The Metropolitan Police Cycle Safety Team are asking cyclists for potential locations for their new close pass initiative, after stopping and advising drivers all over London, with the message they could be anywhere in the city.
Two weeks into its brand new Space for Cyclists initiative, the Met Police say they have stopped 18 drivers, and issued two traffic offence reports, as well as seizing a vehicle with no MOT, no insurance and a bald tyre.
The operation uses a plain clothes police officer cycling, and a uniformed officer on a motorbike to stop and bring in drivers who overtake, tailgate, or turn dangerously across the path of the cycling officer. They educate drivers on safe manoeuvring around cyclists, and check vehicles, and documentation, as well as eyesight - and in the worst cases will report drivers for offences.
— Cycle Safety Team (@MetCycleCops) July 21, 2017
The Met also engaged with two cyclists, including one they witnessed being tail-gated by a driver.
Sgt Andy Osborne, leading the Met’s Cycle Safety Team, told road.cc the initiative, which is now part of ongoing police work, is “still very much in its infancy” and they are on the lookout for new locations. The impact of the operation is that any cyclist in London could potentially be a police officer.
He said: “We've identified suitable locations for the operation and we are compiling a list of suggestions from cycle groups and the twitter pages.”
So far, officers have visited sites Hackney, Peckham, Bexley, Greenwich, Bromley and Twickenham. In particular, they are targeting outer London roads where traffic speeds are higher and potentially fewer people cycle because of perceived risk from poor driving.
— Cycle Safety Team (@MetCycleCops) July 26, 2017
During the past fortnight Osborne’s team intervened in a close pass of another cyclist.
He said: “Our cyclist was overtaken safely but the car then drove right up the tail of a cycle in front and then passed too close.
“The car was stopped and our cyclist caught up with the other cyclist and spoke with him. He hadn't even noticed as he was too busy trying to cycle up the hill but he was grateful for our intervention."
The initiative, with perhaps the world’s longest hashtag, #WeCantBeEverywhereButCouldBeAnywhere – as well as #spaceforcyclists – also comes with its own window sticker, saying “I give space for cyclists”, to help educate drivers on safe overtaking, following and turning around cyclists.
The Cycle Safety Team, part of the Met’s Roads and Transport Policing Command, is the UK’s only specifically designated bike mounted policing unit.
Tweet your London-based suggestions to @MetCycleCops