In the “why didn’t I think of that” department, the City of London has come up with an innovative and direct way to deal with drivers that overtake bikes at a distance of less than the regulated 1.5 meters.
As reported by City Lab, “the city’s Metropolitan Police is going low key, with plain-clothes police officers pedaling through the streets on bikes to monitor and reprimand drivers’ behavior. The main goal is to crack down on so-called close passing—that is, drivers overtaking bikes at a distance of less than 1.5 meters (just under 5 feet)… Motorists caught engaging in driving that compromises cyclists’ safety will be given the choice between prosecution or a 15-minute roadside safety training session. The operation won’t cover a very large area of London’s roads at any one time. By introducing the idea that cyclists on the road might just have a police badge in their pocket, however, it may have a far greater effect than punishment alone. “
This operation was first trialled in the West Midlands near Manchester where two plainclothes police officers nabbed 130 motorists in nine hours, booking eight for safety offences, and revoking one driver’s license.
And what of the impacts of the plain clothes bike patrol ? Since the commencement, there has been a 50 per cent reduction in vehicle/bicycle collision. This has been achieved with little expense save for a “roll up” mat, which is used to illustrate the safe 1.5 meter “safety” zone passing distance around a cyclist.
The plain clothes police cyclists have been so effective, there are plans to undertake this operation in another 16 cities in Great Britain.