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HGV drivers also being stopped in Road Safety Week project

Met Police stopping unhelmetted cyclists to provide “advice and education”

As part of Road Safety Week, the Metropolitan Police is stopping cyclists and lorry drivers in three locations in central, east and south London to offer “education and advice” to cyclists who are seen riding dangerously. Conrtoversially, the police are also stopping cyctlists who are not wearing helmets.

A spokesman for Scotland Yard told road.cc that cyclists were being stopped “where there are concerns about their behaviour - for instance cutting corners, performing other dangerous manoeuvres or wearing headphones while riding.”

He also acknowledged that officers were stopping riders who were not wearing helmets. While there is no legal requirement to wear a helmet while riding a bicycle in the UK, the spokesman said: “If you want to be safe it’s a very good idea to put one on.” That’s an opinion that some in the cycling community might perhaps take issue with.

London Assembly member Jenny Jones told road.cc she had contacted the Met and a superintendent had agreed that helmets and high vis are not required by law.

Baroness Jones said: "The Met’s ‘advice’ on cyclists wearing a helmet and high vis is not based on any scientific research. As an informed cyclist I ride my bike without either. Their efforts would be better focussed on enforcing the laws we have, for example on not driving vehicles while using a mobile, not driving a vehicle into ASLs when the lights are red, which would make our roads much safer. 

"Clearing our roads of illegal and dangerous drivers has to be the priority, not hassling cyclists who are obeying the law."

Scotland Yard said that the intention was not enforcement and when asked if, for example, a cyclist riding through a red light would be issued a fixed penalty notice, said that no fixed penalty notices had been issued to cyclists. “It’s about advice and education rather than cracking down,” said the spokesman.

A total of 45 officers are involved in the operation, and police are also stopping lorry drivers. Their vehicles have been checked for any issues and in one instance a lorry was found to have a dangerously over-inflated tyre that left it unfit to continue its journey.

According to LBC, police at one location have stopped 20 HGVs and found a total of 60 offences, including vehicles in dangerous condition and drivers who had been working too long. 

Chief-Superintendent Glyn Jones, who is in charge of the operation, told LBC: "If you're going to cycle in London, wear a helmet, wear high-vis, make sure your bike has the right lights, don't wear headphones and obey the rules of the road.

"That way you will be a lot safer."

In a ten-day period to last Thursday, five cyclists were killed in collisions with large vehicles on London's roads. It is not known how many of them were wearing helmets or whether their riding was a factor in the crashes.

Our official grumpy Northerner, John has been riding bikes for over 30 years since discovering as an uncoordinated teen that a sport could be fun if it didn't require you to catch a ball or get in the way of a hulking prop forward.

Road touring was followed by mountain biking and a career racing in the mud that was as brief as it was unsuccessful.

Somewhere along the line came the discovery that he could string a few words together, followed by the even more remarkable discovery that people were mug enough to pay for this rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work. He's pretty certain he's worked for even more bike publications than Mat Brett.

The inevitable 30-something MAMIL transition saw him shift to skinny tyres and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

133 comments

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Cranky Acid [40 posts] 2 years ago
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Stopped for not wearing a helmet?

FFS show me the evidence a single one of the recent fatalities in London would have been saved by a helmet.

Get a grip.

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Simon.R [21 posts] 2 years ago
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"vehicles have been checked for any issues and in one instance a lorry was found to have a dangerously over-inflated tyre that left it unfit to continue its journey" - I'm no mechanic, but how hard could this have been to rectify?

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Goldfever4 [221 posts] 2 years ago
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I'm assuming that bike riders that are cycling safely and within the law / highway code aren't the ones being stopped for not wearing a helmet... Not likely to get a polite response from me if I'm trying to explain why I've legitimately chosen not to do something, if Plod then misses someone running a red!

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Neil753 [447 posts] 2 years ago
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If Chief-Superintendent Glyn Jones believes that, "if you want to be safe it’s a very good idea to put one on”, then he should look at the statistics for head injuries amongst motorists, and perhaps be stopping drivers for not wearing helmets too.

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mlimburn [28 posts] 2 years ago
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I am a firm believer in wearing a helmet, but it is down to choice, it is not a legal requirement. Until it is I don't think that it is down to the police to stop riders and tell them. That would really, make me sense they are targeting me because I ride a bike. Over inflated tyre, oh please let the air out gently  24

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Some Fella [890 posts] 2 years ago
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I have a well rehearsed dialogue in my head, ready for the day a gormless police officer offers me 'advice' on my choice of headwear whilst riding my bicycle.
At the moment its a bit rough round the edges and needs to be a little more polite than the current version, which is essentially some advice they go away and attempt a physically impossible manoeuvre with a sensitive part of their anatomy.

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bambergbike [89 posts] 2 years ago
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This seems a bit daft.

Why are the police stressing hi-viz and personal protective equipment as if they conferred some sort of magical protection against lorries? Cyclists could avoid injury in many incidents in which they are not at fault by adopting better road positioning - well clear of the door zone, far enough out from the gutter to register properly on the radar of following motorists and avoid nasty debris etc.

At the moment my helmet is in Ireland and I'm in Germany - I failed to stuff it into my suitcase when I was coming over and am only starting to miss it and considering replacing it now that temperatures are starting to dip below zero. Polystyrene has insulating properties, the straps would stop the peaked cap I wear underneath from being blown away (the peak keeps snow off my glasses) and a helmet might offer some useful protection if I slid out on a patch of ice and whacked my head off a kerb.

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farrell [1950 posts] 2 years ago
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Tomorrow they are going to be out with rulers to measure the lengths of young ladies skirts whilst fining homeowners for being burgled and lecturing stab victims for not wearing kevlar vests.

On a moderately more serious note, can anyone confirm if these pulls are being done by real coppers or PCSOs?

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noizebox [22 posts] 2 years ago
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police at one location have stopped 20 HGVs and found a total of 60 offences

Is it naive of me to find this truly shocking?

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farrell [1950 posts] 2 years ago
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mlimburn wrote:

Over inflated tyre, oh please let the air out gently

It could be bulging due to over-inflation, just letting air out wouldn't necessarily rectify the situation.

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Wolfshade [187 posts] 2 years ago
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The worrying part is that there is evidence to suggest that wearing a helmet makes you less safe. While the addition of a helmet may prevent road rash and dampen the blow, most are only rated to 12 mph, which most collisions you would be going quicker, but also while you have mitigated a small risk, the driver perception is that a helmeted cyclist is more professional and so they undertake more risky behaviour as the helmeted cyclist is perceived as more experianced and therefore less likely to make eratic moves.

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Smoles [5 posts] 2 years ago
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Damned if they do, damned if they don't.
The way I see it, they are at least making an attempt to engage and discuss. No-one is being forced or legislated to wear high viz or helmets. If the comments above are representative of the cyclist attitude then I think you could all do with some education in how to converse in a polite and respectful manner.

Here's how I'd go about a typical encounter with a police officer
PC - "Sir, can I advise you on your cycling outerwear and headwear?"
Me - "Good morning officer..of course, please go ahead"
PC - "Helmets are great, high-viz is cool etc etc"
Me - "Thank you officer, I agree/disagree with your suggestions but either way I'll bear it in mind for future reference..have a good day"

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aslongasicycle [383 posts] 2 years ago
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Kick us while we're down, Met. Thanks.

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gazza_d [461 posts] 2 years ago
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Err. Are they also telling motorists to wear helmets?

Or advising drivers of cars with no airbags to part-ex for one with bags?

No thought not. they can sod off.

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Simmo72 [604 posts] 2 years ago
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Political exercise, what a load of crap. You would be better off having these policeman in plain clothes catching any dickhead using his mobile phone whilst driving or looking out for aggressive behaviour (both drivers and cyclists).

A helmet would hardly have helped the victims of the recent fatalities,

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Bikebikebike [231 posts] 2 years ago
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Replace the last one with:

"Thank you officer, don't you think your time might be spent more productively checking motorists and their vehicles, as they are the ones who are actually killing people, and of whom a large proportion will be driving without a licence or insurance, or in a vehicle that is not fit to be on the roads."

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Some Fella [890 posts] 2 years ago
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Imagine if the police in Copenhagen or Amsterdam or Malmo stopped cyclists and told them to wear hi viz and helmets?
Im sure they would be met with a combination of bafflement, incredulity and open hostility.

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darranmoore [35 posts] 2 years ago
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I find it bizarre the outpouring of emotion against wearing of helmets, I would not ride without one as I figure smashing my unprotected skull off tarmac, concrete, car windscreens etal would be better served with one at any speed.

I don't need scientific evidence to convince me of that... Is this more an anti-establishment argument than safety debate?

Would you let your child ride without one?

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caaad10 [184 posts] 2 years ago
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When I was young we had something called "The Iron Curtain", now it appears we have "The Iron Union Flag"

Where is the freedom of choice everyone loves to say our forefathers fought for ?

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Goldfever4 [221 posts] 2 years ago
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Smoles wrote:

Damned if they do, damned if they don't.
The way I see it, they are at least making an attempt to engage and discuss. No-one is being forced or legislated to wear high viz or helmets. If the comments above are representative of the cyclist attitude then I think you could all do with some education in how to converse in a polite and respectful manner.

Here's how I'd go about a typical encounter with a police officer
PC - "Sir, can I advise you on your cycling outerwear and headwear?"
Me - "Good morning officer..of course, please go ahead"
PC - "Helmets are great, high-viz is cool etc etc"
Me - "Thank you officer, I agree/disagree with your suggestions but either way I'll bear it in mind for future reference..have a good day"

Do you ride a penny farthing or something? Get down off your high horse!!!

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darranmoore [35 posts] 2 years ago
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Do motorcyclists feel the same way about the "Iron Union Flag" or motorists over seatbelts...? I am too young to remember the mandatory introduction of these safety regulations but not for one minute would I consider giving up either even if I had the choice?

My brother went across a car bonnet as the discerning motorists ran a red light, his helmet was mashed, his head was not!!!

Bring it on I say, mandatory use of cycling helmets "could" save the lives of those to cool to, to stubborn or stupid enough to not see the benefit of wearing one? I despair every time I see a young cyclists without a helmet.

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Kim [228 posts] 2 years ago
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The Met have followed Alice through the looking glass...

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arfa [748 posts] 2 years ago
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Good god, this is exactly why helmets can never become compulsory under UK legislation as it would just give plod another pointless target to pursue whilst avoiding the obvious.

Full disclosure - I choose to wear a helmet for some reason or another

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Some Fella [890 posts] 2 years ago
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News coming through another cyclist killed by a lorry in London.
Remind me - what is the *real* problem here?

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utm_swest [4 posts] 2 years ago
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Seriously? Do people really cycle around London not wearing a helmet?

My bike slipped from under me at the weekend whilst taking a slippery country lane and I went down smashing head first into the tarmac. I'm only replacing my helmet as opposed to my wife replacing her husband. I'm glad I chose to wear one.

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tourdelound [158 posts] 2 years ago
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Motor vehicles, a disproportionately high percentage of them large motor vehicles, ie, lorries and buses, are the real problem here, not cyclists failing to wear hi viz and helmets, neither of which are a legal requirement.

I've said it before, I'll say it again, if the driver is not paying attention, they will not see you whether you are wearing hi viz or not, and a piece of polystyrene on your head is not going to save you.

The Met need to get a grip and sort the real problem, not harass the victim.  102

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mrmo [2077 posts] 2 years ago
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Smoles wrote:

Damned if they do, damned if they don't.
The way I see it, they are at least making an attempt to engage and discuss. No-one is being forced or legislated to wear high viz or helmets. If the comments above are representative of the cyclist attitude then I think you could all do with some education in how to converse in a polite and respectful manner.

Here's how I'd go about a typical encounter with a police officer
PC - "Sir, can I advise you on your cycling outerwear and headwear?"
Me - "Good morning officer..of course, please go ahead"
PC - "Helmets are great, high-viz is cool etc etc"
Me - "Thank you officer, I agree/disagree with your suggestions but either way I'll bear it in mind for future reference..have a good day"

Or alternatively as this conversation is going on, three drivers pass, tailgating, another drinking a cup of coffee, someone else is on the phone. another berating the kids in the back seat whilst on the way to school.

deal with the biggest problem first, if the cyclists have no lights and should, pull them, talk to them and give them the option, fine or lights. If they are doing nothing wrong then don't bother. Use the limited time and resources for those things that matter.

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farrell [1950 posts] 2 years ago
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darranmoore wrote:

I find it bizarre the outpouring of emotion against wearing of helmets

Really? Because you do go on to spout a load of emotive bollocks, such as the following:

darranmoore wrote:

Would you let your child ride without one?

darranmoore wrote:

My brother went across a car bonnet as the discerning motorists ran a red light, his helmet was mashed, his head was not!!!

You also go on to say that "mandatory use of cycling helmets "could" save the lives of those to cool to, to stubborn or stupid enough to not see the benefit of wearing one?", which, first of all, suggests that you yourself aren't actually convinced that they definitely will save lives but also you deem yourself above someone who chooses to not wear a helmet. Not only do you want to turn people in to criminals because of your beliefs which have no real grounding but you also choose to denigrate the choices of others by suggesting they are stubborn or stupid. What a bad tit you are.

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mrmo [2077 posts] 2 years ago
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utm_swest wrote:

Seriously? Do people really cycle around London not wearing a helmet?

My bike slipped from under me at the weekend whilst taking a slippery country lane and I went down smashing head first into the tarmac. I'm only replacing my helmet as opposed to my wife replacing her husband. I'm glad I chose to wear one.

And this is the only scenario a helmet will help in, if you are hit by a car it will make precious little difference.

And can we stop with the pointless helmet saved my life anecdotes, you don't know if it helped, you don't know if it didn't.

Humans have been falling out of trees for millions of years, as we are still here it is pretty safe to say the skull is tougher than some give it credit for being.

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farrell [1950 posts] 2 years ago
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For those advocating choice making you a criminal, what is the minimum standard of helmet you will be hoping to be made law?

Surely you all have a minimum set standard in mind? And what happens if you buy a helmet from a European manufacturer that isn't certified to the British standard required? Will you be handing yourselves in as criminals too?

Or are you happy that as long something is on your head you are magically protected? If so, can I just wear one of my casquettes?

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