We have decided to POSTPONE rather than CANCEL this conference until later this year – we will set a new date in the summer with our speakers as the COVID-19 situation develops. We have had substantial interest in the conference and think it would be wrong to abandon it. Regrettably road danger will not disappear in the meantime, and the need for such events will continue. Hopefully a new spirit of concern for public safety in the current emergency can give impetus to efforts to reduce road danger.
We look forward to re-posting details of the event later in the year.
(This article appeared in the 19th July 2019 issue of Local Transport Today as “Viewpoint” – online here)
Last week Lord Berkeley retired after 26 years as President of the Road Danger Reduction Forum (RDRF). So what has been achieved since we were set up in 1993? Is road danger being properly addressed? And since governance of policy on safety on the road is always part of wider transport policy, is the way our society views transport what we need for the 21st century? Despite some positive developments, the answer for both is no.
Here is an update of Police Services that are currently, or have been recently carrying out policing of close passing of cyclists.
As Secretariat for WMPRHRT we’re pleased to report on this approach adopted by them and described by PC Mark Hodson at the Leicester University Law School March 29th conference on Law Enforcement and Vulnerable Road Users.
At the “Cycle City Active City” conference in Manchester in July Road Safety Minister Jesse Norman commended the work on policing close passing of cyclists sby PCs Mark Hodson and Steve Hudson of the West Midlands Police Road Harm Reduction Team (WMPRHRT), saying his Department “plans to build on it – it is a very effective way of building awareness and reducing casualties”.
By now readers of posts on this site will be aware of the existence of operations policing the close passing of cyclists and related enforcement based on reducing road danger at source. Our last update of what is happening nationally is here.
This post is about the work WMPRHRT carry out in general. For us they have been setting the Gold Standard for road danger reduction policing with the typical resources (the Metropolitan Police being the exception that proves the rule here) of a Police Service.
At the “Cycle City Active City” conference in Manchester last week Road Safety Minister Jesse Norman commended the work on policing close passing of cyclists by PCs Mark Hodson and Steve Hudson of the West Midlands Police Road Harm Reduction Team, saying his Department “plans to build on it – it is a very effective way of building awareness and reducing casualties”. We’ll have a look at what this means.
We have also had headlines about 3rd party reporting of driver law breaking – and a new initiative in London. Let’s see what is actually happening – and what may, or may not happen – on the ground.
I was pleased to attend the launch of Operation Snap in Cardiff on December 19th. It has significant implications for traffic law enforcement and the involvement of the public in reporting bad driving to the police.
Some of the 42 delegates
On September 19th the Road Danger Reduction Forum, in partnership with West Midlands Police, held a training day on “Policing close passing of cyclists and related behaviours” courtesy of West Midlands Fire Service in Birmingham. Below is a brief report back on the current situation, a year after RDRF gave a special award to the ground breaking work done by West Midlands Police
Since that time RDRF has been acting as Secretariat for WMP’s work in this area, collecting and disseminating information to and from Police Services throughout the UK, with an information pack sent out to interested forces. There has been a flurry of initiatives during that time, with a variety of operations carried out. A particular new area is the development of 3rd party reporting, which we highlight as it is likely to involve a significant change in traffic policing.
Below is a summary of reports back from Police Services which attended the training day Continue reading
The main RDRF activity this year has been supporting the roll out of police operations targeting close passing of cyclists and related behaviours. Today we were pleased to attend and support the launch of the Met’s initiative in this kind of law enforcement, called “Space for Cyclists”, in south London.
RDRF Chair Dr Robert Davis with Duncan Dollimore of CyclingUK and Sgt. Andy Osborne of the Met’s Cycle Safety Team
We think road traffic law enforcement is a key element in potentially reducing danger on the roads. Whatever changes in highway and vehicle engineering occur, the safety of all road users will depend at least partly on how the law is enforced. Of course, what happens with sentencing is also key, but here we address the way the police operate. Most importantly, how the police behave should be seen as a central element of how society accepts or stigmatises behaviours.
Our view is that the attitudes of the police will at least partly reflect the prejudices of ordinary members of the public in what is a motor-centred society. We have criticised elements of policing in the past and suggested ways in which it can be improved. In the worst cases we have argued that the response (or lack of it) to rule- or law-breaking driving makes this society “nothing less than fundamentally uncivilised”.
But we have recently seen what appears to be a fundamental change in some police forces with the adoption of policing of close passing of cyclists .We will be monitoring and reporting on developments in this area. Most importantly, along with what happens with other elements of the legal system, we note that the way policing is done is a reflection of whether road danger is seen – as it would be in a civilised society – as the problem it is.
Below we comment on the good and the bad in police services at the beginning of 2017.