July 6, 2017 at 8:02 pm #46903
Hey there SPR forum goers.
Not a member of the club but I’ve been on a sprinkling of rides over the last year and have had a great time, so thanks for that. Hopefully see you all on future rides as well. I figured I might share something interesting I was reading about online.
I know we’ve all been buzzed by angry motorists from time to time, but in my own life I never really thought anything could be done about it. I’ve always read and heard from others who’ve tried, that if a report were attempted to be made to police regarding what is typically considered a traffic infringement, the police will always tell you to get lost since the infringement wasn’t witnessed by an officer. Fair Enough.
I’ve been reading around some forums online and stumbled across a blog which discussed making reports to police for “assault” when a motorist dangerously passes a cyclist. Now, the blog is American, but that got me interested in WA criminal law. I did a quick Google and located the criminal code for WA) and found a seemingly relevant passage (page 177):
1) If a person omits to do any act that it is the person’s duty to do, or unlawfully does any act, as a result of which —
(a) bodily harm is caused to any person; or
(b) the life, health or safety of any person is or is likely to be endangered, the person is guilty of a crime and is liable to imprisonment for 7 years.
Summary conviction penalty: imprisonment for 3 years and a fine of $36 000.
Since the “1 meter rule” is now law in WA, passing within that distance is “unlawful”, and “the life, health or safety of any person is or is likely to be endangered,” then “the person is guilty of a crime.”
I’m no lawyer but upon reading this, I would say a motorist who dangerously passes a cyclist might be guilty of assault.
The reason I’m writing to you, is that maybe it would interest the club to create an initiative to encourage members and the community at large to start reporting dangerous passing to the police as “assault.” Maybe consulting with a criminal lawyer prior would be beneficial.
What do you think? I think cyclists need to push back against dangerous motorists in a way which is legal and will have a measurable (and hopefully positive) effect. This initiative may also generate media coverage which would rapidly disseminate the existence of the 1m rule and get the people of WA talking. This may be the way to do it.
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