The Metropolitan police is sending 650 officers to busy London junctions on Monday, in a bid to improve cyclist safety after the deaths of six people in the last two weeks alone.
Operation Safeway, as it is called, will see 2,500 traffic officers sent out to 166 junctions during rush hours to offer advice and issue fixed penalty notices to people breaking road traffic laws.
Fourteen cyclists have been killed in the capital this year – as many as were killed in the whole of 2012.
Superintendent Rob Revill of the Safer Transport Command said, “Every road death is a needless tragedy that wreaks devastation on the victim’s friends and family. Every serious injury is life-changing and distressing.
“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.”
In August, the government announced investments worth £94m into cycling infrastructure, to make roads safer and friendlier for cyclists.
Some £77m will be divided among Manchester, Leeds, Birmingham, Newcastle, Bristol, Cambridge, Oxford and Norwich. The remaining £17m will go towards the New Forest, Peak District, South Downs and Dartmoor national parks.
The money will fund measures such as road widening and junction upgrades, with the government hoping this will help the UK emulate the cycling success of such countries as the Netherlands and Germany.
Environmentalists and campaigners have long championed cycling as an ideal way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions caused by transport while easing the financial burden on driver’s pockets and helping to solve Britain’s rising obesity levels.
Using a midsized, 20 miles per gallon (mpg) car for a 10-mile round commute, five days a week for a year produces around 1.3 tonnes of climate change contributing CO2.
Cycling, on the other hand, has a benign environmental impact. It creates no atmospheric or noise pollution, consumes no fuels, and does not contribute to congestion.
Roxane Hackwood, school officer at the sustainable transport charity Sustrans, told Blue & Green Tomorrow, “With obesity levels being at an all-time high and petrol prices forever rising, not to mention peak oil and environmental issues, I find it hard to think of reasons why we should not all be making more efforts to travel more actively.”