A driver in Cheshire who twice in the space a month has attempted to run off the road the same members of Port Sunlight Wheelers - and who is known to police because he already has six points on his licence - remains at large because the Crown Prosecution Service claim that none of the witnesses were able to identify him.
He's been heard boasting about his exploits in "chippies". The car involved is a hot-hatch, blue-coloured Renault Clio hurtling around the Chester area. One of the Port Sunlight Wheelers nearly wiped out by this guy is a police officer, Garry Doolan.
Doolan says End to End record holder, Andy Wilkinson, was involved in the second incident. Doolan says he has learned that the driver voluntarily attended a police interview, but gave a "no comment" interview. However, according to Doolan, the driver had previously told the police officer that he had "had a go" at the cyclists because they were riding four abreast - which Doolan refutes.
Doolan says this "significant statement" coupled with four witness statements from four experienced racing cyclists should have been enough to link the driver to the car.
However, Chester CPS claim they do not have the name of the driver and without a name, they cannot prosecute. "The CPS should not be playing judge and jury in this matter," says Doolan. "The CPS should also realise that, if his reckless behaviour is not checked, this driver is in danger of going on to seriously maim or kill a cyclist.
If that happens, that blood will be on their hands. "As a police officer, I despair that four decent, hard-working, tax-paying members of the community can all provide detailed, expansive witness statements yet the CPS cant be bothered to put the matter before the court.
They are, these days, only interested in supporting jobs that are guaranteed to succeed at court. They are led entirely by performance figures, but that does a dis-service to the community."In the first incident, on Sunday, May 10, at about 11.45am, some 10 members of Port Sunlight Wheelers had left the Saighton circuit, and were making their way to a well-known cafe, The Cream Factory when a carpassed the group at an "horrendous speed with only inches to spare" - with no warning.
The driver then slammed on and reversed towards the cyclists, stopping inches from them.
All were forced to brake heavily and one of the riders, Roy Sumner, club captain, and TLI champion blew out his front tub! The driver of the Clio then gave them two fingers before wheel-spinning away!
The cyclists rang the police from the side of the road. The second incident occurred on Thursday, June 11, at about 8pm, again in the Saighton area, this time after a club 10-mile time trial. "The group included Andy Wilkinson. We were a couple of miles from the course, again riding two abreast on a wide road, when the same Renault Clio came at speed from behind us and then veered towards our group, causing a couple of us to fall off.
The driver was beeping his horn wildly. The Clio then veered into the opposite carriage-way and attempted to make off at speed. The car then veered back towards the kerb, slammed on the brakes before eventually making off."
All the riders were left stunned, shocked.
This time they dailed 999."To my mind, the second incident was a clear attempt by the driver of the vehicle to cause harm to some of our group and the fact that he did not was only through the grace of God," said Doolan. "Had he hit the group at the speed he was traveling, their would almost certainly have been fatalities."
From Doolan's point of view, he finds it beyond belief that the CPS will not sanction a charge against this driver "for the outrageously, pre-determined dangerous manner of his driving. I understand from the Cheshire police officer that there is only one registered keeper of the vehicle and he is the only insured driver."
"I believe, therefore, that this driver should be placed before a court for the court to make a decision."
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Keith Bingham joined the Cycling Weekly team in the summer of 1971, and retired in 2011. During his time, he covered numerous Tours de France, Milk Races and everything in-between. He was well known for his long-running 'Bikewatch' column, and played a pivotal role in fighting for the future of once at-threat cycling venues such as Hog Hill and Herne Hill Velodrome.
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