GREATER Manchester's chief constable Sir Peter Fahy has personally written to a Bolton cyclist to explain why police did not investigate when he was knocked off his bike.

Sir Peter's letter comes as he warned this week that Greater Manchester Police is being "cut in half" due to government cuts.

The outgoing chief constable — who is retiring from policing in October to become chief executive of children's charity Retrak — said on Radio 4 that neighbourhood policing was in serious danger and that the police will not be able to offer some of the services it has done so in the past.

Cyclist Richard Hearne was on his way to work at the junction of Tong Road in Little Lever when a car pulled out and hit him head on.

He wrote to Sir Peter after the accident to express his disappointment that police were taking no action against the driver.

In his reply Sir Peter said: "Firstly I am sorry you were involved in such a dangerous incident and GMP very much appreciates that many cyclists feel that poor driving by motorists is not taken seriously enough.

"Just because we did not attend your incident does not mean that we don't care about this or there is no interest in road safety. It is just that the number of priorities we have far exceeds the number of staff available.

"Since 2010, the size of the force has reduced by 1,600 police officers and I lose on average seven more every week. There are no plans to recruit any new ones in the foreseeable future because of continued cuts in funding.

"I know you will say that potential injury on the road is a serous issue and it is but the question then is whether police activity will have an impact.

"There is no evidence that the police attending road accidents has any impact on casualty figures. Speed cameras work because they can be sited at the most dangerous places and increase the chances of being caught.

"The police attending an accident does not affect your chances of being in a morgue. What has most impact on cycle casualties is road design and separate cycle paths and improved lorry design.

"We take complaints very seriously and that is why we have agreed to speak to the driver and why I am writing this at 10.30pm on a Friday night — but this will not change our overall policy or our ability with sharply reducing numbers of staff, to attend all the incidents the public would like us to attend."

Mr Hearne, from Darcy Lever, was not seriously hurt in the incident.

He was wearing a yellow vest at the time and says the driver admitted she had not been paying attention.

Mr Hearne exchanged insurance details with the driver and later called the police, but was told by officers that they would not take any further action.

The 32-year-old said: "I am astonished that the police have said they are not going to investigate this. I could have been seriously injured or killed, but it seems that if you are not injured then they don't take it seriously.

"It has not put me off cycling, it has made me more determined if anything. I have installed a camera and some more safety lights now though."