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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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Tony [132 posts] 4 years ago
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The Ontario study is the most interesting. A mandatory child helmet law doubled child helmet wearing and the child head injury rate fell. But the police didn't bother enforcing it so over the next three years helmet wearing fell back to the pre-law levels. And the child head injury rate continued to fall. In fact a doubling (to almost 100%) of the helmet wearing rate and then a subsequent halving of it made no discernible difference to the long term trend in child head injuries.

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FluffyKittenofT... [1976 posts] 4 years ago
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allez neg wrote:

How many of the people plod stopped identify as cyclists as opposed to people merely using a bike to get around. I don't see the harm in what plod are doing, especially as the article also says they are stopping those they see committing offences and also HGV drivers too.

As an aside, I wonder what accident rates are like in Cambridge in comparison? Lots of bikes and cars, all nationalities, narrow roads etc.

To be honest, I'd say 'using a bike to get around' makes you a cyclist. Much more so than using a bike as a kind of sport does. To my mind a 'cyclist' is someone who uses a bike as their primarly means of transport, rather than as a sport, hobby, or weekend leisure activity.

But that's pure nit-picking.

But your point shows the problem - you refer to stopping those COMMITTING OFFENCES. Cycling sans helmet is not an offence. Its akin to 'driving a motorised vehicle', in terms of choosing to create a possible risk of adverse health outcomes. So why are the cops not stopping all those who choose to drive a motorised vehicle and asking them to reconsider their choice to do so?

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Colin Peyresourde [1830 posts] 4 years ago
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Quote:

To be honest, I'd say 'using a bike to get around' makes you a cyclist. Much more so than using a bike as a kind of sport does. To my mind a 'cyclist' is someone who uses a bike as their primarly means of transport, rather than as a sport, hobby, or weekend leisure activity.

That's quite an odd definition and probably the opposite of how I would define a cyclist. A cyclist is someone that appreciates the beauty in cycling, and knows it for the joy of descending 14km down a mountain, the thrill of putting 2 wheels through its paces on a dirt track and has learned the craft of riding in a group.

A cyclist is not some that spent £300 on hybrid to get from A to B. That is the least romantic and enjoyable way to use a bike, and the most perfunctory. Even just using the bike to go to a coffee shop or supermarket is a more romantic and enjoyable. You've made much more of an effort to use your bike in a fashion which isn't workman like.

The problem that 'commuters' (and by that I mean people who only use there bike for perfunctory matters) is that they don't see their bike as much more than a means when actually is it so much more. Also, you lose out on the social aspect, learning from other riders and enjoying the experience in a social way. Have a chat on the club run is far better than the abuse you'll get riding in commuter traffic.

Most people who 'use it as weekend leisure hobby' would love to use their bike all day everyday. Weekends are just the times when you get to express that by getting up early when there's less traffic to bother you and cycling becomes less fraught.

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allez neg [496 posts] 4 years ago
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Every working day I see hundreds of people on the London underground, on autopilot, headphones in, iPhone taking their full attention and apparently unaware that standing on the edge of a platform with a 3 foot drop onto 650v rails and big trains coming through is dangerous.

The hazards should be obvious but the everyday routine if it seems to blunt their awareness.

Equating this to cycle commuters is it unimaginable that a percentage of them are equally on a form of autopilot? Does anyone teach you to ride in traffic? Could it not be that a few moments speaking to plod may be beneficial? It should be perfectly funking obvious that riding with headphones is a bad idea but clearly to many people it isn't.

What I'm trying and failing to say is that first of all, common sense isn't all that common, and also that there are possibly many people who use bikes but apply little thought to it. Much the same as the differences between the petrol head speeders, the super straight IAM types and the distracted school run mum type drivers, could there not be the same diversity in cycle users?

Besides, I doubt that plod are as persistent as your average high street chugger if you aren't interested and if you've not committed an offence then I'm sure they'd hardly run after you if you didn't want to stop.

Had plod done nothing then they'd be criticised for that too.

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Colin Peyresourde [1830 posts] 4 years ago
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allez neg wrote:

Every working day I see hundreds of people on the London underground, on autopilot, headphones in, iPhone taking their full attention and apparently unaware that standing on the edge of a platform with a 3 foot drop onto 650v rails and big trains coming through is dangerous.

The hazards should be obvious but the everyday routine if it seems to blunt their awareness.

Equating this to cycle commuters is it unimaginable that a percentage of them are equally on a form of autopilot? Does anyone teach you to ride in traffic? Could it not be that a few moments speaking to plod may be beneficial? It should be perfectly funking obvious that riding with headphones is a bad idea but clearly to many people it isn't.

What I'm trying and failing to say is that first of all, common sense isn't all that common, and also that there are possibly many people who use bikes but apply little thought to it. Much the same as the differences between the petrol head speeders, the super straight IAM types and the distracted school run mum type drivers, could there not be the same diversity in cycle users?

Besides, I doubt that plod are as persistent as your average high street chugger if you aren't interested and if you've not committed an offence then I'm sure they'd hardly run after you if you didn't want to stop.

Had plod done nothing then they'd be criticised for that too.

There is a lot of truth to what you say. We all need a Tyler Duerden character to smack us in the head with a bicycle pump to make us wake up to the reality and demands of cycling.

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Colin Peyresourde [1830 posts] 4 years ago
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Tony wrote:

Can anyone tell me where to get one of these cycling helmets that the police are promoting that can ward off a 30 ton truck if it runs over me?  39

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kie7077 [936 posts] 4 years ago
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So far in London this year -

Cyclist deaths: 14
Deaths caused by the pollution: 3,550

I think we're all looking at the wrong thing.

I want a mask that still works when I cycle hard, they tend to fit bad and get soggy from breath moisture.

Everyone seems to think you should be wearing a helmet, but you are 273 times more likely to contract a lung disease and die.

Do we have regular big protracted arguments here on road.cc about how bad London's pollution is?

How many times have Met Police stopped vehicles in London because they were belching clouds of black smoke. Buses and cabs are particularly guilty of doing this. Cabs account for 30% of inner London's pollution.

How many traffic wardens does London have?
How many vehicle pollution checkers does London have?

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700c [1191 posts] 4 years ago
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well, just to re-visit this thread - look what they're doing now.. (massive operation to catch careless drivers)

I strongly believe that education and enforcement needs to apply to all road users in order to promote road safety.

Need to look at the bigger picture here, rather than getting hung up on one small aspect of the debate (poor cyclists being picked on by nasty policeman who has the cheek to suggest I should be wearing a helmet, how dare he?!)..

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harman_mogul [303 posts] 4 years ago
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Agree with kie7077. Plod has to be seen to be fair in a 'crack-down' such as this. Handing down advice on helmet-wearing may be exasperating to bike riders, esp if you are late for work. But surely we can live with it if it puts a weed up the ass of all those piece-work contractors hurtling around town in dodgy trucks?

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zanf [970 posts] 4 years ago
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harman_mogul wrote:

Agree with kie7077. Plod has to be seen to be fair in a 'crack-down' such as this. Handing down advice on helmet-wearing may be exasperating to bike riders, esp if you are late for work. But surely we can live with it if it puts a weed up the ass of all those piece-work contractors hurtling around town in dodgy trucks?

Would you be happy if, at the same time, they also gave out advice to women about dressing appropriately to avoid sexual assault?

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Matt eaton [741 posts] 4 years ago
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I've no problem with the police stopping me and providing me with some sound advice about staying safe but in this case some of the advice they are giving is not necesarily sound.

The advice about headphones is good, advice about being visible (not necesarily high-vis) is also good, as has been discussed on here many times, helmet wearing is a double-edged sword which reduces risk in certain circumstances and increases it in others.

To be fair, its not the police at fault here but the highway code. The advice they are giving is based on the highway code and they don't have anything else to go on.

It does worry me that this enforces the creaping compulsion that we are seeing. If this sort of thing becomes a regular occurance riders will recognise that wearing a helmet = not getting stopped. Although this doesn't ammount to compulsion it could modify cyclist behaviour to some extent.

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Matt eaton [741 posts] 4 years ago
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I've no problem with the police stopping me and providing me with some sound advice about staying safe but in this case some of the advice they are giving is not necesarily sound.

The advice about headphones is good, advice about being visible (not necesarily high-vis) is also good, as has been discussed on here many times, helmet wearing is a double-edged sword which reduces risk in certain circumstances and increases it in others.

To be fair, its not the police at fault here but the highway code. The advice they are giving is based on the highway code and they don't have anything else to go on.

It does worry me that this enforces the creaping compulsion that we are seeing. If this sort of thing becomes a regular occurance riders will recognise that wearing a helmet = not getting stopped. Although this doesn't ammount to compulsion it could modify cyclist behaviour to some extent.

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didds [43 posts] 4 years ago
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