Ian Austin MP

Labour MP for Dudley North

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Austin writes to Prime Minister and police after Transport Secretary sends cyclist flying

A former chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Cycling Group is writing to the Prime Minister after Transport Secretary Chris Grayling knocked over a cyclist and damaged his bike.

Ian Austin MP believes Mr Grayling could have committed at least one traffic offence and is also writing to the Cabinet Secretary, the Permanent Secretary at the Department of Transport and the Metropolitan Police.

Film of the incident shows that Mr Grayling’s door had been flung open, hitting the cyclist and leaving the rider in a state of shock on the pavement. Mr Grayling left after speaking to the cyclist but did not give his details.

The cyclist, Jaiqi Liu, later said that Mr Grayling had blamed him for the accident. He said: “One thing he did say was that I was cycling too fast, which was not true. That made me really upset. He made out it was my fault.”

Paul Maynard, a junior Transport Minister, who was also in the car, can be seen swiftly walking away, whilst Mr Grayling’s special adviser Simon Jones hides his identity badge in his pocket.

The incident was just weeks before Mr Grayling had complained that cycle lanes in London “cause too much of a problem for road users”, saying “Motorists in London have got to be immensely careful of cyclists.”

The most directly relevant offence is opening the door of any vehicle on any road (or causing or permitting a door to be opened) so as to injure or endanger any person. This is contrary to regulation 105 of the Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986. Any breach of these regulations is an offence under section 42 of the Road Traffic Act 1988.

In addition, Section 170 of that Act requires details to be provided in a collision which results in injury to another road user (or to an animal, or damage to another vehicle or other nearby property). Failing that, they must report the incident to the police (under subsection 3). Failure to do so is an offence.

Incidents of this nature can be fatal. For instance, cyclist Sam Harding was killed in August 2012 when driver Kenan Aydogdu opened his door in front of Harding as he cycled up London’s Holloway Road.

Ian Austin said:

“This shows how vulnerable cyclists are and it does show how careful we all have to be.

“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, Mr Maynard couldn’t get away quick enough and their adviser tried to hide his identity badge.

“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.

“And then later, after causing this incident, the Secretary of State complained about cyclists and cycle lanes in London.”

Austin's letter to the Prime Minister can be found here.

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