A cyclist has criticised Police Scotland’s “appalling” inaction that enabled a motorist to escape punishment for an alleged hit-and-run, which the rider claims left him with a broken bike and “unable to sit down for a week”.
Cyclist Alan Myles says that, despite contacting East Dunbartonshire Police around 30 times in relation to the incident, he only received two responses – with one officer even taking over six months to reply to an email containing the crash footage.
Myles also claims that those investigating the apparent collision failed to contact two witnesses, and that an officer told him that, due to the lengthy delay in tracking down the motorist, the offence had been downgraded from dangerous to careless driving because “the driver couldn’t remember the incident”.
The cyclist added that he only discovered that the case had been thrown out after contacting the Procurator Fiscal, who dismissed the police’s report as time-barred – over a year after the alleged hit-and-run took place.
As I have feared for the past 15 months, I have finally had confirmation that no action is being taken against this driver by @policescotland in this hit and run. I have been deeply distressed by this incident and will be taking matters further. 1/13 pic.twitter.com/8Oql37OhOI
— Alan Myles 🇵🇸 (@AlanMyles8) February 26, 2023
The incident, footage of which has been shared on Twitter by the cyclist, occurred on 30 November 2021 on Strathblane Road, just outside Lennoxtown, East Dunbartonshire, as the cyclist and motorist made their way through a set of temporary traffic lights.
Describing the alleged collision, Alan said: “Storm Arwen was blowing and the roads were covered in debris. The driver was obviously annoyed at stopping for the road works, and tailgated me through them. I waved him back twice and then he deliberately rammed me, crashing through the roadworks too.
“He sped off, pursued by a witness who tried to get him to stop but gave up after ‘he went through the next village at over 70mph’, when she then called the police. The driver waiting at the other lights also called the incident in.”
He continued: “The police arrived and interviewed just me, and from the last time I spoke to either of them, it seems neither witness has ever been contacted.”
The police’s inability to contact the two witnesses proved only the start of the cyclist’s frustrations with the manner in which the investigation was being carried out.
“The lead officer asked that I email him the footage, which I did within 20 minutes,” he says. “Seven months later and over 20 calls later, he opened the email.
“Initially he told me this would be treated as dangerous driving, but after five months he was able to track the driver down and said that unfortunately as the driver couldn’t remember the incident, he would have to downgrade it to careless.
“This was the last I heard from the officer, eventually getting in touch with his sergeant, who promised action – but nothing happened until over a year later when a report was submitted to the Procurator Fiscal [Scotland’s public prosecution service], who immediately dismissed it as it was time-barred.”
In the 15 months since the incident, Myles claims that the motorist has close passed him on five other occasions, forcing him to begin using a different route and causing “significant distress and inconvenience”.
The alleged hit-and-run isn’t the first time that the cyclist has been a target for angry motorists on the roads.
In July 2021, he was punched on the shoulder and helmet after confronting a driver who had close passed him in Yorkshire – with the irate motorist told by South Yorkshire Police to “engage with anger management,” according to a Community Resolution form sent to Myles months later.
And then early last year, he gained some viral internet notoriety for a clip which shows a driver – incensed that Myles had pointed out that he was using his phone behind the wheel – chasing after the cyclist before aiming a kick at him, at which point he landed on the road with a comedic thud.
Speaking to road.cc, Alan also noted that in both of these instances, the motorists either escaped any consequences for their actions (in the case of the ‘can-can kicker’) or received negligible punishments.
“This was not my first disappointment either, so it doesn’t feel like a one off,” he tells road.cc.
Nevertheless, this latest incident – and the much-delayed and ineffective police response which followed it – has left Myles “deeply distressed”.
“Whilst I know that there will always be bad drivers, the lack of action from the police has had a greater and longer lasting effect,” he says.
“I am quite a tenacious person (evidenced by my 30 follow-ups) and still found the barriers thrown up to me as the victim as a very high bar to clear for justice.
“As I mentioned in the Twitter thread, an officer who I was giving a statement to about another incident of dangerous driving by a bus driver said ‘cyclists boil my piss too sometimes, but this driving is unacceptable’, which doesn’t seem like a level playing field to start a conversation on.”
Myles joined the growing calls for Police Scotland to adopt an online portal for reporting instances of dangerous driving, along with “dedicated officers and resources that do not allow things like this to happen”.
The cyclist also alluded to Police Scotland chief inspector Lorraine Napier’s recent comments, made after six people were killed while walking in just 13 days in Scotland, that pedestrians should wear “reflective or fluorescent” clothing to ensure they remain visible.
“Whilst Ch Insp Napier victim blames vulnerable road users, it should be noted I was doing everything asked and more,” Myles says.
“But ultimately if there are no consequences to people’s actions, then there are no laws – this is on you.”
Police Scotland have been contacted by road.cc for comment.
Ryan joined road.cc as a news writer in December 2021. He has written about cycling and some ball-centric sports for various websites, newspapers, magazines and radio. Before returning to writing about cycling full-time, he completed a PhD in History and published a book and numerous academic articles on religion and politics in Victorian Britain and Ireland (though he remained committed to boring his university colleagues and students with endless cycling trivia). He can be found riding his bike very slowly through the Dromara Hills of Co. Down.