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More than 1,000 fined in latest phase of Met's Operation Safeway

Officers out in force targeting law-breaking road users again in London last week

More than 1,000 fixed penalty notices were issued to road users in London for a variety of offences last week as the Metropolitan Police continued its Operation Safeway road safety campaign.

The latest phase of the initiative also saw 56 vehicles seized because they were either not insured or the driver did not have a valid licence, while 25 people were arrested on suspicion of having committed a variety of offences, some unrelated to motoring.

Operation Safeway was launched in November last year following the deaths of six cyclists on the capital’s streets in the space of a fortnight.

Officers belonging to the force’s Roads and Transport Policing Command took part in the initiative last week from 15-19 December and were deployed at major road junctions throughout the capital at peak hours.

Superintendent Robert Revill from the Metropolitan Police's Safer Transport Command said: “The aim of Operation Safeway is to reduce the number of people who die or are injured on London's roads each year.

“Every road death is a needless tragedy that is devastating for the victim’s friends and family. Every serious injury is life-changing and distressing.

“These targeted operations began last year and have been hugely effective at raising awareness of road safety among motorists and cyclists, providing a balanced operation which reminds everyone of their duty to take care of each other while out on the roads.”

Officers have also continued to run Exchanging Places which enable vulnerable road users, and especially cyclists, to get the view from the driver’s seat in a lorry to help understand what the driver can and cannot see.

Police say that according to feedback from 14,000 people who have participated in the scheme, 97 per cent said they would 97 per cent change their riding after taking part in it, and 99 per cent said they would recommend it to others.

Operation Safeway was launched in November last year following the deaths of six cyclists on the capital’s streets in the space of a fortnight.

Described as by London’s cycling commissioner Andrew Gilligan as “a short term measure” when it was first unveiled, it was intended to target both motorists and cyclists who flouted the rules of the road.

However, it came under criticism after it emerged that riders were being stopped for issues such as not wearing a cycle helmet or high-visibility clothing, neither of which is a legal requirement.

The initial six weeks of the operation saw nearly 14,000 road users fined or summonsed, one in three of them cyclists.

However, the London Cycling Campaign (LCC) pointed out in May that less than 0.01 per cent of those fixed penalty notices or summonses related to the three types of careless driving most likely to injure cyclists – turning across their path, overtaking them too closely, or opening a vehicle’s door into their path.

Just 87 drivers were censured for those offences, and LCC’s chief executive, Ashok Sinha, said at the time: “We can all be careless if we don’t make an effort not to be, but when we’re driving such carelessness can kill – that’s why it’s a crime, and the law should be enforced.

“We welcome more traffic police on our streets, but they must use their powers to tackle carelessness, which is the biggest single factor in the deaths and injuries of thousands of cyclists in London every year,” he added.

No breakdown of the offences for which fines were issued in the latest phase of the operation have been released, nor have police issued a split between the numbers of cyclists and other road users who have been fined.

Last month figures obtained by the London Evening Standard revealed that cyclists in London had been fined a total of more than £1 million for a variety of offences since the start of 2013.

Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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28 comments

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dottigirl | 8 years ago
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Watched a car with only one out of four working lights drive past a police car by Brent Cross, twice, on Monday night.
More than one in ten vehicles on the road have defective lights.
And many know about it - I've tapped on enough windows to tell them, but they don't care.

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FluffyKittenofT... | 8 years ago
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“The aim of Operation Safeway is to reduce the number of people who die or are injured on London's roads each year."

Number of cyclists killed on London's roads

2010 10
2011 16
2012 14
2013 14
2014 (post-operation Safeway) 13 (with a week to go - God forbid it rises any further)

Just doesn't look like a huge success to me.

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hampstead_bandit | 8 years ago
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@Roger Geffen

Thank you and your organisation for the work you continue to do.

The question I have?

How do we generate a critical mass to embarrass or coerce politicians into actually doing something, and not just talking about, their plans for supporting cycling in London?

How do we gain the popular support that the Netherlands gathered in the 1970's with their "Stop de Kindermoord" campaigns which led to radical infrastructure and social changes?

What is really comes down to, in my limited experience and understanding, is turning our cities back into living spaces for pedestrians, wheel chair users and cyclists, after decades of dominance by the motor vehicle/.

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mrmo replied to hampstead_bandit | 8 years ago
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hampstead_bandit wrote:

How do we gain the popular support that the Netherlands gathered in the 1970's with their "Stop de Kindermoord" campaigns which led to radical infrastructure and social changes?

Harsh, but lots of people have to die that people know, think celebrity road cull, and this is going to sound incredibly harsh, but you need to kill lots of young blonde pretty girls. (read the papers and look at which stories stay alive it may sound odd but I believe an academic exercise was done on the "popular" victim stories! stories featuring young blonde girls are more paper selling than those featuring other groups! )

Quote:

What is really comes down to, in my limited experience and understanding, is turning our cities back into living spaces for pedestrians, wheel chair users and cyclists, after decades of dominance by the motor vehicle/.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-gloucestershire-30590456

God knows! everyone is so cowed by cars that even when given the chance they, sensibly, choose not to try and assert priority knowing the car driver won't cede.

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Roger Geffen | 8 years ago
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The Cyclists' Defence Fund (CDF) is still appealing for funds to support cyclist Kristian Gregory's defence against the ridiculous Fixed Penalty Notice he received for pulling out from a narrow and poorly-signed pavement cycle track as he approached a road crossing point. And yes, this was part of the Met's 'Operation Safeway', aimed at saving cyclists from being run down by lorries.

Meanwhile CDF is also supporting a challenge by the bereaved family of Michael Mason, a 70-year old cyclist killed when hit from behind by a car on Regent Street, London, last March. In stark contrast to Kristian's case, the police have taken no action against the driver. They didn't even refer the case file to the Crown Prosecution Service, contrary to CPS guidelines.

Please donate to the Cyclists' Defence Fund - https://www.justgiving.com/CyclistsDefenceFund/donate/ - to support these two appeals and the wider cause of securing justice for cycling.

Roger Geffen
Campaigns & Policy Director, CTC and
Trustee of the Cyclists' Defence Fund

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tom3668 | 8 years ago
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Saw them arrest someone in Stockwell. Took a few photos and then a video. They called a van for backup.

Gif: https://plus.google.com/116907127551091446906/posts/fQctXQW5vhR

They were hassling only cyclists in the short time I watched.

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hampstead_bandit | 8 years ago
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@Eebijeebi

I used to work for the Police. I understand their issues, to some degree, although I have been out of touch for a while.

They are told what to do by their senior commanders briefed on the latest mandate raised by the Home Office and Politicians.

Adding more Special Constables and PCSO makes no difference as extra numbers are not automatically re-directed to traffic duties, but Policing public disorder (i.e. Black Friday shopping events), anti-terrorism and helping the football intelligence unit Police large matches.

When I did work for the Police (I finished working for them, just before the London bombings), there was a big shift to move the bulk of the traffic police to anti-terrorism duties.

The sad reality in the UK is that road traffic collisions kill and seriously injure many times more people, than terrorism incidents, when you look at historical data. According to ROSPA:

"Reported Road Casualties in Great Britain, 2012
Killed 1,754
Seriously Injured 23,039
Slightly Injured 170,930
All 195,723"

When you look at that data, its an insane number of people.

But the hot political topic is fighting terrorism, whereas road traffic collisions are just seen as "collateral damage" i.e. a necessary part of citizens using motor vehicles, rather than a fundamental failure of our infrastructure design, our policing priorities and our social attitudes towards the motor vehicle.

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severs1966 replied to hampstead_bandit | 8 years ago
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hampstead_bandit wrote:

"Reported Road Casualties in Great Britain, 2012
Killed 1,754
Seriously Injured 23,039
Slightly Injured 170,930
All 195,723"

When you look at that data, its an insane number of people.

Don't forget that (aside from those killed) it's a LOT more than this, because cops routinely refuse to record anything when bike riders are the victim of any incident that doesn't involve a claim against someone's insurance.

And that means hit and runs or any such situation where the offender gets away before they are identified.

And if you get harassed, intimidated or struck-but-not-injured, it generally doesn't go into anyone's statistics and is not factored into future road designs. Councils (etc) continue to design infrastructure to please car drivers, as if they are the entirety of the electorate, never mind the whole population.

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Eebijeebi | 8 years ago
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You could have it all sorted with coppers all over the place day and night - if prepared to pay enough taxes - or all the moaners join the specials and do something about it.

It's so much easier spouting, 'You're doing it wrong', than being the one having to do it.

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hampstead_bandit | 8 years ago
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Anyone that regularly rides/commutes in London knows you witness dozens of motoring offences every day.

And rarely see any traffic police enforcing the law. Apart from these occasional 'crackdowns' (public relations campaigns). Perhaps the police are more concerned with the hype around terrorism as ISIS in London are such a big threat  3

The motoring public have cottoned onto this, and blatantly take the piss with RLJ, red light gambling, driving into bicycle box (asl), driving using handheld cell phone, tablet,etc. Driving aggressively, driving dangerously, trying to intimidate pedestrians from using pelican crossings, trying to intimidate cyclists on the roads with punishment passes and left hooks...

Would be interesting for a website like road.cc and
Organisations like LCC to put these issues directly to the metropolitan police commissioner to see his response? Where is the lack of action coming from? No political will? Lack of funding? No visibility of the problem on the streets?

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fluffy_mike | 8 years ago
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Police fail to tackle careless driving again...

Why aren't they out on their bikes in the city centre in plain clothes?

Then they'd see a thing or two... and maybe catch some of the pyscho and idiot drivers I have to deal with every day

Compared with anyone driving recklessly in a fast car/van/taxi, red-light jumping cyclists are pussy cats

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jacknorell replied to fluffy_mike | 8 years ago
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fluffy_mike wrote:

Why aren't they out on their bikes in the city centre in plain clothes?

Too dangerous... clearly.

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Eebijeebi replied to jacknorell | 8 years ago
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jacknorell wrote:
fluffy_mike wrote:

Why aren't they out on their bikes in the city centre in plain clothes?

Too dangerous... clearly.

And they then lose the ability to stop vehicles because they're not in uniform which somewhat defeats the object.

What is totally apparent is that no matter what they do or don't do, they're always wrong on this forum. Hopefully the silent majority are the even minded ones.

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caaad10 | 8 years ago
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Something similar in France, most people here believe it's because they want to get something in the coffer & stock up on Champagne for the New Year's party. I'm inclined to agree.

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antonio | 8 years ago
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Why wait for an 'initiative', if it was 24/7 everyone would soon get the message, even if it's not via a mobile.

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georgee | 8 years ago
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Seems that using your phone while driving is no longer an offence, i'm staggard by the numbers i've seen doing it in South London as of late, no enforcement of it though, maybe the Met are too distracted over trying to unearth the crime of politicians they burried in the 70s.

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hampstead_bandit | 8 years ago
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ah ha..."operation turn a blind eye"

saw loads of these police at junctions in London last week during my daily commute

seemed very selective in who they could be bothered to speak to? basically, ignored motor vehicles driving into the bicycle box, right in front of them, the cops seemed more interested in talking to each other than keenly observing the traffic

nothing new then?

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cousinbillybob | 8 years ago
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Still beggars belief that cyclists are moaning about police enforcement - how about spacial awareness and using your eyes and not still going up the inside of vehicles turning left..? IT STILL HAPPENS.

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Pub bike replied to cousinbillybob | 8 years ago
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cousinbillybob wrote:

Still beggars belief that cyclists are moaning about police enforcement - how about spacial awareness and using your eyes and not still going up the inside of vehicles turning left..? IT STILL HAPPENS.

Aren’t most cycle lanes are on the left?

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Pub bike replied to cousinbillybob | 8 years ago
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cousinbillybob wrote:

Still beggars belief that cyclists are moaning about police enforcement - how about spacial awareness and using your eyes and not still going up the inside of vehicles turning left..? IT STILL HAPPENS.

Aren’t most cycle lanes are on the left?

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FluffyKittenofT... replied to cousinbillybob | 8 years ago
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cousinbillybob wrote:

Still beggars belief that cyclists are moaning about police enforcement - how about spacial awareness and using your eyes and not still going up the inside of vehicles turning left..? IT STILL HAPPENS.

Yeah, because that's what causes most cyclist deaths. Nothing to do with motorists not looking where they are going, that never happens. That's why the crackdown on cyclists regarding lights and high viz etc has so dramaticaly reduced the death rate of cyclists - oh, wait, it hasn't.

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Initialised | 8 years ago
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Every time a police officer fines a cyclist for running a red light or riding on the pavement another cyclist gets killed at a badly designed junction because lorries don't have collision avoidance systems by law yet.

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Pub bike | 8 years ago
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Hey the Police weren’t unfairly targetting cyclists on my commute…

...because I didn’t see any of them. I presume they were just doing it somewhere else  20

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02curtisb | 8 years ago
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I cycle quite late at night (usually 1am) and saw a few cyclists stopped for no lights or just being idiots (RLJ or jumping onto the path) also saw cars spoken to for stopping in ASLs. Its always hard as behaviour changes when the police are around but certainly better than nothing.

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Tony | 8 years ago
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Operation safe way to tick some boxes while making naff all difference to the real threat to cyclist safety - poor driving. You couldn't make it up.

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midgetdutts | 8 years ago
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My wife(cyclist) got fined £50 in Wood Green for: Not observing the white lines...bollocks, I have cycled in London for nearly 30 years and I always put myself at the front of the traffic at lights if possible, even if it means going over the white lines, I know it's the safest place to be, that way a driver cannot say I didn't see them. I watch it year after year token policing around christmas, always stopping more bikes than anyone else. I observe drivers on their mobiles day after day, setting off slowly, driving erratically and I have never seen one driver pulled for it!
For me it's a very simple equation. You stop a bike on the road no hold ups, you stop any other kind of vehicle possible delays on the road. All down to cost.

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EddyBerckx | 8 years ago
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Watched a couple of motorbike cops ignore 2 red light jumpers last week...one a car, one a van. Would they have let it go if they were cyclists? None of the ASL's were being enforced either. We all know what the agenda is (victim blaming)

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ChairRDRF | 8 years ago
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We have had concerns about Operation Safeway (and it’s successors) being discriminatory and ineffective in terms of real danger reduction http://rdrf.org.uk/2013/11/29/is-there-a-police-blitz-on-unsafe-driving-... . We’d like some good quality enforcement directed at the kind of things Ashok Sinha refers to: http://rdrf.org.uk/2013/11/29/what-traffic-policing-could-be-like/ and http://rdrf.org.uk/2014/06/04/how-about-some-real-traffic-law-enforcement/

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