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WA Police Blitz on Cyclists in Fremantle

Alston on Cyclists and Motorists

Alston on Cyclists and Motorists – West Australian, January 30, 2012

The Fremantle Herald is reporting that the Fremantle Police “will launch a blitz on errant cyclists in Fremantle in February following increasing complaints from pedestrians and motorists about broken road rules.” The Fremantle Herald goes on to quote Senior Traffic Cop (as they refer to him) Alan Box who I believe is a Senior Sergeant at the WA Police Fremantle Station as stating in respect to the WA Police blitz on cyclists that “cyclists have every right to on the road and drivers must respect that right. We will come down hard on any motorist who fails to respect cyclists’ road rights.”

Well first and foremost I have no real issue with the blitz if there is a genuine valid reason for it but frankly I find it rather hypocritical of the WA Police when they fail to blitz motorists who are putting cyclists lives at risk. Ask yourself, how many cyclists killed motorists or pedestrians in the last 12 months in WA? You guessed it none. How many cyclists where killed in the last twelve months? Thirty five cyclists where killed in Australia according to the data published in November by BITRE. How many pedestrians? 190 pedestrians lost their lives in Australia in the 12 month period ending in November 2011 as per the BITRE data. How many motorists where killed? Sadly 876 drivers and passengers where killed Australia wide again as per the BITRE data.

Reflecting on the 35 cyclists killed Australia wide, how many of those deaths where caused by the cyclist? No specific data is publicly available to my knowledge but the Monash University Accident Research Centre study showed 87% of incidents recorded on camera involving motorists and cyclists, that the motorists where at fault. Assuming this can extrapolated 30 cyclists killed by the actions of motorists. So where does the problem lay? With cyclists or motorists? Let me think for a nano second – yep with motorists given the statistical data. Yet where are the WA Police at Fremantle directing their resources in a blitz on cyclists? You guessed at the evil cyclist who is out there causing mayhem on the roads.

Lets go back to those statistics for a moment. 190 pedestrians killed Australia wide in the past 12 months. More pedestrians are killed yet where is the WA Police blitz on them? Funny there isn’t one!

The so called blitz on cyclists not withstanding, what is really galling about this is the contemptuous way Alan Box is treating cyclists and the public of Fremantle. Alan Box is quoted in the Fremantle Herald as saying that “cyclists have every right to be on the road and drivers must respect that right. We will come down hard on any motorist who fails to respect cyclists’ road rights.” Mmm, my experience very much suggests otherwise Mr Box.

Well I am calling out Alan Box on that statement and argue that Alan Box is treating cyclists and the public with contempt. Why am I saying this? Well I have five videos of incidents reported to the WA Police at Fremantle and which where ultimately taken right through to the Assistant Commissioner Metropolitan, Stephen Brown via Superintendent John Lindley of the South Metropolitan District of the WA Police which suggest that the WA Police response to motorists is nothing like the views attributed to Alan Box in the Fremantle Herald.

I would go further and say that the South Metropolitan District of the WA Police has no interest in incidents involving cyclists, that the, South Metropolitan District of the WA Police has no respect at all for cyclists’ rights and the South Metropolitan District of the WA Police has no intention of coming down hard on any motorist period despite Alan Box’s statement to the contrary.

Here is why I have formed this view, why I no longer have any faith at all in the WA Police South Metropolitan District, in Superintendent John Lindley or in Assistant Commissioner Metropolitan, Stephen Brown and hence why I no longer report incidents putting myself at risk to the WA Police South Metropolitan District. In my view to bother reporting an incident is a complete total waste of time.

WA Police Blitz on Cyclists – How they Come Hard Down on Motorists

WA Police Blitz on Cyclists – Example #1 – Incident Report No. 089011 2102 85866 – Registration Number IDMI 618

The response from the Superintendent John Lindley of the WA Police on November 7, 2011 was and I quote ” no offence detected, insufficient evidence to proceed.” We can add to this the advice given on the phone from First Class Constable David Armitage Officer Armitage in a voice mail message left at 1:20 PM on September 27, 2011 that in relation to the traffic complaint that there is no obvious offence and the matter has been “written off”. Officer Armitage also extended the following advice, which was left in the voice message and that is that I should take “more care when turning on to Port Beach Road” and then he referred to the cycling path.

I can only assume this is what Alan Box means when he says that the “cyclists have every right to on the road and drivers must respect that right. We will come down hard on any motorist who fails to respect cyclists’ road rights.”

WA Police Blitz on Cyclists – Example #2 – Incident Report No. 100911 1563 85866 – Registration Number TP 1992

I apologise for the quality of this video. I hadn’t realise that the the lens had been rotated. First Class Constable David Armitage Officer Armitage indicated in voice message left at 1:20 PM on September 27, 2011 that in relation to this traffic complaint that there is no obvious offence and the matter has been “written off”. Officer Armitage also noted that there was “bit of an issue with the bus turning left, probably an issue best taken up with the bus company.” The response from the Superintendent John Lindley of the WA Police on November 7, 2011 to my concerns with the handling of this incident was and I quote ” no offence detected, insufficient evidence to proceed.”

I can only assume that once again this is what Alan Box means when he says that the “cyclists have every right to on the road and drivers must respect that right. We will come down hard on any motorist who fails to respect cyclists’ road rights.”

WA Police Blitz on Cyclists – Example #3 – Incident Report No. 100911 0955 85866 – Registration Number 1DMQ0878

The response from the Superintendent John Lindley of the WA Police on November 7, 2011 was and I quote ” no offence detected, insufficient evidence to proceed. The video footage again indicates your bicycle is in the centre of the left lane.”

It seems that Superintendent John Lindley believes that I shouldn’t have riding in the centre of the left lane as per Regulation 112 of the WA Road Traffic Code. It is a pity Superintendent John Lindley hadn’t brother to inform himself of the regulation before he wrote to me or reviewed the complaint and the incident, assuming of course that he actually did this. Had he bothered to address his ignorance first, he would have been aware that my riding was quite legitimate and not in breach of Regulation 112. For the record Regulation 112 in full states:

112. Keeping as far left as practicable
(1) Except where these regulations provide otherwise, a driver shall keep the vehicle as close as practicable to the left boundary of the carriageway, except where 2 or more lanes marked on the carriageway are available exclusively for vehicles travelling in the same direction [my bold].

That said, I was hardly riding in the middle of the lane. I was riding to the left of the centre of the bus lane where the motorists is not allowed anyway and frankly if Superintendent John Lindley expects me to ride in the gutter then he should address his ignorance of cyclists’ safety. Such advice is dangerous as any cyclist who rides in the gutter soon learns. Superintendent John Lindley clearly needs to get out his car and actually experience riding on the road for a at least a month to get an inkling of cyclists issues on the road.

WA Police Blitz on Cyclists – Example #4 – Incident Report No. 150911 0955 85866 – Registration Number 1CUU720

This incident was reported on September 15, 2011. At the time I initially wrote to the Commissioner of Police on October 7, 2011 I had had no response from the WA Police at Fremantle. The subsequent response from Superintendent John Lindley was and I quote:

“The registered owner of vehicle ICUU720 has been interviewed and has no knowledge of the incident and stated he was not in the area at the time. The description of the vehicle does not match the vehicle described by you and appears to be an incorrect registration.”

The description given by myself in the Traffic Complaint Form was “black.” The vehicle looks pretty black to me. As to the registration number, yes I got it wrong on the Traffic Complaint Form but is Superintendent John Lindley seriously suggesting the he and his officers are so incompetent as to be not able to either ask me to correct my complaint form or for them to watch the video and identify the correct registration number?

BTW the driver of the vehicle not only put me at risk initially but also threatened to drive in to me. Once again this appears to acceptable as this is not an example of what Alan Box refers to as failing to respect cyclists rights.

WA Police Blitz on Cyclists – Example #5 – Incident Report No. 0110911 1103 85866 – Registration Number ICER 976

The response from Superintendent John Lindley in his letter of November 7, 2011 was:

“No offence detected, insufficient evidence to proceed. From the video recording it appears that you were riding your bicycle in the centre of the left lane and therefore preventing vehicles behind from passing. They recommend for your own safety and as per Reg 112 of the Road Traffic Code to keep to the left of the lane. Furthermore Reg 219 of the Road Traffic Code states that a rider of a bicycle shall no unreasonably obstruct or prevent the free passage of a vehicle or pedestrian by moving into the path of the vehicle or pedestrian.

Once again Superintendent John Lindley has an issue with Regulation 112 and also seems to have a problem grasping that Tydeman Road is a dual lane carriage way. Furthermore Superintendent John Lindley seems to have difficult understanding Regulation 219(1), not 219 as referred to in that it is an only offence if the cyclist moves into the path of the vehicle and unreasonably obstruct such vehicle. I didn’t move into the path of the vehicle. I was already there when the vehicle came up behind me and as the video shows other vehicles had plenty of opportunity to pass safely as did the reported driver.

Interesting with respect to example #4, where the same justifications could not be used, Superintendent John Lindley just came up with new excuses for no action.

I can only conclude Superintendent John Lindley and Assistant Commissioner Metropolitan Region Stephen A Brown consider themselves so superior that they consider it quite acceptable to demonstrate e such high standards of contempt of the the public of Western Australian and that such disrespect of the law is acceptable to.

With regards to Alan Box’s comments; I believe this last video once again shines a bright light on the fallacy of his statement.

WA Police Blitz on Cyclists – Example #6 18-11-2011-PM-9IA245

This incident, example no. 6 is one I haven’t bothered to report as my experience as outlined above shows it is a total waste of time reporting incidents to South West Metropolitan District despite the comments of Alan Box in respect to the blitz on cyclists and as the previous videos show, Alan Box would consider this as an example how to go about respecting cyclists rights.

Back to the WA Police Blitz on Cyclists

WA Police Blitz on Cyclists

WA Police Blitz on Cyclists – Fremantle Herald, January 21, 2012, p. 9

Back to the blitz on cyclists. The Fremantle Herald article appeared on page nine of the January 21, 2012 edition. A screen grab of the article can be found above. In summary the WA Police will be targeting the following aspects of cyclist behaviour considered dangerous:

  • failure to wear helmets;
  • riding on footpaths;
  • failing to use lights at night;
  • failing to indicate;
  • riding road-unworthy bikes

But hey it is okay for motorists to run orange and red lights and nearly take you out, it is okay for motorists to close shave you, it is okay for motorists to threaten “to drive into you”; it is okay for motorists to cut you off; it is okay for bus drivers to turn left from the right lane when you are alongside in the left lane (heck it is just a cyclist so lets squash them like a bug); it is okay for truck drivers to try and suck you into the trailer as they go past less than a metre away; it is okay for motorists to not give way at give way and stop signs; it is okay for motorists to to try and force you off the road as you go through the roundabout. Yep all these things are okay, but don’t ride on the footpath!

Here is a thought, get off your bike and walk across the traffic lights ignoring the traffic signals because that is okay.

Thanks Senior Traffic Cop Alan Box, I am really assured about my safety now I know you are taking action. Next time I get in the car I will be so happy I am now safe from those those evil cyclists.

Related Resources – WA Police Blitz on Cyclists

October 7, 2011 – Initial complaint to the Western Australian Commissioner of Police, Dr Karl O’Callaghan

November 7, 2011 – Response from Superintendent John Lindley South Metropolitan District of the WA Police

November 14, 2011 – Reply to Western Australian Commissioner of Police, Dr Karl O’Callaghan in light of Superintendent John Lindley’s letter dated November 7, 2011

December 6, 2011 – Assistant Commissioner Metropolitan Region Stephen Brown’s reply to my letter of November 14, 2011.

January 29, 2012 – WA Commissioner of Police Dr Karl O’ Callaghan’s opinion piece on cyclists and motorists as published in the West Australian, January 29, 2012

Johnson, M. (2011, October 21, 2011). Helmet-cam captures bike accidents (and could make cycling safer). The Conversation.

 

19 Responses to WA Police Blitz on Cyclists in Fremantle

  1. Greg January 31, 2012 at 6:55 PM #

    You have been doing the right thing by lodging formal complaints with the Police and providing evidence. It is upsetting that the Police have chosen to take no further action in these cases. What message does that send to motorists?

    In light of the above the comments made by Alan to then claim that “We [the Police] will come down hard on any motorist who fails to respect cyclists’ road rights.” Very poor indeed.

  2. Aushiker January 31, 2012 at 8:08 PM #

    I agree Greg, but what I find really frustrating is that complaints are handled so differently at North-West Metropolitan District and at the Mirrabooka Office. These offices are so professional in comparison, even if some complaints don’t go my way, at least they are handled professionally.

    Dealing with Fremantle is like dealing with a completely different Police force.

    What tops this off for me is to have Alan Box make this comment; the same Alan Box who apparently reviewed all of my complaints and supported the no offense decisions. Makes you wonder what has to happen before they will take action and what he considers is not showing respect?

  3. Sean aka Oxford February 1, 2012 at 9:22 AM #

    Blitzes are cool when you know you are doing it right and have nothing to fear. But what I do fear is when blitzes enforce and focus on situations to the detriment of enforcement of other laws. This is the situation here. As already pointed out, cyclists represent a non issue in terms of safety to other road users in the level of carnage they cause when compared to other road user groups. Lets be fair and focus on the real issues and the real causes of road trauma. If the police and politicians are really serious about this they would do something. Unfortunately it would be unpalatable to the voters and therein lies the real issue. Its easy to look like you’re doing something when your treading on an easy to target (and highly visible) user group (like cyclists) when the real culprits keep doing the same dumb and dangerous things.

  4. Pete B February 1, 2012 at 1:46 PM #

    Feel free to delete this post…
    It’s petty issue but just wanted to point out an auto-correct spelling error 2 paras above “WA Police Blitz on Cyclists – Example #6 18-11-2011-PM-9IA245″

    “… consider themselves so supper that they concise it quite acceptable …”
    should probably read
    “…consider themselves so superior that they consider it quite acceptable …”

    Damn auto-correct ;-)

    • Aushiker February 2, 2012 at 8:10 AM #

      Thanks for letting me know of the error. Hopefully now fixed. You can see why I teach accounting :)

  5. Peter February 4, 2012 at 9:22 AM #

    Firstly,where did you get the camera for this I need one if possible . I have been in two accidents and in both cases the police refused to help me .I now have a double spinal fusion in my back and i am limited in what i can do .In the first case the ambulance even refused to treat me , i had to find my way home , the rear of the bike was sqashed to the seat tube .I was hit from the rear at approx 80km/h ,second time at over 90km/h with triple rear light on on a dark road.I needed to find a witness but they would not help .when i tried to find the witness in a small country town i was threated that i would be prosecuted for putting up a sign for help . Get a lawyer as the police are discriminatory against any minorities in wa

    • Aushiker February 4, 2012 at 10:38 AM #

      I use two cameras now days. The rear camera is a Contour HD1080P which is really overkill for my commuting. The front camera is a Jumbo HD808 #11 which you can get on eBay for about $50. Really good little camera. For good advice on cameras check out the discussion at the Australian Cycling Forums.

  6. Mulch February 17, 2012 at 10:33 PM #

    Hiya
    Interesting site. Hey did you handle bar mount your Jumbo HD808 at any stage? If so how and what was the vibration like?

    • Aushiker February 18, 2012 at 2:39 PM #

      Thanks. Yes the Jumbo HD808 #11 is now mounted on the handlebars using a standard Rigid Mount. I need to write this up but in the meantime you can see photos of the setup here.

      Vibration in terms of the picture is okay (see some of my latest videos here for examples) but it does pickup a lot of road/bike noise. I really need to try and dampen that more.

      With these later videos the Jumbo is handlebar mounted and the Contour is in its waterproof case using a RAM mount on the rear.

      • Mulch February 18, 2012 at 9:15 PM #

        Cool, photos are quite clear and it looks easy enough to replicate. I’ll grab one on eBay and have a go with it.
        Hey do you clear the memory on the jumbo after every journey or is it continuous record type thing where it overwrites until you stop it?

        • Aushiker February 18, 2012 at 10:31 PM #

          You need to clear it. Because I am a Mac user I find it easier to use SDFormatter and do a quick format to clear the data. Deleting can be a slow process with the Mac.

  7. OnePiece February 20, 2012 at 3:02 PM #

    Why not mount a camera on your frame, it might show how close these cars get much better from a lower fixed angle.

    • OnePiece February 20, 2012 at 3:05 PM #

      Ok, i should really read the other comments before posting!

    • Aushiker February 20, 2012 at 9:06 PM #

      No worries :) Yes the cameras are mounted on the bike. As I see it there are advantages with helmet mounts as well. Maybe need three cameras :)

  8. Dan March 5, 2012 at 9:35 AM #

    I do respect what you are doing here. However, provoking the motorists is not going anywhere near helping the cause, at all… And I can guarantee that is half the reason the cops are responding the way they are. In the end, it’s all road rage…
    Just to clarify things, I ride to work everyday, and to the parents place etc. (That’s Bentley area to Armadale). I ride a full suspension mountain bike, for lack of my touring bike that I’m still building. So there is a culture ‘difference’ (between roadies and mtbers). I’ll stick to dual use pathways, if they’re available, and often use the government provided maps to plan a route.
    When riding on the road, and coming to an intersection, ill normally either wait off the side, for the greens and traffic is less, or simply use the pedestrian crossing. It’s simply safer.
    I’d rather be safe, then purposely put myself in a situation where I know the ignorant bus driver, or the bogan ute driver, or the retarded parent on the phone is potentially gonna knock me off.

    • Aushiker March 5, 2012 at 5:10 PM #

      Thanks for your comments, but I am sorry but I don’t go around provoking motorists nor do I go looking for trouble. I am happy when I get to the end of my ride and be able to simply delete the video footage (unless there something positive to share). I can assue you I have no desire to get run over or worse and frankly NO cyclist or pedestrian should be subject to such events.

      What I do desire is that everyone be able to be safe using common land (yes roads are common land) and that everyone (cyclists and motorists and pedestrians) share the common land in a safe considerate manner in-accordance with the law at ALL times. Not an unreasonable ask is it?

      I also expect the Police to use their resources appropriately for the safety of all. Cyclists are not to blame for the ills on the roads. The road deaths data clearly shows this as does the coroner’s data.

      BTW I am also a motorist. I have no problems sharing the road with cyclists … it is not hard nor do I have problems sharing it with pedestrians of which I am one also.

      I also want to get home safe and sound irrespective of my choice of transport … sadly ~1,000 people in the pass 12 months didn’t get that chance.

  9. Carl August 5, 2012 at 9:25 PM #

    Pretty obvious to anyone that acts of dangerous driving have occurred in all these videos.
    Some members of WA Police are just lazy and are as bad as some of these drivers in this video. My favorite incident was having to swerve to avoid being hit by an unmarked police car that decided to do a U turn in front of me. This was behind Curtin House, he was parked up, pulled away from kerb (indicator not used) and did the U turn straight in front of me forcing me to swerve to avoid collision. The car drove off and went through Curtin House car park gates before I had chance to catch up. I think Perth drivers in general are better than 10 years ago but as your videos show plenty of idiots still.
    Just to add though I have had some good experiences with the police, funniest was a guy pulling straight out in front of me in Northbridge, just as 2 motorcycle cops were coming the other way. I had to go up the kerb to avoid the car. The cops pulled him over, I turned round and went back. One of the cops stopped me and asked if I had to go up kerb to avoid him, I said yes so he asked meif I would mind making a statement against the driver which I happily did.
    Maybe you should report these incidents to the Police Bicycle Unit, I think they would be a bit more interested than some desk bound guy.

  10. Dan K March 5, 2013 at 7:05 PM #

    You have to invest in cycle infrastructure if you want to encourage cycling. I cycling in London UK and we have a long way to go to make cycling safe HOWEVER a recent eBay search for second hand bikes within a a 25 mile radius of my address in London revealed 3878 bikes for sale. A very similar search of ebay.com.au for second hand bikes within 50Km’s of Fremantle shows just 21 cycles for sale. Makes London look like Copenhagen by comparison. I’ll be coming to Freo and borrowing a bike in March 2013. Looking forward to it.

    • Andrew Priest March 11, 2013 at 10:07 PM #

      Don’t disagree with you on infrastructure but not sure your comparison of bike for sale is a fair comparison … needs to be on a per capita basis and also take into consideration the likes of Gumtree which has far more bikes for sale than eBay does here.

      Still a good point on infrastructure. We have just had an election so the future is a little unclear at present.

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