As a Met Police volunteer I was given the unique opportunity today wo work with a large number of Met Police officers and support officers and staff to help promote Vision Zero policy in NW8, which aims to eliminate all deaths and serious injuries on London’s roads by 2041. Vision Zero is supported by TfL, GLA, MPS and other partners within the Mayor’s transport strategy.
Today we worked mainly with cyclists and all those who breached laws were pulled over and given the choice of amnesty or pay an on the spot £50 fine. This was meant to raise awareness and educate cyclists. Other road users were also reprimanded if they breached rules but this was done by officers only and not volunteers like myself.
All cyclists but one politely chose amnesty, whilst one cyclist had an aggressive and rejective and very provocative attitude.
I told all those I dealt with that adhering to all rules of cycling and the highway code is the best option for all to stay safe on the road.
Some cyclists tried to circumvent the lane and overtook cars on the other side of the road to get to the front of the queue and the cycling box. Others didn’t stop at the thick white line when the light was red, whilst a few actually sped up to jump the red light.
A few cars also stopped within the cycle box, motorbikes drove in the cycle lane. A couple of boys were found to have unregulated hire bikes, which were not hired by them or had not been docked for a long time.
It is very worthwhile to spend the time speaking to cyclists about their attitude to their own safety and to ensure that trying to save 30 seconds with dangerous manoeuvres will not improve their life. Nervous traffic violations will usually cause a chain reaction in that when one road user breaks the rules, a few others follow suite. Other road users get nervous when they see dangerous behaviour from others and may swerve to avoid sudden impacts, which again can cause accidents.
In the two-year period from 2020 – 2022, there were
- 12 fatal accidents involving cyclists
- 1,519 serious accidents involving cyclists
- 6,723 slight accidents involving cyclists
- 126 serious casualties
- 513 slight casualties involving bicycles.
It is simply not as easy as to generally blame all traffic provision, cars or larger vehicles for accidents. A lot of cyclists didn’t properly adhere to rules.
I’ve heard one cyclist say that he didn’t have an accident in 40 years, to which I replied that this is no guarantee that he doesn’t have an accident in the future. It only takes two people to break the rules at the same time to smash into each other in a freak accident.
Overall a speed reduction to 20 MpH is meant to help, I am not certain how that speed will be measured for cyclists who can go significantly faster.