“We can’t be everywhere, but we could be anywhere,” said the Met’s Cycle Safety Team of their new tactic to improve cyclist and driver safety, which launched today, Friday, 21 July.
As the scheme is rolled out across London, Cycle Safety Team officers from the Met’s Roads and Transport Policing Command will go to any location, at any time, in any borough and – based on intelligence and complaints –ensure drivers are properly obeying the rules of the road. The officers will operate in plain clothes and wear video cameras, whilst riding unmarked bicycles donated by BMW, to identify and deal with the offences that deter people from cycling.
If officers encounter a driver committing any of these offences, they will identify them to a nearby marked police motorcycle rider who will stop and engage with them. In line with any police roadside stop, the driver will be required to provide evidence of insurance, a driving licence, pass a roadside eyesight test and have their vehicle checked for roadworthiness.
The driver will be reminded – through the use of a short presentation – of the Highway Code rules regarding the offences and the standard of driving that they should reasonably be expected to attain.
Professional drivers, especially those subject to certificate of professional competence requirements and those who display examples of particularly bad driving, will not be offered the roadside engagement and will be reported in the usual way, which may lead to a court appearance.
Cycle Safety Team’s sergeant Andy Osborne said: “We want all road users to obey the Highway Code. This tactic is about education and encouraging motorists who do not comply with the rules of the road to start doing so – for everyone’s safety and protection – theirs included. There is a lot of traffic in the capital and we all need to share the roads and be mindful of other road users. In its simplest form, it’s about being courteous to one another.”
London Cycling Campaign chief executive Ashok Sinha added: “Drivers passing too close is terrifying and off-putting to people cycling. Most people cite road danger and near misses as major reasons why they don’t cycle. The Highway Code requires drivers give safe space to cyclists when overtaking. This welcome operation on close passes will send a message to drivers in London to obey the Highway Code and stay wider of the rider.”