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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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700c [1178 posts] 4 years ago
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There's a problem with too many people being killed or injured on the roads. Stopping cyclists who are riding dangerously to advise them accordingly is not a bad idea.

That does not take away from the fact that dangerous driving must be addressed and prosecuted wherever possible.

Instead, everyone has started up the helmet debate again  37

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Mr Will [91 posts] 4 years ago
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Anyone know a location where this is happening? I'm currently under doctors orders not to wear a helmet (seriously!) and quite fancy a chat on the way home.

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KnightBiker [81 posts] 4 years ago
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Here in amsterdam/holland day to day cycling traffic is so slow that helmets would not really help with a crash - above 30kph a helmet is more useful, and from that speed it's racing bike speed.

Keeping your eye on the road, and thinking a few steps ahead is the way to go! cyclist should be aware of the dead points in the mirrors of car drivers, even if they can car drivers often don't look back or sideways. I'm always standing in front of the cars and not next to them on a traffic light.
Also have proper lights on your bicycle, when dark a car can hardly see cyclists. (the Bike-lights is were the focus of police should be, that worked well in amsterdam a few years back forcing a fine or buy a light on the spot.)

Also i don't know how it's in london, but forcing cars to go at slower speeds on small roads is a good thing - most of amsterdam centre is 30kph max zone - with that cars and cyclist move at more similar pace. roads with separate bicycle lanes have higher speeds for cars.

For me as a cyclist the road to work is still the most dangerous route each day - for me with speeds up to 45 in town i should wear a helmet, but for most town-cyclist this is overkill and a killjoy for the benefit of cycling.

I would implore your policy makers to enforce slower speeds for cars in town, tax parking spaces in town higher per hour, that has also the benefit of getting more people out of cars and with larger numbers on the bike, car drivers have adhere to the power oft the cycling masses as the dominant form of transport.
(that said, cyclist could be more social on the road also (looking at myself) but with my behavior on the bike i don't endanger anybody, while a car is a potential murder weapon)

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caaad10 [189 posts] 4 years ago
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darranmoore wrote:

Do motorcyclists feel the same way about the "Iron Union Flag"

..er, yes, they do.

And as you're obviously concerned about your safety, do you wear a helmet when participating in something far more dangerous than cycling, such as driving a car? I doubt it.

No one thinks genuine safety advances are a bad thing, but unless we realise choice is still important, the day will come when you won't be allowed to even get out of bed without wearing a helmet - I don't want that either.

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duc888 [41 posts] 4 years ago
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One can trip on a paving slab and the head will be doing the same speed when it hits the ground as it would falling off a bike.

Why not get everyone to apply for a license to go outside on a bike if they can prove they will be wearing 2 mm thick cowhide leathers with carbon fibre inserts on the elbows and knees and up the back, thick gaunlet style gloves, armoured boots and a full face helmet.

Oh hang on, thats motorcycling.....im getting the two confused.  1

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Ush [1037 posts] 4 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.

Seeing as such your a reasonable chap I'll be stopping you to discuss the rest of your clothes with you then. After all, if you're walking down the street minding your own business I don't see why the police shouldn't stop you to have a chat with you about your diet, your lack of a copper bracelet to prevent arthritis, whether you've had enough homeopathic medicine today and whether or not you're aware of the beneficial health effects of prayer.

This is all because as a member of a cash-strapped force that doesn't have enough time to follow up on all manner of things I have oodles of spare time for standing around stopping you in the street.

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Ush [1037 posts] 4 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.

Why, what did the helmet do for you?

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racyrich [305 posts] 4 years ago
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darranmoore wrote:

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?

Would you object to being stopped by the police for not wearing a stab vest in a known high knife-crime area?

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crazy-legs [951 posts] 4 years ago
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Quote:

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

Every time I'm in London I use a hire bike to get around. Never worn a helmet then. Although I do carry gloves and a hat and a couple of little LEDs - should I wish to hire a bike I don't want cold hands or a cold head and I'd like some additional light so an Exposure Flash/Flare combo is perfect to carry round.

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Ush [1037 posts] 4 years ago
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darranmoore wrote:

I find it bizarre ... I figure ...
I don't need scientific evidence

I think I see the problem.

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felixcat [486 posts] 4 years ago
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700c wrote:

Instead, everyone has started up the helmet debate again  37

It was the police who started it up. Myself, I only talk about helmets when someone tells me I should wear one, or says that they should be compulsory.

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northstar [1107 posts] 4 years ago
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They have no power to do this whatsoever, ignore them and ride on.

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felixcat [486 posts] 4 years ago
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700c wrote:

That does not take away from the fact that dangerous driving must be addressed and prosecuted wherever possible.

 37

Whilst the police are harassing cyclists they cannot be addressing dangerous driving.

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Ush [1037 posts] 4 years ago
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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!!!

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.

I salute you and your brother for your courage in wearing pedestrian helmets. If he hadn't been wearing that helmet as he walked across the road he COULD HAVE BEEN DEAD.

//www.thudguard.com/media/crawl_walk_play.jpg)

I too have had the same experience, except for me it was with my 2 year old child who fell and banged her head on the floor. Luckily my child was wearing a Thudguard helmet and a child's spine protector. I am sure that you, like me, are a careful and prudent person whose common sense has led them to equip all their family with helmets. Personally I cry whenever I go over to a young family's house and I see their children running around without helmets on.

It's just common sense. Why won't people wear them? Is it some sort of anti-establishment thing?

Or maybe they're not f****Ing mental like me?

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GrahamSt [167 posts] 4 years ago
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Quote:

Bring it on I say, mandatory use of cycling helmets "could" save the lives..

They "could".

They "could" also make it more likely that those people are hit by cars (who pass cyclists closer if they wear helmets) and more importantly, mandatory helmets "could" over-emphasise the relative danger of cycling, putting people off trying it, leading to an increase in the deaths from heart disease and obesity when cycling "could" save their lives.

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Username [229 posts] 4 years ago
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darranmoore wrote:

Would you let your child ride without one?

I do.

Pedestrians have more head injuries per mile travelled than cyclists http://cyclehelmets.org/1100.html

Pedestrians are killed at 41 per billion kms travelled, whereas for cyclists it's fewer at 35 per billion kms travelled.

I presume you let your child walk on the pavement without a helmet? For the same reasons I let my child cycle without one.

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nowasps [519 posts] 4 years ago
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I would never wear a helmet.

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zanf [969 posts] 4 years ago
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darranmoore wrote:

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.

So you dont need scientific evidence to convince you that a helmet is not designed to protect your head against impacts over 12mph, nor against rotational or oblique impacts, or do you mean that you wear one as you're convinced through superstition of its supernatural powers to save lives under all conditions?

darranmoore wrote:

Would you let your child ride without one?

Exactly! How dare those dirty low down Dutch allow their children to cycle to school sans helmet!

Wont somebody think of the children!

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spatuluk [27 posts] 4 years ago
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If they stop someone who isn't wearing a helmet, does it automatically count as wasting police time?

I don't pay my taxes to have the Police handing out pamphlets - they should be out catching criminals!

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jarredscycling [455 posts] 4 years ago
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This could finally prove Darwin right when somehow people who wear pedestrian helmets fail to reproduce even though they are supposedly more likely to survive a vehicle strike

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antonio [1168 posts] 4 years ago
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Putting a helmet in between a Cyclists plus Heavy Vehicles campaign is a bit of a nonsense.

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Carl [142 posts] 4 years ago
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So they stop 20 trucks and uncover 60 offences, or an average of three offences per truck, and now you know why trucks are the main killer of cyclists, because clearly these guys do not give a **** about the law or road safety.

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Joeinpoole [445 posts] 4 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.

To be honest you probably shouldn't be let out of the house without supervision let alone be allowed to ride a bike.

Ridden properly, bikes do not just 'slip from under me'.

Wearing a helmet will not help you much if you do not know how to ride at an appropriate speed according to the prevailing conditions.

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sponican [97 posts] 4 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.

I was out the other week and came down after hitting an unseen pothole. I hit my unhelmeted head on the road and I was just fine - and after a bit of fettling to fix my bike was able to ride the 50-odd miles home.

I fell quite hard and had I been wearing a helmet I'm pretty sure I'd have smashed it up. Were I so inclined I might even be telling people right now it had saved my life. But I'd have been talking out of my arse.

I don't have to replace a helmet and my wife is still stuck with me.

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stefv [216 posts] 4 years ago
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This is a PR stunt with the police following Boris's lead, suggesting there wouldn't be deaths on the roads in London, if only cyclists wore helmets. It's complete bollocks and a waste of time and they know it.  14

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giff77 [1288 posts] 4 years ago
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utm_swest. How the hell did you manage to land head first if your bike slid from under you? Normally your arms break your fall unless you hit the kerb or a pothole and perform a face plant. Learn to fall mate.

Darrenmoore - am genuinely glad your brother is ok. Can I ask though. What other injuries did he have. Normally when hit hard enough to throw somebody onto the bonnet. Their legs and torso take the initial impact and forces. The head injury is secondary and involves less forces. In fact more people probably die from internal injuries and crush injuries caused motorised vehicles hitting them.

Well done the Met on what they've achieved in his crackdown. But in regards to their poorly thought out approach regards head gear and out wear a big massive FAIL.

Their time would be better spent picking up on ASL and cycle lane encroacher's as well as the thugs who indulge in punishment passes.

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The Hoggs [3496 posts] 4 years ago
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Ha, well done the Met, nowt like stirring up a hornets nest lol.

It's just what we needed, another helmet debate.  24

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bassjunkieuk [49 posts] 4 years ago
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I hope while they were busy telling riders not to ride with headphones on they stopped every car with it's windows rolled up and asked the driver to roll them down and don't even THINK about turning on that car radio.....at least that way they might hear the cyclists screaming at them as they cut us up!

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crazy-legs [951 posts] 4 years ago
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See, it's worked hasn't it?!

Everyone here is all in a tizzy about helmets, there's the usual anecdotal bollocks of "my helmet saved my life", there are calls to make helmets compulsory...

Meanwhile, out on the streets, the police are stopping cyclists who are riding entirely legally and "advising" them that they should consider helmets.

While they're busy doing that, another cyclist was killed today in Camberwell by... yep, you guessed it a left-turning lorry. If anyone can show me how 300g of polystyrene on my head can protect against an eight-wheeler weighing 10 tons going over my legs then go for it.

Put all your efforts into emailing the Met, TfL, Boris, the PM and telling them where the REAL issues lie - shit infrastructure and poor driving standards.

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alronald [58 posts] 4 years ago
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Wouldn't they be better served stopping those who are actually clearly breaking the law rather than those who aren't?

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