Opinion: This is not fine – cops should not hide on cycleways

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We deserve better than this.

All road users – motorists, cyclists and pedestrians – deserve better than this.

A NSW Police Force highway patrol officer parked his unmarked car across a busy bicycle and pedestrian path to catch drivers speeding on the other side of a concrete barrier over the Anzac weekend.

The officer wore dark sunglasses while staring through a speed gun from the leather driver’s seat of a $120,000 BMW luxury sedan.

Annoyed that my running path was blocked by the speed trap, I filmed a quick video.

“This is bullshit,” I said.

Many people agreed.

The video received 500,000 views on TikTok by Monday morning, attracting 47,000 likes and more than 1400 comments.

The most “liked” comment was a simple sentiment:

“It’s why people have lost respect for police.”

Many agreed the police car should not have blocked a path reserved for pedestrians and pushbikes to get a better view of speeding drivers.

Viewers on TikTok said they were “actually sickened” by “disgusting behaviour” from an officer “breaking the law to catch people breaking the law”.

The hidden car was described as “one of the worst ones I’ve seen” and “an absolute joke done with malice”.

“I’ve gotten used to them hiding, but not on a bike path,” another user said.

“FFS, that’s there to keep cyclists safe, not for cars to hide on!”

Australian basketball legend Andrew Bogut even weighed into the conversation.

“It’s for YOUR SAFETY!!! Everything is for YOUR SAFETY!” he wrote.

The NSW Government’s decision to apply a lengthy double demerits period for a midweek public holiday was also questioned.

“Utter disgrace that it was double demerits this weekend when it was a normal weekend, Thursday was the public holiday,” said one.

“Five days of double demerits for one day of public holiday is a joke on its own let alone the cops out to get us on the roads,” said another.

It wasn’t one way traffic.

Plenty of folks were quick to point out that “if you don’t speed you don’t need to worry”, “maybe if you didn’t speed you wouldn’t get booked” and that “people need to take some f — ing responsibility for their actions”.

I asked the police media unit for clarification on whether highway patrol officers are allowed to block bike paths for extended periods.

I also took a look at the NSW Police Force standards of professional conduct, which set a standard for how police should behave.

I reckon the unmarked car parked in a dangerous manner on a busy cycleway might fall short of these points:

“An employee of the NSW Police Force must behave honestly and in a way that upholds the values and good reputation of the NSW Police Force whether on or off duty.”

“An employee of the NSW Police Force must act with care and diligence when on duty.”

“An employee of the NSW Police Force must treat everyone with respect, courtesy and fairness.”

“An employee of the NSW Police Force must comply with the law whether on or off duty.”

Beat the Blue puts police on track with enthusiasts

Flipping the page over to the “Statement of Values” section of the police personnel handbook, police are required to act in a manner which “places integrity above all” and “seeks to improve the quality of life by community involvement in policing”.

I’m not anti-cop.

I donate to Police Legacy and support the highway patrol’s brilliant “Beat the Blue” charity event with no small amount of publicity and personal time.

I also believe high-visibility policing serves the community better than unmarked black BMWs hidden from view.

Particularly when they are parked across the path I’m trying to run on.

We all certainly deserve better than that.

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