Meeting Road Safe London

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.

Road Safe:

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.

Exchanging Places:

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.

My Cycling:

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.

8 thoughts on “Meeting Road Safe London

    1. Oops, omitted the word book!

      But Cyclecraft is an excellent resource and while I haven’t finished it yet, I haven’t found any recommendations for cycling in it that have been any less than excellent.

  1. I hope this thing is more than just treating the symptoms of the problem. Its all very well to tell us to expect, and plan for the worst but things won’t get any better until the cause of the problem is dealt with; careless and dangerous driving. These schemes, similar to advising helemts and high-visibility clothing for cyclists and advising pedestrians to not dress darkly at night are helping to shift the blame for the results of reckless driving onto the victims, whilst helpong to absolve the guilty of their responsibility.

    Learning to be a better cyclist is a good thing, but there needs to be a huge improvement from those on the “supply” side of road violence, not just those who bear its brunt.

    1. Mr colostomy,

      Your points are well-made, but until we achieve a Holland-like cycling Nirvana, cyclists need practicable ways to cycle and remain alive in the meantime. All the time we need to press our elected representatives about what is required in-terms of improved cycling facilities; changes in legislation and educating the public. We also need to educate or humilate the idiots who believe the anti-cyclist gutter-press with banner claims like ‘cyclists don’t pay road tax’; ‘a cyclist has a larger carbon foot-print than a car’; and coming soon to the Daily Fail and/or the Murdoch press: ‘lycra-louts ate my hummer’.

    2. Road safe gives us the ability to report dangerous driving. And the police will act if they can, be it a letter or an arrest. As one of the most vulnerable road users, we should take care in our actions on the road. I see far to many cyclists putting them selfs in positions which are very dangerous, and they could easily be knocked off i the situation changes.

      The police can’t be around 24/7. So defensive riding is the best answer in the long run. and anything you can report they can deal with.

  2. I’ve just reported a coach driver driving on a mobile phone that I got on camera on my commute to work – really just to see what the process was like to report careless driving.

    I called the local police force, gave them the details, they seemed bemused that I had it on video, and even more bemused when I gave them the YouTube link.

    They’ve contacted me back and have asked for me to give a statement to the police via a visit to the station or a home visit… Does the London road safe scheme work in the same way as this? Seems like I’m causing a lot of work just to tell them about an unsafe driver and I’m not sure it’s worth it.

    1. The roadsafe london system is very different, you just fill out the online form and include a link to the youtube video and they will have a look. If they think the driving behaviour is dangerous or not right then they will contact the driver and inform them of what has happened and put it on a record.
      It works well because they are traffic officers and they care about the road. The police officer you probably spoke too was not a traffic officer and therefor couldn’t care less.
      Going through the police is a lot of hard work.

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