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Massive London police traffic enforcement operation next week

News of operation comes as names released of two recent fatalities

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

The planned operation comes as the victims of the most recent fatal cycling crashes on London roads were identified as 60-year-old Richard Muzira and 21-year-old Khalid Al-Hashimi.

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.

Acknowledged by the Telegraph as a leading cycling journalist, John Stevenson has been writing about bikes and cycling for over 30 years since discovering that people were mug enough to pay him for it rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work.

He was heavily involved in the mountain bike boom of the late 1980s as a racer, team manager and race promoter, and that led to writing for Mountain Biking UK magazine shortly after its inception. He got the gig by phoning up the editor and telling him the magazine was rubbish and he could do better. Rather than telling him to get lost, MBUK editor Tym Manley called John’s bluff and the rest is history.

Since then he has worked on MTB Pro magazine and was editor of Maximum Mountain Bike and Australian Mountain Bike magazines, before switching to the web in 2000 to work for CyclingNews.com. Along with road.cc editor Tony Farelly, John was on the launch team for BikeRadar.com and subsequently became editor in chief of Future Publishing’s group of cycling magazines and websites, including Cycling Plus, MBUK, What Mountain Bike and Procycling.

John has also written for Cyclist magazine, edited the BikeMagic website and was founding editor of TotalWomensCycling.com before handing over to someone far more representative of the site's main audience.

He joined road.cc in 2013 and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

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