Transport Secretary Chris Grayling faces calls to quit and for prosecution after knocking cyclist off bike

A cyclists' defence fund has also called for his prosecution

Click to follow
Indy Politics

The Transport Secretary Chris Grayling is facing calls to quit and the possibility of prosecution after he was videoed “dooring” a cyclist outside the Houses of Parliament.

Cyclists’ representation organisation Cycling UK has offered the man apparently hit by Mr Grayling legal assistance from its defence fund, arguing that there are “questions about why Mr Grayling has not been prosecuted”.

Meanwhile the former chair of the MPs’ cross party cycling group has said it would not be appropriate for Mr Grayling to stay as the minister in charge of cycling.

Duncan Dollimore, the charity’s senior road safety and legal campaigns officer said that as Justice Secretary Mr Grayling’s department had rebuffed their suggestions that offence should be taken more seriously.

“Mr Grayling as a former Justice, and the current Transport, Secretary should know it’s a criminal offence to open any door of a vehicle on a road so as to injure or endanger anyone,” Mr Dollimore said.

“Currently, it’s treated as a minor offence with a maximum £1,000 fine, despite the fact that people have been killed and seriously injured by car dooring.

“Cycling UK spoke to Justice officials in September suggesting that a review of the offence and penalties of the car dooring offence is needed. Disappointingly, Grayling’s former department rejected our suggestions and omitted them from their review of offences they announced two weeks ago. Hopefully, the Ministry of Justice will now listen to us, and reconsider the entire remit of what is a very limited review.”

“Cycling UK is keen to speak to Mr Liu to see if our Cyclists' Defence Fund is able to provide legal assistance. There are questions about why Mr Grayling was not prosecuted for what appears to be an offence, and CDF has in the past been prepared to commence private prosecutions on behalf of injured cyclists."

Ian Austin, a Labour MP and former chair of the All Party Cycling group in Parliament, said it was not appropriate for Mr Grayling to remain Transport Secretary after having “injured another road user”.

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

“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. 

Chris Grayling the Transport Secretary (PA)

“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.”

In a video originally published by the Guardian newspaper Mr Grayling is seen getting out a black car in Parliament Square after opening it onto a person cycling. He immediately walks over to check whether the person is injured and speaks with them.

A spokesperson for the Transport Secretary said: “Mr Grayling got out of the car, checked the cyclist was OK and waited until he was back on his feet. Mr Grayling spoke to the cyclist and apologised. They shook hands before he left.”

Mr Grayling faced calls to quit last week after it emerged he had said he did not want to devolve the railways to the Mayor of London in order to make sure they were not controlled by Labour. He later cancelled the devolution plan put in place by his predecessor Boris Johnson.

A spokesperson for the Metropolitan Police service indicated that they were aware of media reports but said: “At this stage police cannot confirm that this matter has been reported.”