July 31 2014 Latest news:
Friday, February 28, 2014
A driver has been charged with four offences after a road collision with a cyclist at Colchester.
Officers taking part in a cycle safety operation in the town were involved in tracing and arresting a driver who failed to stop after a collision in High Street on Tuesday, February 25. The cyclist was uninjured but badly shaken and his bike was damaged.
The arrested man was later charged with careless driving, failing to stop after a road collision, having no insurance and having an invalid driving licence. He was bailed to appear at Colchester Magistrates’ Court on March 14.
Officers from the Essex Police Casualty Reduction Section were taking part in the cycle safety campaign Operation Bluenose when they were called to assist in the incident.
As part of the operation officers are visiting four areas, Colchester, Chelmsford, Harlow and Basildon where there have been concerns about cyclists being involved in fatal or serious injury road collisions.
With more people taking up cycling to get to work, to keep fit or for pleasure and with growing interest in the Tour de France cycle race stage passing through the county in July, police are determined to improve safety and reduce casualties.
January, February and March are the months when road collisions involving cyclists increase, mainly during darks evenings when people cycle home from school, college or work.
Operation Bluenose aims to find riders at risk and urge them to use more safety equipment such as lights, helmets and high visibility clothing. Officers are also using social media to ask cyclists to identify which areas and cycle routes should be investigated.
Sgt Graham Freeman, who is running the operation, said: “The overwhelming majority of cyclists in Colchester had lights and the majority had helmets and reflective clothing which is excellent news.
“But we did find that in about an hour we stopped a total of 23 cyclists for riding on a footpath which was crowded with pedestrians. These were all given verbal warnings. In addition – and to our utter amazement, a further two were stopped for cycling down a dual carriageway the wrong way against the flow of traffic to take short cut.
“Unbelievably they thought it was OK as they were in a cycle lane – which was only 2ft wide. They genuinely couldn’t understand that they were risking their lives by cycling against the traffic – including a few buses that kept coming out of bus stops in that stretch and coming across the cycle lanes to join the main flow of traffic. These were also given verbal warnings.
“The vast majority of people we stopped across the county were very receptive and those who were fully complying with the law were impressed that Essex Police was tackling the problem.”
Adam Pipe, Essex Police’s Casualty Reduction Manager said: “We will be continuing Operation Bluenose until the end of March as we believe it is a successful way of reducing road collisions involving cyclists.
“We carry out road safety operations every day and most of these are aimed at reducing offences such as speeding, using a mobile while driving, not wearing seat belts, not having MoTs and any other offences by private or commercial vehicles that can lead to serious or fatal injuries. The majority of cyclists welcome the work we are doing and the fact that so many cyclists in Colchester were found on Tuesday evening to have lights, reflective clothing and helmets shows that more and more riders are becoming safety conscious.”