Road Safety News
 

‘Operation Bluenose’ provides road safety advice for cyclists

Friday 28th February 2014

Cyclists are being stopped and given road safety advice as part of a new initiative to ‘engage and educate’ by Essex Police and Essex County Council.

Police officers are patrolling busy cycle routes in four areas of the county where riders are at higher risk of being involved in serious road crashes. Essex Police say they are determined to improve safety and reduce casualties.

‘Operation Bluenose’ is targeting both cyclists and motorists and officers are giving advice to both about how to ride or drive more safely and avoid collisions.

Essex Police says that January, February and March are the months when road collisions involving cyclists increase, mainly during dark evenings when people cycle home from school, college or work.

Through Operation Bluenose, the police are identifying what they see as at-risk riders and urging them to use safety equipment such as lights, helmets and high visibility clothing. Officers are also using social media to ask cyclists to identify which areas and cycle routes should be patrolled.

Riding without lights can incur a penalty of £50, while wearing reflective clothing and/or a helmet is at the rider's discretion - but Essex Police are encouraging and advising riders to do so, to make them more visible and “reduce the risk of head injury should a collision take place”.

Sgt Graham Freeman, who is running the operation, said: “About 50% had no lights and were given verbal warnings. About 50% had no reflective clothing and 75% had no cycle helmet.

“The vast majority of people we stopped were very receptive and those who were fully compliant with the law were most impressed that Essex Police was tackling the problem.”

Daniel Carlin, Essex County Council’s senior road safety officer for cycling, said: “This engage and educate initiative is based on our cycle collision data, and local police are actively on the streets from lighting up time to about 7.30pm.

“We are using the THINK! ‘Look out for each other’ leaflet as part of the engagement and it is working well.

“In March 2014, Essex Police will be launching the ‘Cycle Improvement’ initiative which will give offenders the option - at the officer’s discretion - to either pay a £50 fixed penalty notice for the offence or complete an online cycle course at a lower cost.”

Click here to read the full Essex Police news release.

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The Essex police officers are stopping cyclists, raising awareness and discussing any safty issues, not stopping them because they have no helment or hi viz. We have a developing problem of consistantly higher cyclist casualties year on year over the last 3 years and to address this issue we are trying to raise awareness of cycling safety with both motorists and cyclists in specific targeted areas as we are data led. We do not feel that this time is wasted and if we get one less casualty it is worth the effort. We do not see victims, only casualties which we would rather try to avoid and that means raising awareness on both sides - motorist and cyclist - because at times both sides are at fault.
Daniel Carlin

Agree (1) | Disagree (0)
+1

Richard - as I have explained previously this newsfeed is exactly that - a newsfeed. It reports on road safety news, rather than reporting the views of Road Safety GB.

If you are aware of any genuine news items that you think we have missed please bring them to our attention. If we agree that the story is newsworthy we will cover it - as we did with the Chris Boardman 'red herring' story which you alerted us to.

We do try to be as fair and even-handed as possible in our news reporting.
Nick Rawlings, editor, Road Safety News

Agree (3) | Disagree (0)
+3

"Richard:
You say:
Why are the police targetting the victims not those causing the problem?

But the news item says:
Operation Bluenose’ is targeting both cyclists and motorists and officers are giving advice to both about how to ride or drive more safely and avoid collisions.
Nick Rawlings, editor, Road Safety News"

Because all the measures proposed to improve safety are aimed at cyclists? The single sentence mentionining the responsibility of those with the most power to take the most care hardly compensates for the rest of the article blaming the victims for getting in the way of drivers. Not a single mention in the article of reducing the cause of the danger, drivers.

As I have previously stated, Road Safety GB doesn't appear to understand road safety and seems to be an organisation which seeks to excuse drivers for endangering others. By any measure, the danger on our roads comes from large, heavy and fast motor vehicles, but I haven't seen an article expressing this here. Why not?
Richard Burton, Bristol

Agree (0) | Disagree (6)
-6

Richard:
You say:
Why are the police targetting the victims not those causing the problem?

But the news item says:
Operation Bluenose’ is targeting both cyclists and motorists and officers are giving advice to both about how to ride or drive more safely and avoid collisions.
Nick Rawlings, editor, Road Safety News

Agree (4) | Disagree (2)
+2

If I lived in Essex, I would be writing a very strongly worded letter to the chief constable, pointing out that stopping cyclists for not wearing a helmet or hi viz, is not only a waste of police time and resources, but possibly harrassment. Certainly stopping cyclists without lights is sensible and justified, but if I was stopped by a policeman for not wearing a helmet or hi viz, I'd be taking their numbers and making an official complaint to the police commissioner.

Have the police actually done any analysis of the causes of the collisions involving cyclists, or are they just engaged in victim blaming? The evidence about collisions between cyclists and drivers is compelling, and in the vast majority of cases, the fault lies with the driver not the cyclist. Why are the police targetting the victims not those causing the problem?

It is extremely frustrating that those who should be making our roads safer chose instead to waste their time and ignore the elephant in the room.
Richard Burton, Bristol

Agree (4) | Disagree (5)
-1

I would say if a cyclist is on the road at night with no lights or even just the poorly lit LED lights and no High Viz then it comes under careless cycling as they are cycling in a manner that the average person would view as careless.
Liam

Agree (6) | Disagree (1)
+5

Lights in the dark OK, but since when is not wearing hi viz or a helmet an offence? Surely this is not a good use of Police time?
Ian, Gloucester

Agree (4) | Disagree (4)
0