Helen Pidd North of England editor
Monday 4 September 2017 13.04 BST
A police force has apologised after it was accused of victim-shaming an 18-year-old cyclist killed in an accident by suggesting people riding bikes should not weave in and out of traffic.
Oliwia Franchesca Wojciechowka became the second female cyclist to be killed in Greater Manchester in the space of a week when she was crushed by a lorry in Salford on Friday.
Photographs of the scene suggest an articulated lorry turned left at traffic lights, trapping the Polish teenager underneath.
Six days earlier, 24-year-old Vicky Myres was knocked over in an alleged hit-and-run while riding her bike in Timperley, in the borough of Trafford. She died in hospital. A 26-year-old man was arrested and charged with causing death by dangerous driving, failing to stop after a road traffic collision and failing to report a road traffic collision.
After Wojciechowka’s death, a lawyer and Twitter user, Wednesday Jones, called for ideas for ways to stop cyclists being killed.
Getting to be one a week. Any suggestions as to how to stop this?
— Wedders (@wedzx2003)
One of Greater Manchester police’s divisional feeds, @GMPRadcliffe, replied: “Drivers to give the cyclists room to manoeuvre and cyclist not to weave in and out of traffic at speed.”
The response was widely condemned. Chris Paul, a Manchester city councillor and the council’s lead member for cycling, said: “Awful answer. Just awful. An 18-year-old on a bike died. Come on @gmpolice get a grip of your Twitter feeds.”
Jones said: “Whoever was in charge of tweeting on behalf of @GMPRadcliffe needs to (a) be forced to cycle to work (b) be retrained. Imbecile.”
She called on Andy Burnham, the mayor of Greater Manchester, to look into GMP’s “insensitive victim-shaming”.
After the criticism grew on Monday, Tariq Butt, the chief inspector of the GMP, said: “I would like to apologise to anyone offended by [the tweet]. This is a tragic case in which a young woman lost her life and I would like to send my sincere condolences to her family at this very difficult time.”
Earlier, Jones told the Guardian she had written a letter of complaint to the GMP chief constable, Ian Hopkins, as well as to Burnham and her MP.