Met Police Cycle Officer in suspected criminal offence
A few days ago, I rode past two members of the Met police’s cycle unit who had stopped a motorist for some reason. I sneakily took some pictures.
The pictures show two things.
First, I’ll never be a professional photographer (sorry).
But more importantly, there appeared to be something untoward going on. This close-up provides further evidence:
This officer’s bike didn’t have pedal reflectors. I’ve noticed this a lot with the police – about half the police bikes I see have sturdy metal pedals with no reflectors on them.
I’ve posted before about the rules on bike lights and reflectors. The requirements for bikes include two pedal reflectors on each pedal – one facing the front and one facing the rear – which have to be “amber” (i.e. orange). You’re exempt if your bicycle was manufactured before 1 October 1985 – but looking at the photos, it seems fairly likely that this officer’s bike is newer than that. (RVLR r. 18(1); Sch 1 table 3; Sch 20 pt. 1 paras. 1-6)
The requirements only apply after sunset – so this particular officer wasn’t committing an offence at the time. But if he stayed out on the bike past sunset, he’d be committing an offence. His colleagues could give him a fixed penalty notice (if they were in uniform at the time), or could prosecute him, in which case he’d be liable to a fine of up to £1000. (RVLR r. 4(3)(c); RTA s.41(1), 41(4)(b), 42; RTOA ss. 51, 54, Sch 2, 3)
Of course it may be that the Met Police don’t let their cycle units out after dark. Or it may be that every evening there’s an I am Legend-style dash to the station before the last shards of sunlight disappear over the horizon.
Either way, this highlights a bit of a conundrum when it comes to rules like this: why do we have laws which aren’t enforced? The pedal reflector rule is a particularly good example, since so many people ride around with ‘clip-in’-style pedals which lock to their shoes and are too small to have visible reflectors in them. If the rule was enforced, you’d get a fixed penalty for using clip-in pedals after dark. As far as I’m aware, this never happens.
Wouldn’t the road rules make more sense if this rule was repealed?
Photos by UKcyclerules. Licensed cc by-nc-nd.