London: plain clothed officers to ensure drivers obey rules of the road

12.00 | 26 July 2017 | | 7 comments

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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    I didnt know that there was a Cycling Embassy of G.B. in London did you. Does that mean that its followers will be entitled to Diplommatic Emunity for all offences committed?

    gill craven
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    Keith, when cyclists start killing or maiming car drivers or pedestrians at the same rate as motorised vehicles, you may possibly have a point. Until then, it is appropriate that the police focus on offences which are more serious. You may want to read the West Midlands take on this:

    Tim Lennon, Cycling Embassy of Great Britain
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    I agree with you David but what if only 30ft or less is given at 30 mph. I have even had them 5ft from my rear in a 20 mph area pushing me to go faster. Anyone in their right mind would consider that to qualify for police attention. Obviously the police do not.

    What about 240ft at 60 mph or 315ft at 70 mph? These are the stopping distances in the HC but do you or others think that they are realistic stopping distances or not.

    Bob Craven Lancs
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    Good job they’re in plain-clothes, otherwise it would be too obvious that they’re police officers.

    Hugh Jones, Cheshire
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    There is no offence of tailgating. What constitutes an offence of driving without reasonable consideration for another road user will probably be decided upon the advice contained in the Highway Code. That advises a gap of at least two seconds between vehicles, and 10 mph equates roughly to 15 feet per second, so 30 feet of separation at that speed ought to prevent someone being of interest to Police.

    David, Suffolk
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    Does anyone know what distance is tailgating at speeds under 10 mph? The police won’t or can’t give a distance at 30 mph or any speed one would care to mention so how can they give a speed at 10 mph. If they can give a speed at 10 mph then perhaps it’s not above their brain power to make other distances known that would constitute a tailgating offence for all other road travelling vehicles at whatever speed.

    m.worthington Manchester
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    Can we assume that where these plain clothed unmarked cyclists observe infringements by cyclists the same approach will be adopted? Or are they only there to identify infringements by motorized vehicles.

    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

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