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Page last updated at 17:04 GMT, Monday, 17 August 2009 18:04 UK
Met's drive to halt cycle deaths

Cyclists and lorries
Seven cyclists have died in 2009 already

The dangers of collisions between cyclists and trucks is being highlighted at two safety events in London on Tuesday.

The Met Police's cycling safety event, 'Exchanging Places', will be in The Mall and Trafalgar Square.

The scheme follows the deaths of seven cyclists on London's roads this year through collisions with heavy goods vehicles. It will give cyclists the opportunity to sit inside a truck's cab to see the driver's limited visibility to the nearside.

Officers from the MPS Traffic Unit and the Strand and Whitehall Safer Business Team will be stationed in The Mall during rush hour from 7am.

They will stop and speak to cyclists and encourage them to participate in the scheme before moving locations to Trafalgar Square at 12pm.

Blind spots

Four trucks will be present at this event, two articulated tractor units, provided by manufacturer Scania and vehicle operator Eddie Stobart Haulage, and two rigid tipper trucks provided by operators Clancy Docwra and Riney's Construction.

This is not just something that happens to other people - it could happen to you.
Inspector Graham Horwood

These are modern vehicles, fitted with all the mirrors and visibility aids required by current legislation, and are being used to demonstrate that even with these aids the size of these vehicles does cause blind spots to their driver's nearside.

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 year between January to July nine cyclists have died on London's roads, seven of those were in collision with a heavy goods vehicles.

Wide support

The operation, which is supported by Transport for London (TfL) and the London Cycling Campaign, is one of the many safety awareness events held by the Met throughout the year.

In the last year it held 15 events, most significantly speaking to around 1,000 cyclists on January 20th and on May 20th inviting around 400 cyclists into the cabs.

Smaller events held include bringing 'Exchanging Places' to hospital cyclists at St Guys and St Thomas' and Kings College. Traffic officers also regularly give presentations to businesses to their cycle user groups and speak to HGV drivers and HGV companies about the problem.

Raise awareness

Inspector Graham Horwood from the MPS Traffic Unit said: "Although there is no doubt that the number of people cycling in London has increased, collisions between cyclists and trucks remains a significant problem and affects people of all age ranges and walks of life.

"If you are passing through the Mall or Trafalgar Square please take five minutes to speak to us about these types of collisions and how you can avoid them. This is not just something that happens to other people - it could happen to you."

Can London be a cycling city?
20 Aug 09 |  People & Places


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