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Police across UK launch three-week blitz on speeding drivers to keep cyclists and others safe

As lockdown restrictions ease, campaign aims to protect vulnerable road users

Police forces across the UK have today launched a three-week campaign targeting speeding drivers in a bid to keep vulnerable road users, including cyclists, safe as the country gradually eases out of lockdown.

Co-ordinated by the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC), the first phase of the campaign, timed to coincide with an expected rise in motor traffic, has seen forces across the country take to social media to remind motorists that they must keep within the speed limit, with the message, “Slow down and save lives.”

The second phase, beginning next Monday 25 May, will involve forces engaging in visible speed enforcement activity for the following fortnight, with an emphasis on roads and areas where speeding is a known problem, or that have a history of serious road traffic incidents.

The initiative follows what has been termed “extreme speeding” in many places across the country by drivers taking advantage of empty roads to break the speed limit.

Detective Superintendent Andy Cox, the lead officer for Vision Zero at the Metropolitan Police, has regularly tweeted details of the number of drivers caught speeding in London, plus the maximum speeds recorded, broken down by what the relevant speed limit was.

Last week, for example, traffic officers dealt with 1,379 speeding drivers, a near fivefold increase on the same week last year, including 36 who were driving at 100mph or more – one of them hitting 110mph in a 50mph zone. The highest speed recorded in a 20mph zone, meanwhile, was 48mph.

West Mercia Police Chief Constable Anthony Bangham, roads policing lead for the NPCC, said: “With the gradual move out of lockdown and with traffic volumes starting to increase, this national operation is an important way of highlighting the dangers of speeding, particularly when so many people have not been out on the roads for quite some time.  

“Unsurprisingly, the lockdown saw very quiet roads. Many forces reported increased speeding in a general sense and some forces reported instances of very excessive speeding. It is also of particular note that we have seen an increase in pedal cyclists at this time, many of whom may be unfamiliar with busier roads. Pedestrians and runners have also got used to empty roads.

“Put this together with better weather, lighter evenings, motorcyclists itching to ride out across our country roads and you have the concerning combination of factors for a significant increase in people being killed or seriously injured,” he continued. “I am determined for this not to be the case.”

> Global study calls for 20mph speed limit as standard in built-up areas

According to the NPCC, speeding is believed to be a significant factor in 17 fatalities and 126 serious injuries on the country’s roads each month, on average, and the organisation highlights that braking distances increase significantly with speed – for example, in a 30mph zone, a motorist driving just 5mph above the speed limit will need an extra 21 feet to bring their vehicle to a halt.

Chief Constable Bangham added: “Speeding kills, and driving within the speed limits makes our roads safer. Please slow down and save lives.”

Individual forces are also alerting local media outlets to the campaign so that the message can reach as many motorists as possible that they must keep within the speed limit and be aware of cyclists, pedestrians and other vulnerable people on the roads.

In a press release, Inspector Kirsty Clough of Warwickshire Police said “This is particularly important at the moment as vehicles are now sharing the roads with more people who have turned to cycling, running or walking for their exercise during the current pandemic.

“As more people return to work, our roads will become busier not only with traffic but with some people also choosing to walk, run or cycle to work.

“Driving safely within speed limits helps to keep all road users safe and to reduce the number of people killed or seriously injured on our roads,” she added.

“We also want to support new road users, in particular pedal cyclists to keep them safe on the roads.”

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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17 comments

Avatar
jaysa | 3 years ago
3 likes

Compare the sanctions listed when speeding in Europe, for example in France:

If you are a foreigner, the motorway police have the power to confiscate your car, make you pay there and then or to take your licence and give you an on the spot ban for driving in France. You will get your licence back but it can take weeks or even months. However, you may not get your car back, if the courts decide your speeding was reckless enough i.e. more than 50km over the limit, they will not return your car and may auction it off. If you don’t have cash, the police will take your passport and send you to a cash point to get cash.

I love the idea of confiscating vehicles, and accompanying these crims to the cashpoint ... Time for a change in the law anyone?

Taking your licence away at the scene would also do away with wealthy people getting away with it - one law for everyone.

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Rick_Rude | 3 years ago
0 likes

Speeding itself doesn't kill otherwise it would be certain death out there . Look at Germany and the autobahns. Look at the Isle of Man's mountain section (outside of TT weeks). Driving below the speed limit can kill if the car is driven badly and no attention is being paid.

I just find it odd the police were spinning the same safety narrative even when they caught people on pretty much empty roads.

Anyway, speeding will be pretty much impossible once the Honda Jazz gang get back to speed going 'for a drive' aimlessly. Expect a close pass at 23mph or to be turned right across and then given the one finger lifted off the wheel wave by a hat wearing driver.

Avatar
eburtthebike replied to Rick_Rude | 3 years ago
2 likes
Rick_Rude wrote:

Speeding itself doesn't kill otherwise it would be certain death out there . Look at Germany and the autobahns. Look at the Isle of Man's mountain section (outside of TT weeks). Driving below the speed limit can kill if the car is driven badly and no attention is being paid. I just find it odd the police were spinning the same safety narrative even when they caught people on pretty much empty roads. Anyway, speeding will be pretty much impossible once the Honda Jazz gang get back to speed going 'for a drive' aimlessly. Expect a close pass at 23mph or to be turned right across and then given the one finger lifted off the wheel wave by a hat wearing driver.

Lock down getting to you Rick?

Avatar
OldRidgeback replied to Rick_Rude | 3 years ago
6 likes
Rick_Rude wrote:

Speeding itself doesn't kill otherwise it would be certain death out there . Look at Germany and the autobahns. Look at the Isle of Man's mountain section (outside of TT weeks). Driving below the speed limit can kill if the car is driven badly and no attention is being paid. I just find it odd the police were spinning the same safety narrative even when they caught people on pretty much empty roads. Anyway, speeding will be pretty much impossible once the Honda Jazz gang get back to speed going 'for a drive' aimlessly. Expect a close pass at 23mph or to be turned right across and then given the one finger lifted off the wheel wave by a hat wearing driver.

Germany's autobahn network has around 2x the crash risk of the UK's motorway network. When crashes happen, they're often catastrophic.

Avatar
Accessibility f... replied to Rick_Rude | 3 years ago
5 likes
Rick_Rude wrote:

Speeding itself doesn't kill

It does, however, increase the severity of a collision should one occur.

But more importantly, it puts off vulnerable users from accessing the roads they're entitled to.  People don't feel safe when they know that some motorists are driving too quickly.

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Hirsute | 4 years ago
3 likes

https://mobile.twitter.com/EP_RPU_North/status/1262395309763842048

Now what was that about cyclists not going too far in case they had a mechanical?

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0-0 | 4 years ago
9 likes

With all the new cyclists on the road, I wish the Government would run a series of TV safety adverts, explaining how to overtake cyclists by leaving a 1.5 metre gap.
Maybe the cycling industry, websites/magazines, British Cycling and Chris Boardman etc could all join forces on this?

Charlie says... don't be an ACIAC (Another C In A Car).

Avatar
grumpyoldcyclist replied to 0-0 | 4 years ago
16 likes

I wish the Government would run a series of TV safety adverts, explaining how to overtake cyclists by leaving a 1.5 metre gap crossing over the middle of the road, as it shows in the Highway Code.
There, fixed that for you

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0-0 replied to grumpyoldcyclist | 4 years ago
6 likes

I thank you  1

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martin_in_surrey replied to 0-0 | 4 years ago
19 likes

Today I was the "recipient" of a close pass.  The black BMW X5 immediately behind the close passer showed how it should be done - fully crossing the central white line - before sticking on its blues and twos and pulling over the close passer!

Stopped for a quick conversation with the copper from the unmarked police car who confirmed that the stop was indeed for the close pass.

Kudos to Surrey Police.  (Not sure though whether the driver was just given a ticking off or a ticket)

Avatar
eburtthebike replied to martin_in_surrey | 4 years ago
8 likes
martin_in_surrey wrote:

Today I was the "recipient" of a close pass.  The black BMW X5 immediately behind the close passer showed how it should be done - fully crossing the central white line - before sticking on its blues and twos and pulling over the close passer!

Stopped for a quick conversation with the copper from the unmarked police car who confirmed that the stop was indeed for the close pass.

Kudos to Surrey Police.  (Not sure though whether the driver was just given a ticking off or a ticket)

Good to hear and well done that police person. 

We need more of this, and a few plain clothes police, or in lycra if you prefer, on bikes, being trailed by discreet cars, ready to pull in dangerous drivers and issue them with either an immediate fine or NIP.  Or even just keep them waiting for an hour or two while the details come through from DVLA "So sorry sir, the DVLA computer is a bit slow today, but I'm sure the information will be with us soon and you can be on your way."  Ho, ho, ho.

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Sriracha replied to martin_in_surrey | 4 years ago
5 likes

Now that would have made for a memorable NMOTD video - instant karma.

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eburtthebike | 4 years ago
9 likes

The police are going to be busy, and I'm sure the usual suspects will be featuring headlines about a war on otherwise law-abiding motorists what never did no harm to nobody, honest guv.

Time the review of road crime started so that the ridiculous system of points on the licence can be changed to something that actually works, like loss of licence for a week for the first offence, a month for the second within a year and loss of licence for the third time in a year.   It'll need a bit of tweaking, but I'm sure you get the principle.

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EK Spinner replied to eburtthebike | 4 years ago
6 likes

I think even a couple of fairly minor tweak to the points system could be very effective.

1. Points on the licence don't come of after 3 years but instead 1 point comes of each year once you have 3 years without points, so if you get 6 points it takes 9 years minimum to get rid of them. but if you get more points at say year 7, then you need to wait another 3 years before they start to drop off again.

2. absolute ban at 10 points with no exceptions, and the same process for getting the points back of again as detailed above, so 10 points is an automatic 3 year ban and you start back with 9 points

Avatar
eburtthebike replied to EK Spinner | 4 years ago
0 likes
EK Spinner wrote:

I think even a couple of fairly minor tweak to the points system could be very effective.

1. Points on the licence don't come of after 3 years but instead 1 point comes of each year once you have 3 years without points, so if you get 6 points it takes 9 years minimum to get rid of them. but if you get more points at say year 7, then you need to wait another 3 years before they start to drop off again.

2. absolute ban at 10 points with no exceptions, and the same process for getting the points back of again as detailed above, so 10 points is an automatic 3 year ban and you start back with 9 points

I like your thinking and that's exactly the kind of tweaking I had in mind.  Keep up the good work!

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Awavey replied to EK Spinner | 4 years ago
0 likes

I dont disagree with the principle, but I come back to this point time and again with this stuff, the kind of person that gets behind the wheel of a car and drives at 57mph in a 30 limit as an example,  doesnt remotely care whether youve given them more points or even taken away their license for a period of time or not, chances are theyve already been disqualified or didnt bother getting one in the first place, their attitude is and always will be, the police have got to catch them first, and then theyve got to keep catching them, and each time they get caught, theyll just go and sit back in the car and carry on driving the way theyve always done.

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brooksby replied to eburtthebike | 3 years ago
0 likes
Quote:

The second phase, beginning next Monday 25 May, will involve forces engaging in visible speed enforcement activity for the following fortnight, with an emphasis on roads and areas where speeding is a known problem, or that have a history of serious road traffic incidents.

We all know that "visible speed enforcement activity" will actually turn into "stopping cyclists for red light jumping"...

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