Saturday, 19 October 2013

An unexpected hazard of cycle routes

This story was brought to my attention by the estwhile folks at Sky News.

It appears that a cyclist, while carrying out a lawful manoeuvre (maneuver, for those on the other side of the Pond), upset a policeman, who was carrying out an unlawful manoeuvre (maneuver), on the same, clearly marked "cycle box" at a junction
Luckily, the cyclist was equipped with a helmet cam to capture the exchange.

I know that the saying goes that as you get older, the policemen start to look younger, but not only is this policeman younger than me, he seems to have less knowledge of the basic aspects of cycle law and road design as well.

While many policeman carry out a difficult job in difficult circumstances, and face many situations where whatever they do or don't do, someone will thing they are wrong, some policemen in every country in the world seem to think they are "above" the law.

At the very least, policemen (and women) should be adequately trained, and well paid, so that the best candidates are attracted and available for selection - but we all know that cutting the costs of the Police force and privatising the forensics function are the UK Governments priorities at the moment, and wages and training are ideal targets for "quick fix" budget cuts.

I guess there is an element of "you get what you pay for".
It is said "if you have a cheap head, then get a cheap helmet", but I guess you can add "if you want policeman to do less than a proper job, then pay less than a proper wage to policemen".

I live at the other end of the country, and I must say that my personal experience of the local police force is excellent. I'm not doing anything too dodgy (maybe my back brake could be adjusted a bit better?, but I'm nit-picking, and occasionally I cycle on the off-road cyclepath with dim lights, but tbh, I'm not sure what the lighting requirements are for cycling on an off-road cycle path ...), and they leave me alone, and get on with "real" policing, which is how it should be, and I happily pay my local taxes for just that.

ONE of my colleagues at work, whom, like me, cycles to work daily, had a problem with over-aggressive policing locally, ONCE, but that was resolved as being due to an officer that had recently transferred to the lovely area where I live from a large, and sometimes troubled, city. After my colleague complained, the local police force said that the policeman in question needed to adjust his policing style to the "Softly, Softly" approach that is usually more appropriate locally.

But, as I said, my personal experience of local policing, having lived here for 13 years, is excellent.

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