Nearly ten people a day in London suffer injuries as a result of hit-and-run collisions, according to figures obtained by the Evening Standard. The newspaper adds that 15 people were killed, and more than 300 seriously hurt, in the 3,400 such incidents that took place in 2010. Jenny Jones, Green Party mayoral candidate, says an increase in the number of illegal drivers in the capital is to blame, together with a cut in police budgets.
Cyclists who have lost their lives in hit-and-run incidents in London in recent years include 46-year-old Michael McLean from Walthamstow, who was killed on Forest Road in 2007, Kim Vin Thi from Southwark, aged 61, who was struck by a motorcycle while riding on the northbound cycle lane on Blackfriars Bridge in 2003, and 31-year-old Adrianna Skrzypiec, who was hit by a lorry in Greenwich two years ago.
While the number of hit-and-run incidents on the capital’s streets is well below the 5,800 seen in 2002, Ms Jones, who is a member of the Metropolitan Police Authority, described the current level of such collisions as “astonishing.”
"The traffic police are a small but incredibly efficient part of the Met and they do a fantastic job in very difficult circumstances,” she said.
“But the number of hit-and-runs London is seeing is absolutely astonishing. Something really needs to be done about it,” Ms Jones continued.
"My belief is that it's to do with the increasing numbers of illegal drivers who are on the roads. It's all about good enforcement.
"We can't catch all these drivers without good enforcement and that means the traffic police having the funds to do their job.”
The Standard reports, however, that the Metropolitan Police’s Traffic Operational Command unit has seen its budget cut from £47 million in 2009/10 to less than £45 million this year.
"If they are not being given the proper funding and are losing officers, then they are not going to be able to work to stop all these hit-and-runs."
"For me it's a no-brainer,” Ms Jones added. “I am furious that the traffic police have had their budget cut like this. It doesn't seem right. This is a huge problem in London and it’s getting worse.”
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.