Reports are that cycling groups and some MPs are have called for Transport Secretary, Chris Grayling to be investigated following him “dooring” a cyclist when he was getting out of a ministerial car in Westminster.
One cycling organisation has offered the cyclist legal assistance, whilst MPs sitting on the All Parliamentary Cycling Group have called upon the Prime Minister and the Metropolitan Police to start an investigation into the incident.
Video footage of the incident was published on The Guardian website yesterday (15 December 2016).
It was noted that Mr Grayling stayed with the cyclist for a short while and shook hands with him before leaving the scene. However, it has now been reported that the cyclist, Jaiqi Liu, was left dazed and injured with a broken bike and no idea of who Mr Grayling was or the other ministers in the car.
Cycling group, Cycling UK have stated that “dooring” a cyclist is a criminal offence and that if the police did not prosecute the Transport Minister then it was prepared to use its Cyclist’s Defence Fund (CDF) to assist Liu in considering a claim against Mr Grayling.
However, Liu has stated that he does not wish to discuss the matter any further.
Duncan Dollimore, Cycling UK’s senior road safety and legal campaigns officer, said: “Mr Grayling, as a former justice secretary and the current transport secretary, should know it’s a criminal offence to open any door of a vehicle on a road so as to injure or endanger anyone.”
A regulation under section 42 of the Road Traffic Act 1988, which designates criminal motoring offences, states: “No person shall open, or cause or permit to be opened, any door of a vehicle on a road so as to injure or endanger any person.”
A spokesperson for Mr Grayling stated it was “an unfortunate accident. Mr Grayling got out of the car, checked the cyclist was OK and waited until he was back on his feet. Mr Grayling spoke to the cyclist and apologised; they shook hands before he left”.
Members of the All Parliamentary Cycling Group have now called upon the Prime Minister and the Metropolitan Police to make a full investigation into the matter.
Chair of the Group, Ruth Cadbury MP said: “Chris Grayling as much as anyone should understand the risks of opening a car door. If anyone is expected to understand live by the rules of the road, it’s the secretary of state for transport.”
Ian Austin MP, a patron of the Group has written to both the Prime Minister and the Chief of the Metropolitan Police, asking for details of any investigation or sanction.
In his latter, Mr Austin stated: “Opening a car door in a way that injures someone is an offence and can result in serious injury and even death. Despite this, Mr Grayling didn’t even provide his details so he could pay for the damage, [and rail minister Paul] Maynard couldn’t get away quick enough.
“Anyone can make a mistake, but I don’t think you can have a secretary of state who has injured another road user, could have committed an offence and failed even to provide his details afterwards.”
With a highly publicised promise of a cyclin and walking investment strategy yet to appear, Shadow Transport Minister, Daniel Zeichner said: “If we want to see cycling safety improve, we need to see sustained investment in infrastructure, and they need to take collisions like this seriously.
“The transport secretary is clearly embarrassed by this incident, but taken with his recent careless comments about cycling, it reveals what he really thinks about cyclists as road users.”
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