The head of traffic enforcement for London's police defended an operation in which officers have been stopping dozens of highway engineers and politicians to advise them on safety, in the wake of a recent cluster of cyclist casualties.
"If I'm truly honest, what we're trying to do here is our best to save lives and keep people safe, both from serious and more minor injuries. Quite honestly, some of these traffic engineers haven't got a clue. They have no idea how to design safely. It's high time they were registered and made to take a test. "
"Some of the cases that we've seen in the last few days really make your heart bleed because you can see that politicians have taken decisions that really did put road users' lives in danger. While deaths are not always the designer's fault, if they don't follow the rules there's no amount of good behaviour by cyclists that is going to save people's lives".
In the operation, 2,500 officers are being deployed to enforce good road and junction design in the capital's most notorious accident blackspots.
There is evidence of a high level of offending by highways engineers in terms of design defects. In one previous operation, 99% of designs were found to have at least one serious defect, including the failure to separate HGVs from cyclists.
Politicians are also being warned not to wear headphones. "This kind of behaviour can only isolate you from the reality of the road environment in a dangerous way...Call me illiberal, but it makes me absolutely terrified to see them bowling along completely unaware of Continental good practice and disconnected from reality."