This article was published in 2000, in Newsletter 31.
There I was, cycling into work minding my own business, when I spotted a policeman on a bike, in a side road waiting to join the traffic stream. And there, a couple of hundred yards further on, was a huge articulated lorry parked in the cycle lane. So, as it moved off, I took its details and waited for the bobby to arrive.
‘Did you see that?’ I asked.
‘Yes,’ he said with a grin. ‘I’d given him two minutes to unload, and I wanted to make sure he didn’t outstay his welcome.’
Naturally I told him how impressed I was, as someone very concerned with the problem of parking in cycle lanes. ‘Ah,’ he replied, ‘You wouldn’t be Dr de Lacey, would you?’
Well it’s not exactly how I’d envisaged my five minutes of fame but it’s something. Though it is a little sad that there are not more reports of infringements of cycle lanes, it’s good to know that the Campaign postcard campaign is having an impact. We chatted for quite a while and, among other things, he commented on the postcards. Because they are not countersigned witness statements, the police have to start any proceedings by arranging to meet and interview the complainant. He told me that they were arranging to send me special forms which I could use to avoid this costly step.
A week or so later, a large sheaf of forms arrived. Compared to the postcards, they are a bit big and intimidating, and they came with the usual set of official instructions, such as ‘Where it says Enter your name you should enter your name.’ They ask much more detail than would go on the postcard, and you sign it twice. The second signature needs to be witnessed.
The big minus point is that there is no place to give details of a corroborating witness. This means that unless you can persuade a passer-by to accept the responsibility of filling in another of these forms, the police might be unable to take action. So, on the four forms I have submitted so far, I have added the contact details of another witness. As I haven’t yet had a response I cannot say what difference this makes to police action.
Final proof of fame came the Sunday after when I met my Youth Club. They were all agog with excitement and a big question. ‘Did he get you for speeding?’
Douglas de Lacey