 50th road.cc Podcast, George and Jack sit down for a fascinating discussion with PC Mark Hodson, one of the pioneers behind police close pass operations and a big advocate for third-party reporting from cyclists, drivers and pedestrians alike.
When it comes to reducing harm on the roads and making cycling, walking and motoring safer, nothing is off the table in this discussion. Why are some police forces - even allegedly West Midlands Police who PC Hodson pioneered close pass operations with before moving to motorway policing - lagging behind when it comes to getting bad drivers prosecuted? Is a radical rethink the answer? PC Hodson has some big ideas, so this episode is worth a listen for anyone who is interested in road safety.
With many cyclists who contact road.cc with Near Miss of the Day submissions saying their force didn't take action or failed to give feedback, resource is a huge issue in all parts of policing - which is where PC Hodson's radical idea for change comes in.
The answer of how to deal with third-party reporting, says PC Hodson, is to make the process self-managing and provide incentive by recognising it as a great behaviour-changing tool.
"It would only cost £50 million... which isn't a horrific amount of money when RTCs alone cost £40 billion a year," says PC Hodson.
"That creates a system that would be able to deal with any type of demand. You'd have the capacity then to deal with all kinds of offences with effective feedback.
"If you ringfence the fines from third-party reporting and played it back into third-party reporting, it becomes self-managing.
"Do you keep it in public hands or... take it out of the public sector? Do we really want our police officers sitting in an office making these decisions? Can we not do something along the lines of the National Lottery?
"We'll still keep the police perspective on it in that police officers can be seconded... and then you have an extra incentive of 5% going towards road safety charities or people bereaved through road death.
"We just haven't got the political will. It needs someone to step up to the plate and change how this is done. People are starting to lose trust and confidence in the system now, and you don't want that."
What about PC Hodson's advice for reporting camera footage of a close pass, or even a collision?
"Record, retreat, report. Don't get involved with a driver... get the evidence and come away.
"Always include a minute before and a minute afterwards, so the officer reviewing can see there's nothing that initiated the incident.
"Be honest. In your statement, say how it made you feel, that you felt like you were lucky to make it home. Things like close passes... you've got to show that the driver was inconsiderate.
"Put in your experience of riding or driving. If you've got a driving licence you're an expert witness because you've passed a test to a standard. Put in how it crossed the boundaries of the Highway Code.
"Don't be upset if your submission doesn't quite make the grade. With close passes especially, in court you want that sharp intake from the bench of magistrates."
In part 2, Suvi is joined by the organisers of (hopefully) Finland's next big gravel race to talk about how Europe and the UK can capture some of the magic that has led to such a big gravel riding boom in the US. Once you go gravel you never go back, apparently!
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The road.cc Podcast is 50! To celebrate we're giving away some schwag, so be sure to listen to find out how to enter our special competition and potentially bag some great cycling goodies.
At the time of broadcast, our listeners can also get a free Hammerhead Heart Rate Monitor with the purchase of a Hammerhead Karoo 2. Visit hammerhead.io right now and use promo code ROADCC at checkout to get yours.