Hit and runs occur every two days in Hackney – twice national average

Rachel Aldred

Rachel Aldred - Credit: Archant

Cyclists are calling on police to clamp down on hit and run drivers, as figures reveal the crime is taking place every couple of days in Hackney.

Every year there are 800 to 900 collisions in Hackney, of which a fifth are hit and runs, according to a study commissioned by Hackney Cyclists. That’s double the national average of 11 per cent of all injury collisions across Britain.

But figures are even higher for collisions in Hackney involving pedestrians and cyclists, with hit and runs accounting for a quarter.

Dr Rachel Aldred – who carried out research for the campaign group – said hit and runs tend to cluster in “hostile environments” like busy roads and junctions.

“It’s part of a toxic road culture, and regular cyclists are reporting experiencing one very scary near miss every week,” she said.

“We want to see road traffic enforcement given a higher priority in policing across the borough.

“There are a range of initiatives that could be considered. West Midlands used undercover officers to catch drivers who weren’t giving cyclists enough room when passing them.

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“The campaign would like to see roads policing put higher up the agenda.”

The past decade has also seen a big rise in the number of cyclists injured on Hackney’s streets, which stood at 250 in 2015 compared with 134 recorded in 2005.

Dr Aldred said: “Clearly cycling in Hackney has grown during this period, perhaps roughly doubling, but it’s a concern that there doesn’t seem to be much of a ‘safety in numbers’ effect for cyclists. In other words it hasn’t got much safer per trip, as cycling has gone up.”

A spokesman for Hackney Council said they already work closely with the police’s safer transport team. “Every week they stop and charge around 20 drivers for offences including using a mobile phone whilst driving, dangerous driving or driving without insurance,” he said.

“Every few weeks they run targeted intensive operations at problem sites – during the past six operations they have seized 31 vehicles, processed 31 people for various offences and arrested five people.”