Cycling in Sydney Australia
From the archive of JohnH's wisdom (which was regrettably deleted from SC):
If you take the time to attend a Police Station to report such an
incident, it must have been serious enough to cause you fear. DON'T BE
FOBBED OFF BY THE POLICE AT THE FRONT COUNTER - MAKE SURE SOMETHING IS
DONE ABOUT YOUR COMPLAINT.
From outcomes (as if) of the infamous traffic incident:
Newtown Local Area Command's Inspector Anthony Metcalfe gave us undertakings very publicly in the SMH (refer Chris Moore's 'traffic' discussion) that Police would follow up events properly and that this is the proper course of action rather than us performing follow up via Sydney Cyclist posts.
Now thus far Inspector Metcalfe's people are displaying an epic fail. No evidence of any follow up work and calls are not being returned. As seems to be the case regarding the Shane Warne event in Victoria being monitored by the AGF / Vulnerable Road Users person there.
So... if you are involved in an incident please follow John's advice above. If you are fobbed off meticulously do as John says and please please let us know here what happens, positive or negative. But without posting anything which might prejudice an investigation or a case, if either is likely to occur.
Now if you would like follow up support, in particular in getting Inspector Metcalfe to honour his promises, please do post here or if it has to be private or you don't want to risk annoyance from media people PM either myself or Rococoabean.
We can probable support a case load of about one a week between us, and will prioritise if there happen to be more than that. Clearly cases in Inspector Metcalfe's area, Newtown LAC, are likely to be of superior priority. I have already been engaged in an event in Parramatta so there too is a good one for attention.
If you are seeking police follow up, please DO LET US KNOW HERE.
We must know about successes as well as failures. Don't post anything which might prejudice an investigation or case but please DO keep us informed.
We need metrics upon how police are performing, and what effect they are having upon the bull in the china shop.
Metrics and evidence are instrumental to advocacy and lobbying for improvement. Otherwise they'll just say they are doing the work fine and we ought to leave them alone.
Inspector Metcalfe said... Police would follow up"
Or "...will follow up..."?
There is a subtle but importance difference:
I would give you $1,000,000
I will give you $1,000,000
Inspector Metcalfe encouraged Sydney cyclists to talk to their local police if they experienced any similar problems.
"If there are issues they need to report that to police because we're only as good as the information we get.
"If we've got cars driving around harassing cyclists, we can do something about that."
There's a Bean-a-gram on his desk today, asking what work has been done and of course querying non-returned telephone calls. CC'd to the Police Minister and the Local Area Commander.
Er, thanks for that introduction, Martin. :-) I'm going to post the following over on the 'TRAFFIC' thread as well, in the hope it gets as much notice as possible...
I’ve been increasingly concerned of late at several high-profile incidents involving cyclists and traffic that went to the cops and then never seemed to get anywhere – the ‘TRAFFIC’ case is one, the Warne incident another.
So, with Chris Moore’s blessing, a couple of weeks ago I contacted Anthony Metcalfe at Newtown LAC (the lucky Inspector whose comments appeared in the Herald article on ‘TRAFFIC’). I had no joy getting a return call after several attempts so, over the weekend, I wrote to him (cc-ed to the LAC Commander, the Police Minister and to Chris), taking him up on his media comments and asking what progress there had been on the case.
I hoped to hear back, though I’m not sure if I thought I’d have any success through this avenue either. However, just before lunch I had a call from Inspector Metcalfe and we spoke for about 25 minutes. He apologised for not having gotten my message/returned the calls and said that yes, he had meant what he said in the media and had no intention of letting the case go. He was also well aware that I was taking notes of our conversation and would be posting them here.
As to the case: Inspector Metcalfe said that the investigation is still being actively ‘managed and monitored’. All the information that’s come in from the public has been reviewed (some of it contradictory...), so it’s proved harder to track the car down and identify the occupants than might be hoped. He does want, ultimately, to have the kind of prima facie evidence that will allow them to take the case to court. There is a six-month statute of limitations on traffic cases, but no statute of limitations for assaults, so this could happen whenever the evidence becomes available.
The Inspector also said that, as a result of his media comments, he had had some good response from cyclists and monitored the comments on the story via the SMH website. Representatives of Newtown LAC sit on Council traffic forums (I assume in City of Sydney LGA? – I didn’t ask) and their Traffic Officer, Tony Kenny, has responsibility for engaging with cyclists and running related compliance operations.
I put it to the Inspector that enough cyclists had had difficulties in the past reporting incidents to the police, or not being taken seriously, to make some of us wary about approaching them at all. He said that, for Newtown at least, he could give an undertaking that anyone coming in with a traffic- or cycling-related issue not dealt with in a manner they considered satisfactory could ask to be referred to a supervisor until they were happy with the action or explanation they’d been given. He said that he tries to impress on his staff that it might be a family member or friend of theirs coming in to report something – and that they would be upset if it were not handled correctly. He said he also cycles himself, and some officers in his station cycle to work.
I also put it to him that there’d been a lot of dissatisfaction at police operations – not necessarily in Newtown – which target cyclists in a very narrow way but don’t appear to also be ‘capturing’ illegal driver behaviour at the same time. His response was that the aim of many enforcement operations is to be ‘high profile’, for the police to be seen doing what they’re doing, whether it’s targeting helmets, motorists using their phones illegally or whatever. They can’t be everywhere or have an impact on everything, but in Newtown LAC at least he sees it as his ‘moral obligation’ to make sure people can get around safely – whether that be related to public safety issues (alcohol, seatbelts, etc) or crash data, which they have to report on (but would prefer not to be!)
One other thing the Inspector did tell me was that Newtown LAC now has a facebook page. It’ll basically be a way of passively gathering information without people having to front up to the police station to deliver it. He would be happy to have Sydney Cyclist members feeding information through to them in this way, preferably through a single person collating and noting it on the page (I did explain to him that the forum wasn’t ‘an organisation’ with a hierarchy... but maybe we can find a way to make this work?). For those not in the Newtown area, eventually all LACs will have facebook capability; if you go to the NSW Police website and click on the ‘EyeWatch’ logo on the front page, you’ll find details there on how to connect with them. He would also be happy to meet with people, engage Councils on issues that are more in their domain and escalate or progress matters. He gave me his direct contact details and said that we should touch base again in a week or two.
I’ve been told that the best SC posts are pithy (and, preferably, witty as well!). I apologise that this one is neither really, but I hope that you can understand why. In the interim, if you’ve read this far and have thoughts on any of this, let’s have them here. I think – hope – this represents a major opportunity to make some positive connections with the people who can best enforce the laws we currently have, give some input on ones we need and provide another avenue of attack on engineering/design issues.
Good stuff Michelle. Following up like you have is to be commended. Better to engage with people to gain co-operation and understanding, like you have done. Well done.
Had another near miss while riding through back streets of ashfield. It was particularly stupid and dangerous driving so went of course to confront them and caught them 4 blocks later at an intersection....
the lady showed no remorse and when I was asking why she had nearly hit me interrupted to inform me that it (her dangerous driving) was my fault for riding in the middle of the lane rather than snug up against the parked cars before driving off without giving me a chance to say a thing.
I stopped by at the ashfield police station after work to give them her details.
brown haired white woman, white hatch, my family are stick figures on back window, B&W number plate AIC 35Q. She had overtook me in a normal fashion then while still in the adjascent lane turned across my path into the interesection I was passing on my left. had to brake hard and hook to miss her car.
Ashfield police were very attentive and even sympathetic. they looked up her details but since she had no prior incidences they did not have a contact number to ring her on... Stated her word against mine there was no chance of legal proceedings. I did not get a cops number. but they did take my contact details and encouraged me to let them know if there are ever any other incidences. I think I will finally get that helmet cam up and running after this last one. Watch out for her she has no empathy for bike riders who shouldn't be on her road in her way. On a positive note tho, Ashfield police are great to deal with, and encourage video footage.
It's not good enough though is it? She deliberately put you in danger, you were in fear.
They could at least visit her and talk. She might admit. Therefore it is not true that proceedings would fail, and they could ticket her anyway. Even if not she'll know a complaint has been made.
Be very interested to see if they'll do any actual work if you have video.
Hey Martin Kylie Agreed that would be ideal. but without proof, (footage, witness's) the police stated they would only be there on my word alone. I had expected the police to find a long track record against her given the combination of her age and attitude. Police seemed eager to help tho so gonna start mounting up a camera to capture the inner wests worst drivers. Sux she got away, with a lot of luck the thought of a cyclist chasing her down might make her chill instead of wasting a few seconds going up and across someone else going past an intersection.
I expect having a woman in blue on the doorstep would be an even more powerful psychology.
Sadly we are facing an enormous challenge just in getting the police to follow their own manual and do their work. Seniors in charge of traffic matters have risen through the ranks, where they joined especially to drive fast cars and chase people in the first place. They are card carrying petrolheads, and absolutely do not give a flying f*ck about any kind of vulnerable road user.
We need to achieve a tremendous attitude change to get the functional change we seek. At least there are a few officers and maybe some commands who might be prepared to do the right thing. I hope so. Our metrics will tell us quite a lot.
At the risk of not being PC, there is an old story about the regular time checks within the thin blue line. It goes something like this -
"For the uniform mob, it is 7pm. For the detectives, it is 1900 hrs, and for the highway patrol, Mickey's big hand is on 12 and the little one on 7."
As told to me by one of their own.
Funny as it is I suspect this is only part of the awful truth. Not just dense, but nasty too. Many at least. Perhaps we can be charitable and say too thick to have a moral compass.
They are supposed to be there for us, our friends & allies. It is really sad.