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Undercover officer on motorbike used for safety campaign

By Jordan Reynolds | Crime | Published:

An undercover police officer caught 84 drivers endangering motorcyclists in a new crackdown on motorbike safety across the West Midlands.

West Midlands Police has launched a fresh drive to improve motorbike safety and help reduce the risk of serious crashes across the region.

The force is using a plain-clothed officer on an unmarked motorbike to monitor roads and crackdown on drivers who put bike riders’ lives in danger through their reckless actions.

The officer is able to record themselves, or other bikers, being put at risk of harm from car, van or lorry drivers through their poor or dangerous driving. This can then be immediately reported to a traffic cop nearby who can pull the offending driver over.

Body-cam footage was captured during a recent two week trial and shows drivers overtaking motorbikes too close and pulling out on riders in actions which could have caused a crash.

It led to 84 drivers being stopped for endangering a motorcyclist and are being prosecuted for offences such as dangerous driving and driving without due care and attention; or were warned and educated about their potentially fatal actions behind the wheel.

Unmarked police bike captures bad driving on camera

Motorcyclists who break the law or are spotted travelling recklessly themselves also face being stopped and prosecuted. However, during the trial just one was found to be riding dangerously.

The ongoing operation will particularly focus on crash hotspots, usually near junctions, and those stopped will be reminded of the need to be aware of other road users and the risks of being distracted.

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There were 349 fatalities involving motorbikes across the UK in 2017 and officers from the road harm reduction team, which are leading the operation, are hoping to improve behaviour on the roads to make them safer for all users.

Sergeant Jon Butler said: "A motorbike is a popular form of transport and just because it’s on two wheels doesn’t make it any less viable as a car, van or lorry.

“The vast majority of motorcyclists are law-abiding and deserve the same respect as all others on the road; but as we have seen already they are being put at danger by reckless drivers.

“This new operation with an officer on an unmarked electric motorbike enables us to observe actions on the roads and take action where appropriate. It’s not just about enforcement but educating road users about the need to be aware of who is around them and how their actions can put others at risk.

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“Ultimately, we want to keep people safe and reduce serious collisions in the West Midlands."

The initiative is supported by West Midlands Fire Service and Motorcycle Action Group.

Anyone with information on dangerous driving and has footage can report it via the https://west-midlands.police.uk/ website.

Jordan Reynolds

By Jordan Reynolds
Reporter - @jreynolds_star

Senior reporter at the Express & Star.

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