A Metropolitan Police clampdown on dangerous lorries – which have been responsible for a disproportionate number of cyclist deaths – has revealed a "disturbing" level of defective vehicles and illegal driving in the capital.
The London police force found fault with more than 60 percent of the lorries it stopped in the first two months of a campaign against dangerous construction lorries. Contraventions included driving without insurance, poor maintenance and missing mirrors and sidebars, which are designed to stop cyclists being dragged under wheels.
Among the figures reported in The Times today, 622 of the 821 lorries failed to comply with safety regulations. Police impounded 14 lorries because of the magnitude of the vehicle's faults or because they were being driven illegally.
The police campaign was started after six cyclists were killed during a 13-day period in November 2013.
Martin Key, British Cycling's campaigns manager, said: "This level of law-breaking is disturbing and shows that as a country we have to do a much better job of looking after each other on the roads.
"HGVs are involved in a disproportionate number of collisions with people on bikes and on foot, so we applaud the Met Police for running this targeted operation, which shows a clear and immediate need for greater levels of enforcement."
Later this year, lorries without safety equipment will be fined £200 if they enter the city centre under proposals outlined in September 2013 by London's mayor, Boris Johnson.
Last week, an inquest into the death of climate change scientist Dr Katherine Giles in Victoria Street in April 2013, found she was killed after entering a left-turning lorry's blind spot.