The Times, Wednesday 22nd May 2013 reports that a message posted on Twitter by a woman with username @emmaway20, “definitely knocked a cyclist off his bike earlier – I have right of way he doesn’t even pay road tax! #bloodycyclists” is being investigated by the Norfolk Police. It is believed that the tweet was posted by a trainee accountant from Larking Gowen, an accountancy practice based in East Anglia.
The injured cyclist, Toby Hockley, was participating in the 100 mile Boudicca Sportive Ride in Norfolk on Sunday. He states that he was hit by a car which careered around a corner at speed and sent him flying into a bush. He states that the driver did not stop and “all I know is that it was a blonde girl driving”. He said, “I am not angry, I would just like it known that her stupid comment that I don’t pay road tax is not an excuse to treat cyclists like second class citizens”.
Stupid comment indeed! The tweeting motorist needs to be aware that she is under a duty to report the incident to the police pursuant to Section 170 of the Road Traffic Act 1988. A failure to report an incident involving Personal Injury to a person other than the driver of the vehicle is an offence and accordingly the tweet is of interest to the Norfolk Police who will no doubt take appropriate action. Not surprisingly the tweeter’s employers have distanced themselves from her irresponsible tweet.
The tweet demonstrates both the callousness of the motorist for failing to go to the aid of the stricken cyclist and also her ignorance in relation to vehicle excise duty (surprisingly so for a trainee accountant). The roads in the United Kingdom are maintained by the local authorities or the Department of Transport whereas vehicle excise duty goes to the Treasury. It is ludicrous to suggest that cyclists pay road tax when motorists do not. There is no such thing as road tax in Britain.
In my experience as a Solicitor acting on behalf of vulnerable road users, particularly cyclists and pedestrians, it is unfortunately all too common for motorists to drive off without reporting a collision involving an injury. If possible it is important to obtain the registration number of the vehicle which has caused a collision. With a registration number it is possible to identify the driver and for the Police to take appropriate action.
If a registration number has not been obtained anyone injured as a consequence of the negligence of an Untraced Motorist may pursue a claim for damages for injuries and consequential losses to the Motor Insurers Bureau under the Untraced Drivers Agreement provided the accident was reported to the Police within 14 days.
Read more about Cycling Accident Compensation Claims.