WestEndExtra

The independent London newspaper

Police aim their efforts at cyclists

23 September, 2021

‘It seems that the current stance of the local police is to target the potential victims of dangerous road behaviour rather than the people causing the danger’

• YOU reported that some long overdue, and perfectly obvious, changes will finally be made to the Southampton Row / Theobalds Road junction, making it much safer for cyclists, (‘Swift’ safety action is welcomed by cyclists, September 16).

Unfortunately some you interviewed also called for larger-scale road changes in the area to follow, despite some of those mooted being of little practical benefit (in some ways the opposite); though they no doubt look good on a planner’s artwork.

Furthermore the money spent on one such mega-scheme would be enough to fix many other junctions for miles around. And it’s junctions where most of the danger is.

However the police seem not to have got the message about supporting cyclists at that spot. One afternoon recently I spotted two police there, watching over the junction.

Were they nabbing any of the people turning from the wrong lane there (which, as we know, can kill cyclists)? No.

Were they hauling up any of the drivers going through the junction while using a mobile phone (also potentially lethal, of course)? No.

Were they stopping reckless riders of illegal motorised scooters, who were putting people’s lives at risk? No, not that either.

They were stopping… cyclists! They stopped one who had cycled very sedately round that corner, but without waiting for the green light from his direction.

Presumably he’d done so since that’s the only safe way to make that turn while the current layout exists. He threatened absolutely no one else in the slightest and potentially saved himself from being run down.

It seems that the current stance of the local police is to target the potential victims of dangerous road behaviour rather than the people causing the danger.

ALBERT BEALE
Little Russell Street, WC1

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