A massive police operation is planned next week to try and halt the run of crashes between cyclists and motor vehicles in London that has seen six fatalities so far this month.
According to the Evening Standard, traffic officers will be on duty on every major street, looking out for drivers using mobile phones, stopping in Advanced Stop Line ‘bike boxes’ and cyclists riding on the inside of HGVs.
The operation comes despite Boris Johnson and Transport for London insisting they would not be rushed into action after the recent deaths.
However, London’s cycling commissioner, Andrew Gilligan, said the move was essential to reassure cyclists and prevent further loss of life.
He said: “This is a new zero-tolerance approach with a police officer on every main road in central London from Monday which is a huge escalation to the checks we are doing already.
“They will be stopping lorries and cars and where there is unsafe driving they will be taken off the road. We will also target unsafe cyclists. It is a short-term measure but the Mayor and the police feel we must act as a result of the recent spate of appalling accidents.”
Chief Superintendent Glyn Jones, head of the Met’s Traffic Command, said: “This is a police response to save lives and save injury.
“We have reviewed the level of deaths in the last weeks and in response to public concern we are redeploying officers during the rush hour to where we know there are a high number of collisions. We will be applying road traffic laws to all road users. We will be focusing on people driving carelessly or recklessly, whether they are lorry or car drivers or cyclists.”
Mr Jones said half of all cyclists killed on London’s roads since January 2010 have been going down the inside of lorries. “They may well have the right to be there but the fact is it is a dangerous manoeuvre.”
Most recent crash victims named
An inquest into the death of Khalid Al-Hashimi from the NW6 area of London was opened in Poplar today, but no further details have yet been made available.
Originally from Zimbabwe, Richard Muzira had been imprisoned and tortured for his role in the struggle against white minority rule. He was described as a “local hero” and a “wonderful man” who had won an award for his voluntary work.
His daughter Niadzi, a 24-year-old web-designer, said: “I’m so proud of my dad. He wrote books, plays and poetry, he was a bit of a maverick. He was always very active learning and teaching himself.”
Mr Muzira had volunteered for many years at mental health charity CoolTan Arts. The organisation’s chief executive Michelle Baharier, said: “You couldn’t ask for a more lovely person than Richard. He was a fantastic friend. He was really community-spirited and was a complete and utter intellectual. He was a very calm and really astute person.
“This has come as such a shock to all of us here.”
Yesterday evening another cyclist was taken to hospital after a collision with a lorry less than half a mile from the junction where Richard Muzira died.
Paramedics were called to the junction of Camberwell New Road and Wyndham Road at 5pm last night where they treated a man in his 30s for leg injuries before he was transferred to hospital.
Six cyclists have died in collisions with vehicles in London this month, and a total of 12 have been killed in the UK.
Our official grumpy Northerner, John has been riding bikes for over 30 years since discovering as an uncoordinated teen that a sport could be fun if it didn't require you to catch a ball or get in the way of a hulking prop forward.
Road touring was followed by mountain biking and a career racing in the mud that was as brief as it was unsuccessful.
Somewhere along the line came the discovery that he could string a few words together, followed by the even more remarkable discovery that people were mug enough to pay for this rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work. He's pretty certain he's worked for even more bike publications than Mat Brett.
The inevitable 30-something MAMIL transition saw him shift to skinny tyres and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.