Support road.cc

Like this site? Help us to make it better.

Gatwick drone suspects hid ‘in plain sight’ by riding bikes and wearing hi-vis

Was cycling's SMIDSY effect exploited by the alleged perpetrators of the Gatwick drone incursion?...

If there’s one thing we’ve learnt from our coverage of cycling on British roads, it’s that a sure-fire way to avoid being seen is to don a hi-vis vest and climb on a bike. Is this the ingenious method by which the Gatwick drone suspects evaded capture for so long?

Late on Friday, a man and a woman were arrested in connection with a string of drone sightings which brought Gatwick Airport to a standstill for more than a day. 

They were released on Sunday, with Detective Chief Superintendent Jason Tingley of Sussex Police saying the man had "fully co-operated" with the investigation and that he was "satisfied that they are no longer suspects in the drone incidents at Gatwick

"Our inquiry continues at a pace to locate those responsible for the drone incursions, and we continue to actively follow lines of investigation," he added.

It had been reported that the man may have been the one seen by motorist Paul Motts, who told The Sun: “I was delivering a parcel and drove past a suspicious man in fluorescent cycling gear crouching over a large drone which was all lit up.

“It looked like he was packing the drones away. Two minutes later we turned around and came across him cycling away. I expect he wanted to disassemble the drone as quickly as possible and get away as fast as he could.”

Studies have shown that cycling is (unfortunately) a highly effective way to avoid being seen. More than one in five cyclists go unseen by motorists, according to an experiment using eye tracking technology that was conducted for the insurance company Direct Line.

In fact research published by the The Journal of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society suggests that drivers often fail to “see” motorbikers – and by extension cyclists – even when they look right at them.

You might think that hi-vis clothing would counteract this, but despite its name, it brings no guarantee of visibility.

Last month we reported on a Hertfordshire cyclist who, despite wearing hi-vis and using lights, seemed to be invisible to a motorist entering a roundabout.

A study carried out last year by the Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust and Nottingham University found “increased odds of a collision crash” among cyclists who wear reflective clothing, while 2013 research from the University of Bath and Brunel University found that no matter what clothing a cyclist wears, around 1-2 per cent of drivers will pass dangerously close when overtaking.

This story was originally published on Saturday 22 December 2018 and updated on Sunday 23 December 2018 to reflect that the two people arrested had been released.

Alex has written for more cricket publications than the rest of the road.cc team combined. Despite the apparent evidence of this picture, he doesn't especially like cake.

Add new comment

27 comments

Avatar
BehindTheBikesheds | 5 years ago
2 likes

Yorkshie Whippet, you fail to grasp the rudimentaries of what a civilised society should be, you love victim blaming don't you, quick to question every action or potential action of a person on a bike when killed or threatened harm by a motorist, even after judges and jury have found the killer guilty!! You love pushing the onus of safety/being safe on the victims, those who pose so very little threat to society through their actions.

You're actually just a dispicable gammon type, why even bother coming onto the forum when your way of thinking regarding how human beings should act/behave when they present extreme harm to others is so massively disparate to pretty much everyone else on here and in fact society as a whole.

Maybe if something serious happens to one of your own family or close friends and someone says, 'well she was asking to be raped, walking down that street at that time of night looking like that', maybe you think an abused child is at fault because they said something 'wrong', dropped or broke something, maybe they just 'got in the way' or they didn't put the right clothes on after being told to wear something else, or didn't tell another adult/parent that something was hurting them, it's the same way of thinking as your victim blaming bollocks towards cyclists isn't it

Don't bother coming back, your venomous words won't be missed!

Avatar
Yorkshie Whippet | 5 years ago
1 like

Oh I do love all the frothing at the mouth about all drivers being bad. It so like reading the Daily Mail. Now I remember why I stopped visiting the site as often as I used to. An article about drones over Gatwick quickly turns like so many other threads into driver bashing.

To try and add some balance, I was taught advance driving shortly after passing my test. After all these years one thing that has stayed with me is that you you should only go as fast as you can stop in the distance you can see. This principle I apply to both £15ks worth of cycles and £17ks worth of car.

So the pitchfork brigade can get their daily lynching fix. Can someone explain to me how a car is dangerous? It has no thought process, no feelings, no moods. It spends most of it's time stationary, on the whole not being a hazard to anyone. Currently, in the vast majority, only a human can make the car do something or not do something.

 

Avatar
FluffyKittenofT... replied to Yorkshie Whippet | 5 years ago
3 likes

Yorkshie Whippet wrote:

Can someone explain to me how a car is dangerous? It has no thought process, no feelings, no moods. It spends most of it's time stationary, on the whole not being a hazard to anyone. Currently, in the vast majority, only a human can make the car do something or not do something.

 

 

Trained at the NRA school of falsification, eh?

 

By that logic nothing - from nuclear weapons to nerve gas - is dangerous and the word has no meaning.  Strange that the word 'dangerous' exists at all, then.

Avatar
hawkinspeter replied to Yorkshie Whippet | 5 years ago
3 likes

Yorkshie Whippet wrote:

Oh I do love all the frothing at the mouth about all drivers being bad. It so like reading the Daily Mail. Now I remember why I stopped visiting the site as often as I used to. An article about drones over Gatwick quickly turns like so many other threads into driver bashing.

To try and add some balance, I was taught advance driving shortly after passing my test. After all these years one thing that has stayed with me is that you you should only go as fast as you can stop in the distance you can see. This principle I apply to both £15ks worth of cycles and £17ks worth of car.

So the pitchfork brigade can get their daily lynching fix. Can someone explain to me how a car is dangerous? It has no thought process, no feelings, no moods. It spends most of it's time stationary, on the whole not being a hazard to anyone. Currently, in the vast majority, only a human can make the car do something or not do something.

 

By the way, shouldn't your username have another 'r' in it?

I certainly don't think that all drivers are bad - I'd estimate that 95% are reasonably careful when they're paying attention.

However, most cars are indeed dangerous as they belch out poisonous fumes that kill thousands over a long period of time. Technically, I suppose it's not the car that's doing that, but the engine, so maybe we should be blaming the engines for the respiratory health issues and the drivers for the instances of poor driving (although the drivers by themselves don't really have the momentum to do much damage).

Your reasoning would also apply to a pit-trap with poisioned spears at the bottom of it. It's stationary, has no thoughts etc. etc. and spends most its time not being a hazard to anyone.

Avatar
Mungecrundle | 5 years ago
4 likes

"...when actually it's you in your killing machine that is the hazard."

And that is the nugget of truth that should be the first, second and third rule of driving club. Start with the premise that everything is either your fault or you should of seen it coming.

Unfortunately in order to instill that mindset into future drivers, you need to instill it into the children, i.e look, listen, think whether you are a pedestrian, a cyclist and eventually a driver.

Avatar
HoarseMann replied to Mungecrundle | 5 years ago
3 likes

Mungecrundle wrote:

"...when actually it's you in your killing machine that is the hazard." And that is the nugget of truth that should be the first, second and third rule of driving club. Start with the premise that everything is either your fault or you should of seen it coming. Unfortunately in order to instill that mindset into future drivers, you need to instill it into the children, i.e look, listen, think whether you are a pedestrian, a cyclist and eventually a driver.

A presumed liability law would go some way to changing perspectives.

Avatar
hawkinspeter | 5 years ago
5 likes

They've released the arrested couple without charges now, so looks like they had the wrong person/people.

I'd recommend disguising yourself as a woodland critter if you want to take some neat photos.

 

Avatar
CygnusX1 replied to hawkinspeter | 5 years ago
4 likes

HawkinsPeter wrote:

They've released the arrested couple without charges now, so looks like they had the wrong person/people.

I'd recommend disguising yourself as a woodland critter if you want to take some neat photos.

 

Maybe it was a woodland critter...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rDIaPmREohA

Avatar
hawkinspeter replied to CygnusX1 | 5 years ago
5 likes

CygnusX1 wrote:

HawkinsPeter wrote:

They've released the arrested couple without charges now, so looks like they had the wrong person/people.

I'd recommend disguising yourself as a woodland critter if you want to take some neat photos.

 

Maybe it was a woodland critter...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rDIaPmREohA

Fly my pretties, fly!

Avatar
Chris Hayes | 5 years ago
1 like

....With regard to drivers not seeing cyclist when looking straight at them I'd say two things: human beings, generally, are programmed to scan the horizon for threats, and a cyclist is not a threat to someone in a steel box (and I'd say that this extends to some hi-viz as they are ubiquitous, plus human beings tend to zone out or become easily distracted during monotonous tasks.  I just wear bright pink gloves and overshoes and hope for the best.  

Avatar
BehindTheBikesheds replied to Chris Hayes | 5 years ago
6 likes

Chris Hayes wrote:

....With regard to drivers not seeing cyclist when looking straight at them I'd say two things: human beings, generally, are programmed to scan the horizon for threats, and a cyclist is not a threat to someone in a steel box (and I'd say that this extends to some hi-viz as they are ubiquitous, plus human beings tend to zone out or become easily distracted during monotonous tasks.  I just wear bright pink gloves and overshoes and hope for the best.  

That's because the thinking and training is all wrong from the very start, even as toddlers. look out for the killing machines, green cross code, 'gory story' victim blaming campaigns by government for kids to adorn themselves hi vis in the mornings/evenings from school, pedestrian crossings, removed access from routes, stopping up roads, segregation, the list almost endless how not just in this country but everywhere motorists have full rule of the roost and can do what the fuck they like with virtual impunity, and so it has always been.

Everyone not in a motor must cede or be pushed out/away, even driver training is wrong thinking, 'hazard perception', it instills everyone/everything else as the hazard, when actually it's you in your killing machine that is the hazard.

There's no driver training that tells you to stop and cede way when there's a person standing at the side of the road, there's no driver training to slow right down when a child is cycling on a narrow strip at the side of the road, so that if the child makes a small error (as we know they do hence why we should always account for these things) you have plenty of time to stop or at worse manoeouvre away. You looked, saw and assessed what could happen, what danger you present to them if such a scenario occurs.

We know these things occur because children and adults die or are seriously injured frequently because of a small error they made, the seriousness of which only happened because a motorist was in the vicinity which without would not have had the extreme outcome. 

Governments, motor manufacturers, police, justice system all are part of the bigger picture as to why motorists think the way they do, in fact even people who don't drive, who ride bikes or walk, ride equines, don't look at how we should be thinking when we present harm to others.

It's a mindset built up from many quarters over a long period of time, one that runs massively deep and not helped because most humans are selfish.

Avatar
Mungecrundle | 5 years ago
0 likes

I'm not one for conspiracy theories but there must surely be more to this than 2 middle aged people deciding to indulge in out and out twattery. If there is an environmental connection as has been suggested in MSM then where is the marketing campaign to go with the action? Same for terrorism.

I'm not actually that surprised there is little in the way of footage beyond a few blurry dots that could be against any generic sky. Gatwick is apparently some 12 sq km in size and the drone(s) were not up for long during each incident.

Hi viz is the equivalent of walking around an industrial site with a clipboard. People see you and assume you must have a reason to be there. I'd be willing to bet that any potential witnesses saw someone wearing hi viz and didn't bother looking any closer. Seeing someone dressed in dark clothes skulking about may well have raised suspicions and drawn a closer inspection or be memorable for some other less generic trait.

Avatar
BehindTheBikesheds | 5 years ago
1 like

There's more to this than meets the eye, not just the fact that 'cyclists' have yet again been highlighted as devils spawn but a huge distraction from other matters, no actual footage released of the drone over three dsys .hmmm

I can't wait for the fall-out from this latest shit storm #sarcasm

Avatar
spragger | 5 years ago
0 likes

D

Avatar
spragger | 5 years ago
1 like

You can wear all that gear, if you like.

have it fed by power from Sizewell.

but if the behaviourally challenged driver has their gaze focused on a mobile phone in their groin area, it will make no difference

Avatar
brooksby | 5 years ago
1 like

First it'll be be no drones flown within 5km of airports and then we'll get no cycling within the same area. Security, innit?

Avatar
Grahamd replied to brooksby | 5 years ago
4 likes

brooksby wrote:

First it'll be be no drones flown within 5km of airports and then we'll get no cycling within the same area. Security, innit?

Almost, first it will be no cycling ...

 

Avatar
janusz0 replied to brooksby | 5 years ago
4 likes
brooksby wrote:

First it'll be be no drones flown within 5km of airports and then we'll get no cycling within the same area. Security, innit?

Let's use this "terrorist threat" as a lever to get better cycling facilities:
It's time to get our requests in for 5km (motor free) tunnels* to allow us to cycle to any airport without being able to release drones. Anyone who's tried to cycle to a major airport, will understand how useful this suggestion could be.
*Overhead glass walled tubes would also be acceptable.

Avatar
burtthebike replied to janusz0 | 5 years ago
2 likes

janusz0 wrote:
brooksby wrote:

First it'll be be no drones flown within 5km of airports and then we'll get no cycling within the same area. Security, innit?

Let's use this "terrorist threat" as a lever to get better cycling facilities: It's time to get our requests in for 5km (motor free) tunnels* to allow us to cycle to any airport without being able to release drones. Anyone who's tried to cycle to a major airport, will understand how useful this suggestion could be. *Overhead glass walled tubes would also be acceptable.

Of course!  Motor vehicles are so much more dangerous than drones, so shouldn't be allowed anywhere near an airfield.  5km sounds about right.

Avatar
HoarseMann replied to janusz0 | 5 years ago
1 like

janusz0 wrote:
brooksby wrote:

First it'll be be no drones flown within 5km of airports and then we'll get no cycling within the same area. Security, innit?

Anyone who's tried to cycle to a major airport, will understand how useful this suggestion could be. *Overhead glass walled tubes would also be acceptable.

You are so right. I once looked into how I might arrive at Luton airport on a bike. The approach road looked terrifying and there was no provision for bike storage once there.

Avatar
Morat | 5 years ago
1 like

I own a drone and a bike... am I going to be arrested??

Avatar
HoarseMann replied to Morat | 5 years ago
1 like

Morat wrote:

I own a drone and a bike... am I going to be arrested??

Only if you don a gilet jaune

Avatar
Morat replied to HoarseMann | 5 years ago
1 like

HoarseMann wrote:

Morat wrote:

I own a drone and a bike... am I going to be arrested??

Only if you don a gilet jaune

 

I'm so busted  2

Avatar
burtthebike replied to Morat | 5 years ago
3 likes

Morat wrote:

I own a drone and a bike... am I going to be arrested??

Just put on your hi-viz; they'll never find you.

Avatar
mikewood | 5 years ago
3 likes

You can just raed the headlines now! Cyclist closes Gatwick.... Next step is all cyclists fly drones around airports. Just like all car drivers are bank robbers as a car was once used as a getaway vehicle!

Avatar
burtthebike | 5 years ago
2 likes

Good, and a humourous way to highlight the problem, which will hopefully find its way into the msm.  Mind you, it would also give the cyclist haters another reason.

Avatar
Yorkshire wallet | 5 years ago
11 likes

Probably legs11 after B and Q ran out paving slabs.

Latest Comments