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Police use undercover electric motorbike in road safety trial

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An unmarked Zero SR/F electric motorbike ridden by a plain clothed officer stopped and prosecuted or warned 84 drivers over a two-week period.

Footage from a body mounted camera captured car drivers putting motorcyclists in danger. One motorcyclist was also found to be riding recklessly during the trail, which saw marked motorcycles intercept offenders identified by the Zero mounted officer.

PC Paul Ennis (pictured), from the West Midlands Police’s Road Harm Prevention Team, rode the Zero during the trial. He said: “I myself ride into work every day and found myself in situations where drivers had pulled out in front of me. The operation involved riding around the most vulnerable locations for motorcyclists, where the majority of collisions occur, and when endangered by a driver or witnessing a driver committing an offence which could potentially endanger a motorcyclist we would call in a marked motorcyclist to intercept and deal with the offence. 

“The operation was widely publicised, in order that drivers who don’t actively look out for bikes would start to do so, especially when they also learn that West Midlands Police actively encourages motorcyclists who ride with cameras to send us their footage via our digital reporting portal so we can use it to prosecute also. This ensures a constant, credible threat of prosecution from not only our unmarked motorcyclist but also any motorcyclist. Once drivers are aware of the operation, they remain on the lookout for those on two wheels. They start looking previously where they didn’t and the resulting behaviour change creates a safer environment.”

Due to Birmingham’s plan to introduce a Clean Air Zone (CAZ) in January 2020, West Midlands Police felt that a fully electric motorbike was most appropriate for the operation.

PC Ennis added: “I took the bike out every day, and did quite a few miles on it in wet and dry weather. Overall I was really impressed with the machine and range was never an issue, we simply charged it up every night and rode it during the day.”

Fleet managers and company car drivers can access the FleetNews interactive UK Clean Air Zone map here.  

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