Updated: Hampshire Constabulary launch lo-viz cyclist crackdown

125 riders stopped, during week long campaign

by Mark Appleton   November 9, 2010  

Hi-viz cyclist.JPG

Police in towns around the New Forest area stopped 125 cyclists last week in an attempt to promote the use of lights and high-visibility clothing, reports the Bournemouth Echo.

We don’t yet have the figures from Hampshire Constabulary for how many of those stopped were not using lights, but the report suggests officers were handing out safety advice and high-visibility jackets, rucksack covers or snap bands, so we’re assuming not everyone was riding illegally.

Last week we reported on how police in Oxford launched a similar crackdown on lightless cyclists, collaring over 100 riders in a three hour period and slapping them with fines which could be waived if they produced a receipt for a set of lights within seven days.

Here at road.cc we are very much in favour of cyclists doing everything they can to be seen at night, but where we take issue with police forces is in their reinforcement of the notion that what they deem to be insufficiently hi-viz cyclists can still expect to get run over even if they are using lights and otherwise obeying the rules of the road.

There comes a point, we feel, where more emphasis should be placed on educating motorists that it is incumbent upon them to be aware that cyclists use roads at all hours of the day and night and that they, as drivers, should always be aware of the potential they have to cause harm to vulnerable road-users through excessive speed or inattentive driving.

In total there were 17,064 reported cycling casualties in Britain last year, the majority were slightly injured, but as well as the 104 killed another 2606 were seriously injured, representing a six per cent rise on the 2008 figure.

As for the timing of cycling accidents, 61% of casualties occurred during the hours from 7–10am and 4–7pm. This proportion was slightly higher for accidents on Monday to Thursday (66%) and lower at the weekend (44% on both Saturday and Sunday), and is likely to be related to school and work travel.

UPDATE: Sergeant Phil Lamb of Hampshire Constabulary’s Roads Policing Unit told road.cc that police stopped riders who were either riding without lights or who, in their opinion, could have been more visible, before talking to them and offering advice and practical support. No fixed penalty notices were issued, he said.

“Our intention was not to alienate cyclists but to try and help them by offering them free equipment which they could choose to take or not. The majority of people we stopped rode away with a hi-viz item for free so we feel this was a successful operation,” he said.

Sergeant Lamb also pointed out the Hampshire Constabulary regularly carries out operations aimed at cracking down on motoring offences including speeding, drink and drug driving, lack of seatbelt use and use of mobile phones while behind the wheel.

 

29 user comments

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here here road.cc

things like the oxford case fining people for lights annoys me but is difficult to argue with as if we want to be treated like vehicles then so it goes. BUT this hiviz stuff is not on and you've got it just right.

Should we ban all black, dark blue or grey cars by the same token? all cars from now on should be bright yellow. grrr...

posted by eddie11 [62 posts]
9th November 2010 - 12:59

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Well said road.cc and eddie11!

ConZoR

posted by cslattery [77 posts]
9th November 2010 - 13:08

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free hi viz, gudstuff. encouraging ppl to get lights instead of fines, also gudstuff. gudjob.

posted by Alankk [121 posts]
9th November 2010 - 13:13

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And this is something I'd support. (in fact, using my connections, I've brought it up with Durham police). I believe this would help in some way to decrease the amount of casualties involving cyclists. I commute 13miles to college, then back again mon-fri and its unbelievable how many people are with out lights and its hard to see them. last Monday i had a cyclist pull out on my why I was cycling down a poor lit B road and it was near impossible to see him until i got close to him. and had a word.

David Clark- Competing in the 1st ever Global race, covering 18,000miles in over 20 Countries. 18th February 2012.
While trying to break the following world records at the same time;
- Fastest person to cycle the world
-Youngest person to cycle the wor

posted by David cycling t... [66 posts]
9th November 2010 - 13:30

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haha i suppose one of those 17,064 reported cycling casualties was me, after hitting the back of a car at 20mph then carrying on into a lamppost. bad times. had the whole of the small town of Sacriston held up for 45mins (main road trough, I crashed town centre) spent a fair few weeks recovering....

David Clark- Competing in the 1st ever Global race, covering 18,000miles in over 20 Countries. 18th February 2012.
While trying to break the following world records at the same time;
- Fastest person to cycle the world
-Youngest person to cycle the wor

posted by David cycling t... [66 posts]
9th November 2010 - 13:31

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Free rucksack cover?

Mine cost £19.99 of Wiggle so being given out for free is result in my book.

posted by gazzaputt [166 posts]
9th November 2010 - 14:14

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My understanding of the Highways Act in regards to visibility was that cyclists had to use approved rear and forward lights and reflectors only. Hi-Vis clothing is only a recommendation in the Highway Code - though a freebie from the police in Hampshire would be very welcome and should be taken up before the cuts kick in Big Grin

It seems that it is easier and cheaper to stop a cyclist to reprimand them, than to saturate the streets with police cars to pull in vehicle drivers who constantly break all aspects of the Highways Act. Daily we see drivers treat vunerable road users with contempt! As a cyclist I have been forced of the road and being given verbal abuse and threatened for daring to be on the road. And as a pedestrian I have also been threatened even when crossing the road/side street legally. And yet the police seem reticent to deal with this behavior unless the vehicle is flagged as uninsured or not having a current disc!!

As cyclists we all no the risks involved and take the appropriate actions to ensure our safety - being visible, defensive cycling etc. While the authorities in Hampshire are to be applauded for their current action, is it too much to ask that they station themselves at ASL's, side streets and crossings and stop drivers who ignore vunerable road users who are attempting to cross or waiting to move on Confused

Other countries where cycling is an accepted mode of transport do not force hi-vis clothing on cyclists and in my own experience it does not matter how visible I make myself, drivers will still try and get as close to me as humanly possible. As I have said before, the sooner that the DfT enforce on motorists that they do not have sole use of the roads the better!

giff77's picture

posted by giff77 [827 posts]
9th November 2010 - 14:28

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Is there any research showing that hi-viz clothing actually works?

There was a recent Australian study which showed that so-called "biomotion" reflective clothing works to some extent: primarily reflectors on the ankles or pedals. On the other hand luminous/reflective vests appeared to make little difference.

Seems like a campaign based on little if any fact which has the effect of blaming cyclists and pedestrians for collisions and has the side effect of making us wear motley for the pleasure of the operators of the main cause of these accidents. Just like bike helmets.

posted by Ush [212 posts]
9th November 2010 - 14:46

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Stoke have handled this situation in a different way.Cycle Stoke has been running/is running a series of Pit Stops around the city on different days on commuter routes. The idea was to give cyclists a free, quick safety assessment of their machines,Hi-Viz vests, lights. So done in an atmosphere of encouragement rather than clampdown/slap on the wrists which surely will only impact negatively on some riders.

For once I can actually give a part of my fair city's council the thumbs up.

bikeandy61's picture

posted by bikeandy61 [349 posts]
9th November 2010 - 14:54

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As the driver of a black car, am I next?

Eddy Tupper's picture

posted by Eddy Tupper [10 posts]
9th November 2010 - 15:03

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Eddy Tupper wrote:
As the driver of a black car, am I next?

you could certainly be more visible. maybe your car could wear some kind of vest.

Dave Atkinson's picture

posted by Dave Atkinson [6686 posts]
9th November 2010 - 15:08

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got stopped by Southampton train station 2 weeks ago as part of this campaign. Although i was lit up like a Christmas tree they thought my black cycle specific jacket with reflective piping wasn't hi vis enough. So took my name and age in exchange for 2 snap on reflective bracelets but they decided i wasn't the sort of person who would want a rucksack cover (?!) and sent me on my way. As i left them i wasn't sure if they saw the taxi pull out in front of me 20yds up the road despite my funky new safety wear.

They did say "if you've got kids they love these" and funnily enough when scouring the house for the bracelets before this mornings hideous commute i was told that number 1 daughter last had them and thus nowhere to be seen.

posted by rowley [1 posts]
9th November 2010 - 15:33

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As a hampshire cyclist who has recently had any and all high-viz kit he owns go missing. I'd like to know which dark and dangerous corner of the county I have to head off to in order to pick up some of the next batch of free stuff?

posted by automatic_jon [68 posts]
9th November 2010 - 15:52

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I feel a trip to Hampshire coming on, dressed in my usual "the man in black" attire, Smart Lunar 1/2 watt LEDS and AyUp lights ablaze.

and when Sergeant Phil Lamb of Hampshire Constabulary’s Roads Policing Unit or one of his colleagues stops me I'll put a complaint in for unlawful detention to the PCC.

Precisely what freakin' legal frickin' basis are these flamin' woodentops stopping people on exactly?

Sergeant Lamb also pointed out the Hampshire Constabulary regularly carries out operations aimed at cracking down on motoring offences, give me strength motoring offences are against the law, including illegal speeding, illegal drink and drug driving, illegal lack of seatbelt use and illegal use of mobile phones while behind the wheel.

Illegal not dressing like a flourescent twat? Which statute covers that?

Really, though?

posted by workhard [230 posts]
9th November 2010 - 16:08

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workhard wrote:

Precisely what freakin' legal frickin' basis are these flamin' woodentops stopping people on exactly?

Sergeant Lamb also pointed out the Hampshire Constabulary regularly carries out operations aimed at cracking down on motoring offences, give me strength motoring offences are against the law, including illegal speeding, illegal drink and drug driving, illegal lack of seatbelt use and illegal use of mobile phones while behind the wheel.

Illegal not dressing like a flourescent twat? Which statute covers that?

The toys and the pram have finally parted company! Wink

I couldn't agree more workhard.

Did Nightrider 2013 for Parkinson's UK, Next!

jova54's picture

posted by jova54 [449 posts]
9th November 2010 - 16:31

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Totally Workhard!! As said. The wearing of hi vis clothing is only a RECOMENDATION!! Is it fair to say that the police will pull in drivers who pass cyclists within the RECOMENDED 3 foot guideline!!

giff77's picture

posted by giff77 [827 posts]
9th November 2010 - 16:40

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It's not all that bad.
How often do you get given free stuff by the police that you can sell on ebay?
Nice.

Chris's picture

posted by Chris [88 posts]
9th November 2010 - 17:23

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I think your personal safety should be upmost in your mind when cycling. To blame drivers with statements like 'they should have seen me' is nieve....drivers should do lots of things, but they don't. Surely a little help to see you is an intelligent move? It is a tad arrogant to think that you shouldn't look like a neon beacon because you shouldn't have to.

Any incentive by the police is surely positive? at least they are thinking about the cyclists and not ignoring them as a minority group?

Rode the E'Tape Caledonia - first sportiv ever and thoroughly enjoyed it

badbunny's picture

posted by badbunny [71 posts]
9th November 2010 - 17:25

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So we can please the fashion police, or the other police. I know which I'm more scared of... Wink

posted by BigDummy [253 posts]
9th November 2010 - 17:34

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indeed jova54 and that was the 'edited several times' polite version!

Really, though?

posted by workhard [230 posts]
9th November 2010 - 17:53

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badbunny wrote:
Surely a little help to see you is an intelligent move?

If they cannot see a Smart Lunar 1/2 watt plus three other rear lamps, or a pair of AyUps and two other lamps up front then, frankly, they just ain't looking.

Honestly I think a significant number of drivers would prefer it if we just took our toys and went and rode them round in the park.

Really, though?

posted by workhard [230 posts]
9th November 2010 - 17:58

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I don't expect the police to reeducate the public. Just as they don't legislate, they don't communicate.

The government should be coming on strong with the propaganda campaigns. Also not likely methinks.

Anybody got a spare million to put the word on the street?

And I'm still not convinced that helmets and hi-viz wear have been secretly designed to humiliate anyone with the audacity not to drive a car to the corner shop.

Anyway, forcing all cyclists into bright and reflective outfits can only be a good thing for the cycling wear industry. Bring on the safety orange, all weather argyle stretchy pantsuit!

Viro

posted by Viro Indovina [74 posts]
9th November 2010 - 18:03

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Hi-Viz? Take or leave it to be honest. Riding without lights in Bournemouth after dark though is not for the faint hearted. I cycle and drive in and around Bournemouth all year and the number of times I find myself offering constructuve advice to other cyclists (generallly for wearing flip-flops or riding in the dark without lights) is no joke.
There are a significant number of foreign students, learning english down here and we have a thriving bike rental economy supplying them with perfectly servicable bikes. I am not sure if they are supplied without lights, or they have been stolen or teh rider merely decides to not put them on I do not know. I do know that they are a hazard to themselves and to other road users though, cyclist and driver alike. Polite police notification that you should have some working lights on and be more visible accompanied with some freebies are probably more productive than me. My shouting 'get some bloody lights on, you moron!' gets me a 60% to 40% split in responses. 60% shout 'Que' back at me whilst the other 40% are either very quick learners or english speaking natives as their use of 'anglo saxon phrases' is pretty colourful and complete, as well as anatomically impossible in most cases.

posted by Bev [52 posts]
9th November 2010 - 19:14

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Lights (and reflectors on pedals, front and back, plus wheels) are great and acceptable, and encouraging their use with the carrot method is best, and specifically a coupon for (a discount on) generator-powered lights will have the most long-term effect. Blinkies etc. with disposable or even rechargeable batteries get left at home, may be stolen in certain towns, etc.

I would say that in a country where people are covered by a national health system, there could be an argument for giving out free generator-powered lights, and seriously even providing a new front wheel with hub generation. (I have private insurance in Germany and know that even a simple 20-min ambulance ride with no treatment except for a blood pressure test cost almost 300 euro!).

Hampshire Constabulary, Stoke/Bikeability mean well but giving out free hi-viz is totally nonsense ("Biomotion" stuff is really just replacing reflectors on pedals and wheels and isn't it easiest to just have something producing this effect to simply be installed on the bike?) and I would go further and suggest that it can be dangerous in two different ways. See http://greenideafactory.blogspot.com/2010/09/dont-believe-hyper-illumina... for more on this.

Please, be careful about tolerating these promotions. There is now an out-of-town + tunnel reflective vest requirement in Italy and something similar in France. Several bike orgs. in Belgium Italy (FIAB) promote wearing reflective vests, and they mention nothing about proof of efficacy. There certainly might be an increase in subjective safety but without objective safety this simply means taking more risks.

Why do cyclists need to compensate for darkness? Wearing hi-viz (and helmets) is a concession to car aggression. Enforcing existing speed limits is necessary but how about a lower speed limit for vehicles at night time?

posted by Slow Factory [7 posts]
10th November 2010 - 1:32

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On my way home from work last night, by car, I turned onto Wraxall Hill behind a cyclist with no lights. The hill is steep and narrow. Two lanes, but only just. It's part of a busy route to/from the M5 J19.

He was wearing good reflectives over his backpack and had peddle reflectors, etc, but no lights.

I was luck to see him (a gap in the traffic). In the glare from on-coming traffic he was all but invisible. No, he was invisible.

I could easily have missed him - and being a cyclist, consider myself a cycle friendly driver. No amount of input into my driving skills, would have protected him if there had not been a gap in the on-coming traffic.

When I cycle, I wear hi-vis clothing and have both flashing and constant lights front and back.

The best we can do to improve cyclist survival is to protect ourselves and help others understand what we as road user can see.

As to what the police should do with their time: Cyclists are an easy target - relatively slow - don't cause a jam when they're pulled over, but, whilst an easy target, it seems like an easy win too. It's definitely the advice my cyclist friend from last night could do with.

posted by chris_road_cc [5 posts]
10th November 2010 - 12:09

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Those who wish to see cyclists off the road are given fuel when cyclists ride without lights or with poor visiblility clothes. Given that some tw*ts don't even see us when we are visible it doesn't make sense to take risks with visibility. Sadly whatever the police do or don't do there will always be **ickheads who ride without lights and inobservant motorists who wouldn't see them even if they had a Lighthouse attached to their bicycle.

whizz kid

posted by whizzkid [62 posts]
10th November 2010 - 17:18

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I'm all for cyclists being seen and I cant believe how many risk their lives as dark shadows in the night. If old bill wants to give me free goodies that help I'll take them and use them. But when I so nearly got sideswiped at a junction recently in broad daylight with my new led lights flashing brightly I give up. Motorists must switch the daylights off and start using their eyes and until they do we remain at risk and there's nothing we can do.

Alg

posted by alg [119 posts]
11th November 2010 - 15:12

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I get a good feeling when cycling at night with my hi vis vest with retro fit large rear red reflector, red wheel lights, helmet light, standard front and rear bike lights and flashing and reflective leg bracelets. Maybe I am deluded but I do think most cars give me even room when lit up.

posted by billiobob [48 posts]
14th November 2010 - 20:57

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I find the stance of this article very strange - bit like saying don't lock up your bicycle because thieves should be educated not to steal...don't make yourself visible because drivers should be so perfect (and never make mistakes) so that you don't need to...

I was politely stopped and given free hi-viz stuff by the police in Southampton. Not long after that I was cycling home at night through dark Hampshire lanes when a motorist passed me and then stopped and waited for me to explain that although I was displaying a light he couldn't see it until he was right on top of me (he explained he was also a cyclist). I have since uprated my rear light and now wear the hi-viz vest given to me by the police. I would of course be within my rights to wear an all black outfit as long as I was displaying lights but that sort of self righteous behaviour won't be much use when I am knocked off my bike. I'd rather the police carried out these initiatives because there will always be bad drivers just as there will always be bad cyclists who run red lights and don't display lights when they should.

posted by chiefy [1 posts]
31st December 2010 - 16:50

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