The Met is to kick off the first day of its 2009 cycling safety programme by teaming up with a host of partners in the largest ever awareness day next Tuesday.
Officers from the Met’s Traffic Unit, supported by TFL and the London Cycling Campaign (LCC), will be working simultaneously across four popular cyclist routes in London during morning rush hours to educate and raise awareness of the dangers and risks of collisions between cyclists and lorry drivers.
This includes the Exchanging Places initiative, where cyclists are invited to sit inside a lorry’s cab to see the limited vision of the driver on the nearside of the vehicle.
The lorries at each site will then converge at St Paul’s churchyard at midday, where the Met will be joined by officers from the City of London Police’s Road Policing Unit to deliver the message to cyclists in the City. City of London Police will also be offering to cancel penalty tickets issued to cyclists in the City this week in exchange for attending the event.
Officers will also be stopping and speaking to lorry drivers to raise awareness of these collisions and distributing special mirrors called ‘Fresnel lens’ to lorry drivers who do not have forward facing and side facing mirrors. These mirrors stick to the driver’s nearside window and allow greater visibility.
This operation is one of the many safety awareness events held by the Met throughout the year to support the Share the Roads campaign. The MPS is working with a number of partners including TfL, the LCC and Freight Transport Association (FTA) to hold regular events and develop new initiatives to ensure London’s roads can be a safer place for all road users. Last year 13 cyclists died on London’s roads, nine of those in collisions with a lorry.
Inspector Graham Horwood from the Met’s Traffic Unit said: “The number of cyclists killed following a collision with a lorry represented nearly 70% of total deaths of cyclists on London’s roads last year and we are determined this will not be repeated in 2009.
“The Met is working with our partners to raise awareness of the dangers for both cyclists and HGV drivers. I would urge cyclists to attend one of the sites during this operation and learn why these collisions occur and how they can be avoided – it could save your life.”