London’s Met police will hold its largest ever awareness day on 20 January 2009 when the force’s 2009 cycling safety programme gets underway.
Officers from the Met’s Traffic Unit, supported by TFL and the London Cycling Campaign (LCC), will work across four of the capital’s most popular cycle routes during morning rush hours to raise awareness of the dangers and risks of collisions between cyclists and lorry drivers.
According to the force, 13 cyclists died on London’s roads last year, of these nine were involved in collisions with a lorry.
In a key initiative officers will invite cyclists to sit inside a lorry’s cab to see the limited vision of the driver on the nearside of the vehicle. This lack of awareness could lead to a collision.
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.
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.”