Cyclists encouraged as police tackle road safety across South West London


Operation Safeway has seen officers policing key junctions across the capital.


By Molly Kersey

Police have been prominent at South West London’s accident hotspots this week, after the deaths of six cyclists in 14 days shocked the city.

‘Operation Safeway’, which will see around 2,500 officers policing key junctions during rush hours, aims to make road users safer by enforcing road laws and issuing fixed penalty notices to anyone committing traffic offences as well as educating them about dangers of their actions.

Officers are being deployed at 166 key junctions and around 650 officers were at 60 sites across London on Monday, with this number set to rise as the operation progresses.   

One area where these measures were being enforced was in Vauxhall, where the Met Police carried out spot checks on both cyclists and HGV’s.

One hundred cyclists were stopped and given safety advice as well as 70 lorries being stopped and 15 fixed penalty notices being issued.

“The key thing is it’s encouraging to see the police out actively enforcing the road law,” said Lambeth Cyclists’ borough coordinator Charlie Holland.

“Historically in recent years they’ve been somewhat lax.”

Mr Holland said it was good to see that these measures were being enforced across all road users, rather than just targeting one specific group. He added that he hoped the new measures would make parents feel safer about letting their children cycle as a result. 

“Anything which will actually make parents happier about their children cycling to school and so on, is a good thing,” he sid.

Mr Holland added that children need to be able to move around independently, but at the moment parents are very scared to let them cycle due to the current dangers.

“That’s not the future,” he said.  

Operations lead Superintendent Rob Revill, of the Safer Transport Command, said: “This operation will be intensive and far-reaching. Our aim is to reduce the appalling number of people who die or are injured on London’s roads each year.

“Every road death is a needless tragedy that wreaks devastation for the victim’s friends and family. Every serious injury is life-changing and distressing.

“We welcome the recent debate around road safety but it is irrefutable that the Met and the public have a duty to ensure that we all take the very best care on the roads.”

One cyclist, Karl O’Doherty, said that while he personally had not noticed the effects of the operation there have been road improvements to the Clapham-Kennington road which have made a huge difference to cycling safety.

Asked what improvements have been made, Mr O’Doherty said: “New surface at Oval, it’s really smooth now. Before, cyclists were weaving everywhere to avoid bafflingly large cracks at holes.”

Mr O’Doherty added that other improvements such as large cracks and holes being filled in had made a big difference.

“I feel much safer with that than with anything else.” 

 Photo courtesy of Metropolitan Police, with thanks.

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