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'Police spot checks on cycle lights and hands-free phoning to stop'

Friday 01 June 2012

The police will no longer set up systematic traffic controls to catch cyclists without lights or motorists who hold their mobile phones while driving, Trouw reports on Friday.

The change in approach stems from police-commissioned research which shows there is no evidence cycling with lights or hands-free phoning is safer, the paper says.

The paper says the public prosecution department has accepted recommendations from the road safety research council SWOV which analysed the performance and success rates of the special police checks. The research is due to be formally presented on Friday.

New focus

Each of the country's 26 police forces has a special traffic control team which are responsible for nearly all the traffic fines. They will now focus on speeding and drink drivers, the paper says.

Nevertheless, cyclists and motorists should not think they can get away scot free, the paper points out. Police officers who come across cyclists without lights or motorists using their phones still face fines - only the systematic traffic controls are being abandoned.

The newspaper publication caused a flurry of activity at the justice ministry later in the day. The public prosecution department later issued a statement following intervention by justice minister Ivo Opstelten, who told reporters he disagreed with the revised priorities.

In the statement, the department said: 'The public prosecution department is not changing anything in the way it maintains road safety. The SWOV report confirms that the police are focused on the right issues.'

© DutchNews.nl


Readers' Comments

"police-commissioned research which shows there is no evidence cycling with lights or hands-free phoning is safer".
Ok, fine, feel free to cycle at night without lights. That really sounds like the safest thing to do.
I really think this country is getting worse and worse.

By joanna | 1 June 2012 10:15 AM

...police-commissioned research which shows there is no evidence cycling with lights...is safer.

Bizarre. Why then are motor vehicles required to have lights? Decorative purposes?

By Puck | 1 June 2012 10:53 AM

"Police officers who come across cyclists without lights or motorists using their phones still face fines." Who's fining who?

By Kevin | 1 June 2012 2:21 PM

What?!?! Who is doing this research that deems "there is no evidence cycling with lights or hands-free phoning is safer."?

So it's not dangerous for cyclists to ride around with lights at night nor is it dangerous for car drivers to drive with their mobile phones.

Sorry: whoever did this 'research' are IDIOTS! Along with the police.

By Pip | 1 June 2012 5:01 PM

It was NEVER about safety! Otherwise their target would have been the motorists who are behind a 2 tonne piece of metal and don't necessarily drive safely or defensively who might be dangerous to other motorists, pedestrians or cyclists. It was an easy and safe way to make money and meet their quotas. While I don't support biking without lights, it should have never been the focus...

By Michael K | 1 June 2012 10:12 PM

Great. As a pedestrian - not only can cyclists run red lights and try to kill me on pavements (on a daily basis) - they are now officially allowed to do so.

If I'm in a car they can do anything with impunity.

As a cyclist and pedestrian - don't get me started on drivers phoning.

By Fred | 1 June 2012 11:26 PM

Been almost killed by an articulated truck driver who was arguing so hard on the phone that he told me he never even felt the impact of driving over my car .... ...while I was stopped at red traffic lights!!! There is no excuse for not paying attention while driving and the Law should full support this.

By Gerard | 2 June 2012 12:18 PM

Maybe riding a bike with out light is ok. But if a bike does not have lights is very difficult car or motor bikers will spot them in the night. I guess if you run on a bike with no light during the night you will have less insurance / fines problems!!

By G | 2 June 2012 2:10 PM

It always amazed me the number of cyclists I saw on dark winter mornings with no lights. But if a driver hits them it's the motorists fault!
PS> I always make sure my lights are good.

By Donaugh | 2 June 2012 3:07 PM

I have no problem with this - it frees up the police to chase people who think it's fine to use Twitter on their mobiles while driving.

(Note to Dutchies: Using Twitter or other social media while driving or using a bike, especially at junctions! is, indeed, dangerous. You can however wait for the official research to prove what everyone else already knows!)

By osita | 2 June 2012 8:04 PM

On a wet winters morning it's hard enough to see the road, never mind cyclists without lights! Common sense alone tells me to use lights... The report was probably sponsored by some mobile phone company.

By Jayo | 4 June 2012 12:46 PM

Lights only illuminate the front and back. They do not light up the sides, which is exactly where I got hit by a car back in March.

By Chris V | 4 June 2012 1:07 PM

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