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Police fine 150 in London safety crackdown as MP calls for national dangerous junction audit

Met advises cyclists to stay out of blind spots, wear helmets and high-vis

 

After the deaths of 14 cyclists so far this month, Labour MP Ian Austin has called for a national audit of the UK’s most dangerous junctions and of London’s Cycle Superhighways.

Mr Austin told told Sky News: “We need to see an urgent review of the most dangerous junctions across the country and we need to see a proper audit of how the Cycle Superhighway scheme here in London is operating.”

At least 12 of the deaths this month involved a motor vehicle. All six of the fatalities in London occurred at junctions and involved a large vehicle, either a bus, coach or lorry.

The Metropolitan Police has recently been running ‘Changing Places’ exercises in which cyclists are invited to sit in the cab of a heavy good vehicle and discover just how little of the road they can see.

Sgt Simon Castle of the Met’s Cycling Task Force said: “What we’re telling cyclists is to either stay right back behind the truck, or to move far enough forward that they can make eye contact with the driver. Either of those tactics makes you a lot more visible and a lot safer on London’s roads.”

150 drivers and riders fined in Operation Safeway

Ian Austin’s call for a junction audit comes as the Metropolitan Police yesterday issued 150 fixed penalty notices to drivers and cyclists on the first day of Operation Safeway.

Police said the fines issued were mainly for using a mobile phone while driving or passing through a red light.

In addition, police were stopping cyclists to offer advice on safety. Independent journalist Simon Usborne was one of those stopped, because he wasn’t wearing a helmet.

He wrote:

“How do you think you’ll fare if you get run over like this?” one officer asked. No “good morning, we’re here as part of the campaign to improve road safety and wondered if you had two minutes.” More like: “you’ll probably die, but first stand here looking guilty while I have a go at you for doing nothing illegal.”

People stopped at Hyde Park Corner after the morning rush hour yesterday appeared exclusively to be cyclists, none of whom had breached the highway code.

I told the officer stopping me that only logistics had left me bare-headed. I always wear a helmet, although it’s not the law to do so. He then took issue with my clothes. Not visible enough,” he said. I pointed at the bright sun, suggesting it lent me adequate visibility, thanked him for his advice, and cycled on.

The crackdown on dangerous road behaviour involved 650 officers in 60 locations across London and will eventually expand to encompass all 2,500 of London’s traffic police.

John has been writing about bikes and cycling for over 30 years since discovering that people were mug enough to pay him for it rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work.

He was heavily involved in the mountain bike boom of the late 1980s as a racer, team manager and race promoter, and that led to writing for Mountain Biking UK magazine shortly after its inception. He got the gig by phoning up the editor and telling him the magazine was rubbish and he could do better. Rather than telling him to get lost, MBUK editor Tym Manley called John’s bluff and the rest is history.

Since then he has worked on MTB Pro magazine and was editor of Maximum Mountain Bike and Australian Mountain Bike magazines, before switching to the web in 2000 to work for CyclingNews.com. Along with road.cc founder Tony Farrelly, John was on the launch team for BikeRadar.com and subsequently became editor in chief of Future Publishing’s group of cycling magazines and websites, including Cycling Plus, MBUK, What Mountain Bike and Procycling.

John has also written for Cyclist magazine, edited the BikeMagic website and was founding editor of TotalWomensCycling.com before handing over to someone far more representative of the site's main audience.

He joined road.cc in 2013. He lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

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33 comments

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Colin Peyresourde | 10 years ago
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Has anyone on this site been stopped by the police in this recent spate of advice giving?

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paulfg42 | 10 years ago
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"The Metropolitan Police has recently been running ‘Changing Places’ exercises in which cyclists are invited to sit in the cab of a heavy good vehicle and discover just how little of the road they can see."

Surely, the Met should be campaigning for manufacturers to ensure that such vehicles have much better visibility?

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kraut replied to paulfg42 | 10 years ago
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Surely, the Met should be campaigning for manufacturers to ensure that such vehicles have much better visibility?
The national government and /or the mayor should simply ban vehicles with dangerous blind spots, or force them to drive with a co-driver responsible for checking the blind spot. Simples.

If you can ban lorries for polluting too much, you can ban them for killing cyclists and pedestrians. Go on, Boris,

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Northernbike | 10 years ago
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Maybe to show they are not just out to pick on cyclists and avoid a cycling Mcpherson report the police should widen their 'stop and give advice' policy for exampe 'excuse me madame, do you know those shoes don't go with that bag - it's not illegal but we're just giving advice' or 'excuse me sir but I noticed you were drinking expresso when I think you'll find cappuccino much nicer because you get chocolate bits sprinkled on it and it's all nice and frothy and makes you look like you got a funny white moustache - it's not illegal to drink expresso but we're just giving advice'

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giff77 | 10 years ago
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What I've found Hampstead is that the station seems to either choose or ask for volunteers to jump on the station bike. Some of the police cyclists I've noticed have very questionable road craft struggling to climb the slightest gradient. Followed a couple of officers and couldn't believe how poorly maintained their bikes were - dirty chain, squealing brakes etc.

Admittedly there are some highly trained units but I've not come across any yet.

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hampstead_bandit | 10 years ago
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Recently asked 2 different cops both mounted on bikes about the change in penalty for ASL infringement. Also asked about LB Camden introducing 20mph limit across entire borough.

Both cops sadly had no clue about either of the questions!

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dbb | 10 years ago
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speaking of red herrings.
just because a strava segment was posted - it doesn't mean that it was 'raced'. the segment is posted regardless of how you ride it

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oozaveared | 10 years ago
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I think all good cyclists should take the opportunity afforded to them by this police operation to educate the police. It's them that need educating on road safety.

Traffic cops are one thing they are specifically trained on the law as regards use of the road and the highway code but if the Met has drafted in every Tom, Dick and Harriet with a warrant card for some handy overtime in the run up to Christmas (call me cynical) then they will have as much clue as the average person on cycling/road safety, which isn't that much.

Start them off with a simple question about the safer countries to cycle in. Netherlands Denmark etc followed by what cyclists tend to wear in those countries. ie ordinary clothes and generally no helmets. See if the penny drops?

A very good question would be to ask whether the officer rides a bike, drives a car or both or whether they have any specific training for road safety.

I would ask any officer lacking specific training in cycling road safety and with no experience of cycling and if they held no additional or advanced driving qualifications as I do to tell me who was best placed to educate whom?

Road cyclist since 1972
Driver since 1977
Advanced Driving Test 1988
Member of the IAM

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Gus T replied to oozaveared | 10 years ago
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Sorry but I disagree, when a local safe cycling initiative was run, a Traffic cop took a box of Safe Cycling DVD's into my LBS & told the owner "make sure that you give these to all your customer's as all bike (cycle) accidents are the cyclists fault" That was after the LBS owners son had been t-boned on his bike by a car running a red light and also shortly after I was rear ended on my bike pulling out of a junction because the car driver thought I would "pull away faster". Traffic cops can be as big a bigot as any other plod, just watch them bait people to get a reaction on camera in the numerous shows on TV.

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Gus T replied to oozaveared | 10 years ago
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oozaveared wrote:

I think all good cyclists should take the opportunity afforded to them by this police operation to educate the police. It's them that need educating on road safety.

Traffic cops are one thing they are specifically trained on the law as regards use of the road and the highway code but if the Met has drafted in every Tom, Dick and Harriet with a warrant card for some handy overtime in the run up to Christmas (call me cynical) then they will have as much clue as the average person on cycling/road safety, which isn't that much.

Start them off with a simple question about the safer countries to cycle in. Netherlands Denmark etc followed by what cyclists tend to wear in those countries. ie ordinary clothes and generally no helmets. See if the penny drops?

A very good question would be to ask whether the officer rides a bike, drives a car or both or whether they have any specific training for road safety.

I would ask any officer lacking specific training in cycling road safety and with no experience of cycling and if they held no additional or advanced driving qualifications as I do to tell me who was best placed to educate whom?

Road cyclist since 1972
Driver since 1977
Advanced Driving Test 1988
Member of the IAM

Sorry, my reply was to this statement

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Sevenfold | 10 years ago
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David Bowie "Life on Mars" springs to mind...for all the cycling helmet/hi-viz "discussions"

Take a look at the lawman
Beating up the wrong guy

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reallyunique | 10 years ago
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Riding with a lance is a super idea. Now salmoning cyclists become an opportunity to joust!!!
This will revolutionise urban cycling. A special stage in the TdF would be welcome too, not how fast can you decend but how well can you defend  1

On a serious note, they did fine 150 motorists so hardly a complete waste of time. It's easy, and reasonable, to get upset being told to wear clothing of dubious usefulness but a strong police presence should help reduce accidents. I wonder if the accident rates will go up when the current operation is over.

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giff77 | 10 years ago
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On reading various reports it would appear that the advise from the cycling task force and the remainder of the Met would be at total odds with each other. In this current exercise there seems to be a subtle form of bullying going on in where law abiding cyclists are pulled over to be informed that their only offense is that of not wearing the perceived correct attire.

Next they'll be pulling in those who take the lane and telling them they're putting themselves at risk.

This exercise will only serve to increase animosity between cyclist and the police whilst the motorists behaviour will continue unchanged. As if a motorist is going to roll into an ASL while six peelers are loitering at the junction. Of course they're not. If the police were doing it correctly they should be handing leaflets to ALL vehicles at junctions while taking note if a phone or half eaten sandwich has been surreptitiously dropped onto a drivers lap or tossed casually onto the passenger seat!

Or randomly pulling motorists in to check MOT, insurance, VED and licence. Maybe also a wee walk round the vehicle having a look at lights, tyres etc.

Motorists in general change their behaviour when the police are present and not when they're around. The other day when approaching a pinch point I pulled out even further. On shoulder checking I could see and hear the guy behind preparing to cut me up. He then clocked a patrol car parked a bit further up and automatically dropped back and then passed me safely.

Until motorists realise that they cannot treat other road users with impunity the better. It is this and not the red herring of helmets and tabbards that will make the roads safer.

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rich22222 | 10 years ago
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It's still not being made clear, should I carry a lance when wearing full armour or not?

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PJ McNally replied to rich22222 | 10 years ago
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rich22222 wrote:

should I carry a lance when wearing full armour or not?

No. Lance is banned from cycling.

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banzicyclist2 | 10 years ago
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My thoughts exactly put lorry and bus and taxi drivers on a bike. Do few "fly byes" and see what they think about it .

l like the idea of a Viking helmet . . Where can l get one?

Until a driving licence becomes a privilege and NOT a right l don't think much will change and we're all going to have to look out for ourselves .  2

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joemmo | 10 years ago
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is this stop-and-bother scheme still ongoing? If so, I sense a great opportunity for some comedic civil disobedience.

Perhaps those in the vicinity could test the limits of visibility and helmet standards that the Met are searching for. Dayglo mankini and a viking helmet ought to get you noticed, or perhaps a police helmet and tutu?

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Guyz2010 | 10 years ago
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from above
"The Metropolitan Police has recently been running ‘Changing Places’ exercises in which cyclists are invited to sit in the cab of a heavy good vehicle and discover just how little of the road they can see."

To double quote ""just how little of the road they can see""
Does this mean these vehicles should be restricted at times to prevent death!

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Guanajuato replied to Guyz2010 | 10 years ago
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Guyz2010 wrote:

from above
"The Metropolitan Police has recently been running ‘Changing Places’"

Does this mean they've been inviting lorry drivers to have a ride on a bike too, just to see how vulnerable they are? No, thought not.

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DeanF316 replied to Guanajuato | 10 years ago
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How many of these cyclist are doing strava segments when involved in these road traffic accidents?

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Neil753 replied to DeanF316 | 10 years ago
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DeanF316 wrote:

How many of these cyclist are doing strava segments when involved in these road traffic accidents?

Earlier this year, The Sunday Times investigated this, and not only found that some routes in Central London were being posted to Strava more than 20,000 (yes, twenty thousand) times each, but that some of the times posted could not have been achieved mathematically without running red lights.

It the bicycle equivalent of t**ts who post Youtube vids of themselves speeding.

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mrmo replied to Neil753 | 10 years ago
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Neil753 wrote:

The Sunday Times investigated this, and not only found that some routes in Central London were being posted to Strava more than 20,000 (yes, twenty thousand) times each, but that some of the times posted could not have been achieved mathematically without running red lights.

Is this the same study that if you actually looked at the segment analysis you found out that it was a Strava glich. Quite common on short segments for the posted time and speed to bear no relation to the actual speed.

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Neil753 replied to mrmo | 10 years ago
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mrmo wrote:
Neil753 wrote:

The Sunday Times investigated this, and not only found that some routes in Central London were being posted to Strava more than 20,000 (yes, twenty thousand) times each, but that some of the times posted could not have been achieved mathematically without running red lights.

Is this the same study that if you actually looked at the segment analysis you found out that it was a Strava glich. Quite common on short segments for the posted time and speed to bear no relation to the actual speed.

I don't know, to be honest, but a Google search reveals plenty of Strava activity in urban areas, including London, and any Strava heat map of London bears this out.

Obviously, anyone who uses Strava in London will no doubt be aware that people are calling for urban segments to be restricted, even if they themselves have no intention of moderating their behaviour for the common good.

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torquerulesok replied to mrmo | 10 years ago
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Neil753 wrote:

Is this the same study that if you actually looked at the segment analysis you found out that it was a Strava glich? Quite common on short segments for the posted time and speed to bear no relation to the actual speed.

According to Strava, my top speed through the Blackfriars Underpass is 62mph, that's on my 46/18 geared single-speed. On one such ride my heart rate dropped to zero for that segment  21

Conclusion: dead men ride faster - Garmin proves it.

It is not Strava's fault if a GPS can't do dead reckoning calculations when in tunnels and comes up with ludicrous segment speeds.

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Neil753 replied to torquerulesok | 10 years ago
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torquerulesok wrote:
Neil753 wrote:

Is this the same study that if you actually looked at the segment analysis you found out that it was a Strava glich? Quite common on short segments for the posted time and speed to bear no relation to the actual speed.

According to Strava, my top speed through the Blackfriars Underpass is 62mph, that's on my 46/18 geared single-speed. On one such ride my heart rate dropped to zero for that segment  21

Conclusion: dead men ride faster - Garmin proves it.

It is not Strava's fault if a GPS can't do dead reckoning calculations when in tunnels and comes up with ludicrous segment speeds.

How about switching your Strava off, when in London? I mean, why would you want to know your "time" when trying to safely negotiate traffic on busy urban roads? Can you not recognise a potential conflict of interest?

We have enough problems with drivers not respecting us because of a few RLJs. The last thing we want is another "issue" for drivers to throw at us.

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kie7077 replied to Neil753 | 10 years ago
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Neil753 wrote:
torquerulesok wrote:
Neil753 wrote:

Is this the same study that if you actually looked at the segment analysis you found out that it was a Strava glich? Quite common on short segments for the posted time and speed to bear no relation to the actual speed.

According to Strava, my top speed through the Blackfriars Underpass is 62mph, that's on my 46/18 geared single-speed. On one such ride my heart rate dropped to zero for that segment  21

Conclusion: dead men ride faster - Garmin proves it.

It is not Strava's fault if a GPS can't do dead reckoning calculations when in tunnels and comes up with ludicrous segment speeds.

How about switching your Strava off, when in London? I mean, why would you want to know your "time" when trying to safely negotiate traffic on busy urban roads? Can you not recognise a potential conflict of interest?

We have enough problems with drivers not respecting us because of a few RLJs. The last thing we want is another "issue" for drivers to throw at us.

why on earth should we turn it off, I use strava mainly for clocking the miles I do. I think many are doing the same. and the accuracy indeed sucks

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Simon E replied to Neil753 | 10 years ago
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Neil753 wrote:

How about switching your Strava off, when in London? I mean, why would you want to know your "time" when trying to safely negotiate traffic on busy urban roads? Can you not recognise a potential conflict of interest?

Neil, are you trolling? If not then that is pretty pathetic. Or perhaps you regularly get drivers pulling up alongside you and saying "Mate, your time on the Strava segment along here suggests you RLJ'd this junction twice last week".

Neil753 wrote:

We have enough problems with drivers not respecting us because of a few RLJs. The last thing we want is another "issue" for drivers to throw at us.

Drivers don't respect cyclists (or each other) anyway, they're just looking for excuses and a scapegoat, though the 'blame Strava' thing is news to me. Most RLJers I see are lightless plebs riding BSOs or cheap town bikes.

As others have already said, it seems to be a police priority to hassle cyclists, even law-abiding ones, instead of concentrating on behaviour that cause real safety issues (with the exception of those riding at night without lights, which I think is pretty dumb). And it's a bit rich when they don't even know the law.

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Metjas replied to DeanF316 | 10 years ago
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DeanF316 wrote:

How many of these cyclist are doing strava segments when involved in these road traffic accidents?

what a ridiculous comment, have some respect for the innocent victims.

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tired old fart replied to Guyz2010 | 9 years ago
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I have two thoughts on the apparent blind spots these vehicles have: first I do not believe the blind spots exist: and second if they have such blind spots why do they drive in such a manner that they themselves put other road users in them by driving too close etc. If the drivers are indeed professional drivers they will overcome such challenges in a professional manner. Stay safe.

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pirnie replied to tired old fart | 9 years ago
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tired old fart wrote:

I have two thoughts on the apparent blind spots these vehicles have: first I do not believe the blind spots exist: and second if they have such blind spots why do they drive in such a manner that they themselves put other road users in them by driving too close etc. If the drivers are indeed professional drivers they will overcome such challenges in a professional manner. Stay safe.

You don't believe these blind spots exist?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wzL0Kyk4m-8

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