London: plain clothed officers to ensure drivers obey rules of the road
Plain clothed police officers in London are to ride unmarked bicycles as part of a new tactic to deal with the offences that ‘most deter people from cycling’.
Launched by the Met’s Cycle Safety Team on 21 July, the operation will see officers visit any given area, based on intelligence and complaints, to ensure drivers properly obey the rules of the road.
Sergeant Andy Osborne from the Met's Cycle Safety Team, said: "We can't be everywhere, but we could be anywhere.”
The officers will be working be in plain clothes, wearing video cameras and riding unmarked bicycles donated by BMW, to identify and deal with the offences such as:
- Unsafe following (tailgating)
- Unsafe overtaking (close passes)
- Unsafe turning (left or right turns across the cyclist's path)
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.
Through a short presentation, the driver will be reminded of the Highway Code rules regarding their offence(s) 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 but will be reported in the usual way, which may lead to a court appearance.
Sgt 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.
"By all road users obeying the Highway Code, collectively we can help lessen incidents of people being killed or seriously injured on the roads."
Will Norman, London's Walking and Cycling Commissioner, said: "We know that safety concerns are one of the biggest barriers to cycling in London.
“That's why we're working hard to build high-quality safe routes to encourage even more people to cycle, and why I'm so pleased to see the Met tackling some of the dangers that we see on our roads."
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