Road Safe London is a website which anyone can use to report dangerous/careless driving, uninsured/unlicensed/disqualified drivers and drink drivers. The system is open for anyone to use and it’s really simple and fast to fill in and submit. It’s run by the Metropolitan Police Traffic unit and is designed to help make London’s roads safer.
I’ve been using this system for a few months now and have submitted many of my videos to them for review. The officers that run it have certainly taken a liking to the videos submitted by my self and others, and I was asked if I would like to come in and have a chat about the system and run through a video of mine to see where I can improve my own cycling style for my safety.
Obviously this was a great opportunity and I took them up on it. Today was the day that I went to meet them, talk about the system and review one of my commutes. I was greeted by a friendly group of traffic officers that all wanted a chat. We talked about Road Safe, why it was made, what it’s aims are, The Exchanging Places scheme and how I can be a better cyclist. Below I have listed more information about what was said on each point.
As I said above, road safe is a website which anyone can use to report dangerous/careless driving, uninsured/unlicensed/disqualified drivers and drink drivers. This can be used by anyone to report anyone, although from what I gathered, it’s mostly cyclists that are using it at present.
They sometimes go over some of the reports submitted and obviously video evidence such as mine can bring up some good debates. With many people, with great and valuable experience looking over the incidences that are reported, you can be sure that any response you get is going to be a good one.
Having been on this, I know exactly what it really shows you, and any one that has the opportunity to go and sit in a lorry and see the blind spots, I would strongly suggest them to do so.
They told me about the history, and where the want to take it. I raised an issue from my point of view ‘It’s not widely advertised’, the response I got was ‘How would you suggest we advertise it?’ and that is a very interesting question. From my view, as a cyclist who probably doesn’t need to go on it, it’s very hard to say what they could do to get the right people into the lorries. They have got plans to target more people and anyone they can educate is time well spent.
I had brought along a full length video of my commute, unfortunately due to the restrictions on their computers, we weren’t able to view the videos. But the officers had a great memory, and talked me through a few of my incidences and various things they noticed about my riding. Various things were suggested, such as dodgy pot holes and man-hole covers on the near side rather than out into the road.
An interesting point they made, is that they thought, in some cases, that I should cycle as if I was a motorcyclist. Not so easy for me to picture, as I’ve never done a CBT and have never been on a scooter or motorcycle. What this lead to was positioning on the road and planning ahead, planning ahead is never something I felt was something I struggled with, I look for pot holes and situations where I can slow down to avoid an incident. But from talking to them, and listening to a few of their examples, it was clear that I’m not planning ahead as well as I thought. The best bit of advice was ‘Always expect the worst, and act on it, if it does happen then you’re not surprised and you can avoid it. If it doesn’t happen your no worse off.’ Some very good words from a clearly experienced officer!
To sum it up, the work the traffic unit are doing is fantastic. The road safe tool makes reporting minor incidences to the police very easy and fast. The police will review each case and take action if required. It’s great to know that the people behind the system are very experienced and know what they are talking about.