Undercover officers to take London cycle safety up a gear

Plain-clothes officers will patrol London’s streets on bicycles as part of the Metropolitan Police Service’s (MPS) new plan to improve safety.

Jul 24, 2017

Plain-clothes officers will patrol London’s streets on bicycles as part of the Metropolitan Police Service’s (MPS) new plan to improve safety. Undercover Roads and Transport Policing Command officers will wear video cameras as they ride unmarked bicycles around the capital to identify offences such as tailgating and close passing. If the ‘Cycle Safety Team’ witnesses an offence it will report the incident to marked police motorcycle riders, who will stop and engage the suspect. Motorists will then be required to provide evidence of insurance, a driving licence, pass an eyesight test and will be reminded of driving standards set out in the Highway Code. Sergeant Andy Osborne, of the MPS’s Cycle Safety Team, said: “We want all road users to obey the Highway Code. This tactic is about education and encouraging motorists who do not comply with the rules of the road to start doing so – for everyone’s safety and protection – theirs included. “There is a lot of traffic in the capital and we all need to share the roads and be mindful of other road users. In its simplest form, it’s about being courteous to one another. “By all road users obeying the Highway Code, collectively we can help lessen incidents of people being killed or seriously injured on the roads.” The initiative, launched on Friday (July 21), comes after the MPS refused Cycling UK’s offer of a ‘close pass’ mat to teach drivers how much space they should leave cyclists when overtaking. The MPS was one of four forces to outright refuse the free offer, while another seven failed to respond. Last week, two West Midlands motorists became the first people convicted for ‘close pass’ driving in the UK. An HGV driver was fined £1,038 and given five penalty points and a transit van driver received a £1,033 and four points for driving without due care and attention. Both offenders pleaded not guilty despite being shown video evidence captured by a cyclist. Alongside the new strategy, the MPS will offer 2,000 car stickers declaring ‘I give space to cyclists’. Will Norman, London’s Walking and Cycling Commissioner, said: “We know that safety concerns are one of the biggest barriers to cycling in London. “That’s why we’re working hard to build high-quality safe routes to encourage even more people to cycle, and why I’m so pleased to see the Met tackling some of the dangers that we see on our roads.”

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