The relationship between cyclists and the police is often strained. It's common to hear anecdotes from cyclists who have had trouble getting the police to take reported incidents seriously, in some cases even when there has been a collision. Enforcement of basic traffic regulations also seems scant, speeding and red light jumping by vehicles is common. It often feels like cyclists are not being supported adequately. The CTC has a policy on all this which talks a lot of sense. But what can we do locally?
Earlier in the year we met with Mark Burns-Williamson, West Yorkshire's Police Crime Commissioner to raise our concerns and ask him to take these to the Chief Constable.
Mark did just that, and we then met with Mark Bownass, Chief Inspector for Roads Policing, at West Yorkshire Police's HQ in Wakefield.
Mark Bownass has moved on to policing pastures new, so in June 2014 we met with Inspector Field and colleagues at the new police HQ on Elland Road.
We're well on the way to setting up an ongoing and positive dialogue with the police, to understand their perspective and resourcing constraints, how they process reported incidents, the correct terminology to use, what offences may or may not have been committed etc. A future open meeting with the police and wider cycling community, perhaps in the form of a debate, might also be helpful to both.
As always, we'll feed back here on the website, and via Facebook. Please feel free to contact us with any issues you'd like us to raise.