What a dry and boring title for a discussion. Sorry. I do try to add as much humour as possible, but I'm running low on funny stories about this one.
My question is, does anyone know if "dangerous driving" or "driving without due care" (or whatever the UK law now calls it ) is illegal in France or not?
Also, if it is not, has the UK law changed in my absence?
I ask because I had a driver pull out on me from a roadside parking space, without indicating. He didn't hit me, but I had to swerve and I could easily have been hit by the traffic overtaking me (I'm a cyclist).
As I'd slowed to do this, I heard a loud "crunch/scraping" sound behind me and I stopped in the middle of the lane, turned and saw the driver slowly inching his way forward, scraping his front right wing on the car in front's left rear bumper/light. He was going so slowly that it was plain he must have known he was scraping the other car, he just didn't care. It was vandalism.
I tried to stop him but he just wound his window down and asked me what the problem was. I pointed towards the car he had just hit and said "oui bien sure, c'est la" but he just shrugged. I took out my phone camera, took a photo of his "immatriculation" (number plate) and a photo of the car he's hit. He drove off while I was doing this.
The gendarmerie said I was not able to make a complaint against the driver because I am not a victim (ie no bodily harm) & they were unable to take action so all that could be done is the driver of the damadged vehicle to claim on his/her insurance. They looked at the photos to verify it was real and took my details to give to the "victime'
I find this baffling. The man driving should surely have some points off his license and a fine of some sort. I had to spend an hour of my precious time reporting it so they could tell the "victime" that I'd found out who did it.
He risked my life with his careless driving. Why is this not illegal?
I doubt I will bother reporting this sort of thing in future. My time is too precious & I feel less inclined to waste it if people are just going to get away with vandalism anyway. Besides, I clearly have very little time left to live if I'm going to carry on being a cyclist in France, because they can all get away with dangerous driving, so why should I waste any of it helping other road users?
Is the law non-existant in this respect? Or are the police just too busy to follow up on minor breaks in the law? Is it the same in the UK and I simply hadn't noticed before?
PS: here's a bit of humour to add - I was so intent in posting this question that I've just burned me loaf of bread - b****cks!