Gardai fail to follow up on hit-and-run driver

COMMENT & ANALYSIS: The Sunday Independent isn’t seen as one of the most cycling-friendly newspapers, but in yesterday’s newspaper Jim Cusack wrote how the Gardai have not followed up on a hit-and-run driver who could have killed his daughter, but luckily only crushed her bicycle.

While his daughter Georgia waited at a red light at a side-road off Dublin’s Pearse Street last November, a driver broke the red light and drove over her bicycle — which she was able to jump off.

It’s understandable why Gardai explain to people the messiness of looking for a driver to be prosecuted. But even with a number of witnesses, and Dublin Bus CCTV footage (which it seems the Gardai did not follow up quickly enough), a garda stilled stressed the issue. Georgia Cusack explained:

“I made a statement and the garda asked me if I wanted to press charges. He told me it would be a hassle and I might have to go to court. He said sometimes it was the driver’s word against mine and it can become messy”

Last time the Cusack checked, the Gardai had not contacted the witnesses and now 7 months after the hit-and-run was reported, no known action has been taken against the driver who is likely still on the road.

Many people who are involved in incidents with motorists say that the Gardai have acted and done so reasonably promptly, but where the driver is obstructive or does not want to be found, the Gardai are often left without the resources to follow up each case. Given the volume of drivers in the city centre which are not residents of the city centre, local Gardai investigating any case will also be faced with extra travel time to follow up with drivers.

We know that the Gardai are under pressure from successive cutbacks and this has affected their ability to effectively police our roads and streets. Numbers of officers are down generally and reports earlier this year said that Traffic Corps officer numbers have declined by around 40 percent.

While gardai are under strain to do their work, we also know from online and other accounts that sometimes incidents are only taken seriously when there has been bodily harm — isn’t that the wrong point to act?

MORE: ‘Little effort was made to catch hit-and-run driver’

2 Comments

  1. I was put in A+E (and later admitted for a minor operation) after a driver pulled out in front of me (on my bike) – I swerved and hit another car instead. Fire brigade, ambo, Garda all attended the scene. Lot of passers by, other drivers, witnesses, etc. Garda failed to take anyone’s details bar the driver of the car I had hit, as I owed him for the damage. Had to be treated as a hit and run. And the Garda lied to me to cover up the negligence too.

    There’s a lot of work to be done by the Gardaí if they want to be trusted by the cycling community.

  2. There seems to be a serious issue with the process guards follow when investigating an accident. A friend of mine witnessed a serious accident and the guards only wanted to take statements from the two involved parties and he had to press them to take his statement which in the end they never followed up on. If one party is in the wrong, but it willing to lie about what happened then of course we end up with lots of “your word against theirs” situation. You would think that the guards would want to minimise this since it clearly means that someone must be at fault and lying about it.

    That’s in relation to Buffalo’s story. In relation to the article I’m not surprised at all that there has been nothing done. If you are not killed, or at least very badly injured, the attitude seems to be that no crime has been committed.

    I guess we should be grateful for that, since it could be worse. I read somewhere (I think it may have been on Bicycling’s wed site) of a case where a cyclist was knocked down and hospitalised and the police believed the motorist’s version of events and charged the cyclist. The cyclist was able to get video footage from a garage showing the motorist had run a red light, hit a cyclist and then lied to the cops. The end result? The cops grudgingly let the cyclist off but never charged the motorist.

    Yet, if a cyclist puts on a helmet camera they are seen as being a vigilante, intimidating motorists, with a heavy hint they they deserve everything they get.

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