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Lorry driver who pleaded not guilty after being caught by West Midlands Police close pass initiative is convicted

Force has prosecuted more than 300 offenders using helmet cam footage provided by members of the public

West Midlands Police reports that its operation to protect riders from “close-pass” motorists has secured its first court conviction. A 60-year-old Birmingham lorry driver was convicted of driving without due care and attention after being caught on camera squeezing past a cyclist on a Black Country road last November.

Launched last September, West Midlands Police’s #GiveSpaceBeSafe scheme involves plain clothes officers cycling the region’s busiest roads on the lookout for motorists who pass too closely. The initiative was launched following analysis of road traffic collisions which resulted in the force concluding that prosecution was the only way to encourage drivers to be more aware of vulnerable road users.

West Midlands Police’s plain clothes cyclists spurn hi-vis

Almost 200 offenders have been pulled over and while most have been allowed on their way after being given on-the-spot education on safe overtaking using a specially designed floor mat, 13 drivers went on to be prosecuted and two had licences revoked at the roadside for failing eyesight tests.

The force has also prosecuted more than 300 offenders using helmet and dash cam footage provided by members of the public.

The 56-year-old cyclist who was affected by the HGV close-pass on Tipton’s Park Lane West said he started using cameras after being knock-off his bike by a hit and run driver in 2015.

“I was seriously hurt and it took six weeks to recover – and what made matters worse for me was that we couldn’t trace the driver.”

On this occasion, he had footage and the unnamed driver, who denied the offence, was ordered to pay fines and costs totalling £1,038 and given five points on his licence after being found guilty at Birmingham Magistrates Court on June 30.

PC Mark Hodson from the Central Motorway Police Group said: “This was a clear case of a close-pass: the cyclist was nearly forced into the kerb and the actions of the truck driver could easily have caused a very serious collision. He maintained his innocence, though, and has now been convicted in court.

“Our advice to drivers overtaking cyclists and other vulnerable road users like horse riders is to be patient, plan your overtake, and give plenty of room – the Highway Code says drivers should give the same room as when overtaking another vehicle which is about 1.5-metres or an open car door’s width.

“A few seconds delay to ensure a safe overtake is nothing compared to the consequences of a poorly planned and executed overtake can be.”

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12 comments

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Dr_Lex | 6 years ago
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Why is the driver not named? Do I need to get a copy of the Birmingham Mail for last week and turn to the "in the courts" page(s)?

 

edit: He's Dean Littleford - see http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-40571699

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1961BikiE | 6 years ago
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Very worrying that 2 drivers had their license revoked on the spot for failing the eye test. Though not surprising. Sadly though I'm probably more worried about those who just choose to ignore the information that their eyes impart to them!

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BehindTheBikesheds replied to 1961BikiE | 6 years ago
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1961BikiE wrote:

Very worrying that 2 drivers had their license revoked on the spot for failing the eye test. Though not surprising. Sadly though I'm probably more worried about those who just choose to ignore the information that their eyes impart to them!

Providing evidence of sufficient eyesight at the bare minimum as a health check to get your insurance should be compulsary. Not doable, well there's plenty suggesting plates and licensing for people riding bikes so a simple 30 second eye test should be childs play.

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RobD | 6 years ago
0 likes

I wish Essex police would take a leaf out of WMP's book, good work by them, it's nothing revolutionary, just good sensible policing.

What's worrying is that some of these drivers don't see that theyve done anything wrong, I think a lot of it stems from people not seeing passing a cyclist as needing to overtake it's just passing by as you continue, if they treated cyclists even 50% as well as they do horse riders we'd be pretty much sorted.

The eye sight tests are a little bit worrying, I do wonder how many people out there (probably not just elderly people) who's eyesight has gradually deteriorated to the point that they're not safe to drive.

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Awavey replied to RobD | 6 years ago
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RobD wrote:

I wish Essex police would take a leaf out of WMP's book, good work by them, it's nothing revolutionary, just good sensible policing.

Well coincidentally Essex police reference the driver of the white van who 'close passed' this motorcyclist was sent on a 'driver improvement scheme' http://www.essexlive.news/braintree-motorcyclist-banned-from-driving-after-head-on-crash-with-van/story-30433942-detail/story.html

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don simon fbpe | 6 years ago
1 like

What was the truck manufacturer?

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TriTaxMan | 6 years ago
4 likes

A great result in securing a conviction.  Which means that you can use purely helmet cam footage to secure a conviction.

But the cynic in me is wondering why 5 points not 6?  By any chance would 6 points have lead to a ban under totting up?  Just saying..............

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ClubSmed replied to TriTaxMan | 6 years ago
2 likes
craigstitt wrote:

A great result in securing a conviction.  Which means that you can use purely helmet cam footage to secure a conviction.

But the cynic in me is wondering why 5 points not 6?  By any chance would 6 points have lead to a ban under totting up?  Just saying..............

I don't know the answer so this is just a massive assumption:
I got pulled over for doing 60mph on a 50mph stretch of duel carriageway, for this I got a ticket to go and pay a fixed fine and take 3 points. Because this was at the start of the Christmas holidays as I was off for 2 weeks to visit my parents and because I thought I had 1 month to pay rather than 30 days I missed the window. This meant that I got a court date (though I did not need to attend, just log my guilty plea with the court) which resulted in a slightly larger fine and 5 points a couple of months later.
So from this experience I am assuming that in the case of the close pass that the offence should probably only carry 3 points but the extra 2 are added on because a court date is required due to the not guilty plea.

As I say though, I do not know this as fact. I am only taking a barely relevent piece of information and applying what I think is the logic behind it.

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cbrndc replied to TriTaxMan | 6 years ago
0 likes
craigstitt wrote:

But the cynic in me is wondering why 5 points not 6?  By any chance would 6 points have lead to a ban under totting up?  Just saying..............

5 points is usual for similar offences , I was hit by a car and the driver got 5 points had nothing to do with any points he may have had already.

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don simon fbpe | 6 years ago
3 likes

Yay! We're moving forwards, but could we ask the lorrry driver, with a conviction that rejects his not guilty plea, whether he accepts the verdict or whether he is likely to continue close passing, please?

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Sub4 replied to don simon fbpe | 6 years ago
3 likes
don simon wrote:

Yay! We're moving forwards, but could we ask the lorrry driver, with a conviction that rejects his not guilty plea, whether he accepts the verdict or whether he is likely to continue close passing, please?

Yeah. He's not going to be holding much of a grudge, is he? None of these close passing scum accepts they are really in the wrong, although they might fess up out of expediency.

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Grahamd | 6 years ago
14 likes

Well done WMP, leading the way.

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