GMP slammed for ‘victim blaming’ after suggesting cyclist hit by drink driver should’ve worn hi-vis jacket



Greater Manchester Police have been slammed for ‘victim blaming’ after they posted a video about road safety which suggested a cyclist hit by a drink driver should have worn a high visibility jacket.

The video, which was posted on the force’s Twitter account and features a Family Liaison Officer within the Serious Collision Unit, references a case where a female cyclist was left with life-changing injuries after being knocked off her bike whilst cycling on the pavement.

During the clip, which has since been deleted, the officer issues a message that cyclists and motorcyclists should wear protective clothing such as a high visibility jacket and make themselves as visible as possible on the road.

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The messaging has been heavily criticized, with scores of people on the social media site weighing in on the force for ‘victim blaming’ the cyclist, and for failing to acknowledge the fault of the drink driver.

One person wrote: “This is unbelievable messaging. Drunk driver hits cyclist who is on a pavement (because the roads are so unsafe and lawless), and the takeaway message you’ve gone with is wear high vis?!!”

Another said: “Somebody suffers serious injuries being hit by a driver on the PAVEMENT & your take is that vulnerable people should have hi vis? Where is your campaign to stop the danger? The danger is the driver if you are not able to work that out.”

The force have since deleted the original video and issued a statement saying the film ‘did not adequately describe the action that GMP takes to keep people safe.’

During the video, the liaison officer talks about how dangerous the roads can be for those ‘on two wheels.’ “Being a cyclist or motorcyclist can be even more dangerous because you’ve got less presence on the road so there’s less for people to see,” she said.

She continued: “We went to a collision of a cyclist who was cycling on the pavement because they felt it was safer. Unfortunately they were hit by a drunk driver and they suffered life-threatening injuries at the time and now suffering with injuries that are going to stay with them and impact their lives.

“It was complete devastation. It was awful the carnage we were met with. And then the victim’s partner arrived on scene and trying to keep them calm so the paramedics are able to do their job. Just the look of devastation and just feeling useless at So for cyclists and motorcyclists basically to wear the protective clothing, wear the high vis, make yourself as visible as possible to everyone on the road.

“And to other road users obviously to show some patience and make sure that you give these riders enough space when overtaking or when you’re driving alongside them.”

The video was met with outrage, with some people demanding the force to remove the clip – which they now have. One Twitter user even said he had reported the footage to the IOPC.

“For goodness sake @GMPolice, take this awful rubbish down! Blaming someone hit on the footway by a drunk driver for not wearing hi-viz and a helmet? Does that apply to people walking on the footway as well,” one person said.

Another wrote: “Very poor. You put the emphasis on the victim rather than on the perpetrators. Prevention is better than PPE. Better to educate motorists to drive legally and safely.”

“Why isn’t the message here don’t drink and drive? That feels like the actual cause. The woman was on the pavement. If she’d been a pedestrian, what would you have been saying here,” one person wrote.

Another user posted: “It’s not the drunk drivers I’m worried about, it’s the attitude where @gmpolice think it’s appropriate to blame cyclists for bringing harm on ourselves. The message should be for all road users to respect the road and each other, irrespective of how many wheels we have.”

“My sister’s husband was killed, while stationary on a motorcycle, by a dangerous driver (since convicted) doing 70mph. I’m so relieved that excellent staff from Thames Valley Police were involved in the immediate response and family liaison, not this victim- blaming nonsense,” another said.

A spokesperson for GMP said: “The film was part of a national campaign called #2wheeloperation aimed at helping cyclists and motorcyclists stay safe by encouraging people to take the steps they can to reduce road risk. However, the film does not adequately describe the action that GMP takes to keep people safe including the pursuit and prosecution of drink and drug drivers and all those who choose to use our roads illegally.

“There is much more that we can and will be doing to improve road safety and for this reason we are currently recruiting an additional 60 dedicated road safety police officers. We thank those who have provided feedback.”




www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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