Monday 19 November 2012

Dear Police Commissioner - updated

Dear Sir/Madame,

Here goes... Here's my first draft of a 'model' letter to send to the new Police commissioners to get in first with a request to get them on-side with serious, fair cycle safety in policing. Not at all happy with this draft yet, but its a start - comments welcome.

Congratulations on your recent appointment to the role of Police Commissioner for (insert name of county/police force area here).

I would like to take the opportunity to request that you consider certain priorities in policing in xxxx, specifically with regard to issues of importance to vulnerable road users.

Where dealing with these issues, I'd like you to consider hard statistical evidence for what is or is not a problem. For example, while I'm sure we'd all accept that a cyclist out at night should have the neccessary lighting, we know that a very low percentage of cyclst injuries are caused by cyclists not being lit. Something in the region of 2% of cyclists KSI (killed and seriously injured) are from incidents thus attributed, a proportion so small as to be difficult to accurately measure.

Thus when determining how to spend resrouces to make roads safer for vulnerable road users, I would like to ask you to look further than naked requsts based on individuals own perceptions - however compelling such accounts appear to be. I'm sure that you, like me, have a desire to use policing resources prudently to have as great an impact on road safety as possible. So please consider the following.

As I'm sure you're aware, there have been numerous studies into the causes of cyclist and pedestrian injury on our roads, and such studies vary all show that around 70% or more of cyclist injuries are solely the fault of motorists, whereas in the region of 7-20% are attributed to cyclists. In fact, even if we look at the specific things cyclists are so often accused of (cycling on the pavement and red light jumping) we see that these issues, while annoying, are not major contributory factors in cyclist or pedestrian injury statistics - pedestrians are far more likely to be killed or injured on the pavement by motorists than by cyclists.

With this in mind, I'd like to know what your policing priorities to improve safety for vulnerable road users (pedestrians and cyclists) will be - I would hope that your priority setting would mirror the real issues we have on the road based on rational, statistical analysis of risk factors. Could you please provide me with some information regarding what you aim to do in this area?

I will of course be happy to provide reference for any data quoted in this letter, and if there are any issues you wish to discuss regarding cyclist safety I would be happy to help.

Yours sincerely...

So, what do you think? How can this be made better?

Edit 1: Have changed it a bit to focus more on 'vulnerable road users' rather than just 'cyclists', and put a broader sweep on the stats. Still unsure about putting full reference to studies in.

Edit 2: Accepted fair wrist slap for confusing 'incident' with 'accident'!

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