Officers wearing video cameras and riding unmarked bicycles donated by BMW will be working in plain clothes, looking to spot bad driving in Hillingdon and all other London boroughs.
They have been tasked with identifying and dealing with the offences that most deter people from cycling such as:
- Unsafe following (tailgating)
- Unsafe overtaking (close passes)
- Unsafe turning (left or right turns across the cyclists path)
If officers encounter a driver committing any of these offences, they will identify them to a nearby, marked police motorcycle rider who will “stop and engage with them”, the Met said.
Professional drivers have been warned they could face going to court.
In line with any police roadside stop, the driver will be required to provide evidence of insurance, a driving licence, pass a roadside eyesight test and have their vehicle checked for roadworthiness.
"We can't be everywhere, but we could be anywhere," said Sergeant Andy Osborne from the Met's Cycle Safety Team of their new tactic to improve cyclist and driver safety, which launched yesterday.
The Met's Roads and Transport Policing Command pledged it will go to any location, at any time, on any borough, based on intelligence and complaints, to “ensure drivers properly obey the rules of the road”.
The driver will be reminded (through a short presentation) of the Highway Code rules regarding the offences and the standard of driving that they should reasonably be expected to attain.
Professional drivers, especially those subject to certificate of professional competence requirements, and those who “display examples of particularly bad driving” will not be offered the roadside engagement and will be reported in the usual way, which could lead to a court appearance.
Ashok Sinha, chief executive, London Cycling Campaign, said: "Drivers passing too close is terrifying and off-putting to people cycling. Most people cite road danger and near misses as major reasons why they don't cycle.
“The Highway Code requires drivers give safe space to cyclists when overtaking. This welcome operation on close passes will send a message to drivers in London to obey the Highway Code and stay wider of the rider."
Sergeant Andy Osborne, 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.
"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."
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