Police have announced a ‘zero tolerance’ policing measure to combat cyclist deaths, after a London man became the sixth cyclist to die in the capital in the last two weeks. The policing measure will see specialist traffic officers deployed on every major street in London. From Monday, they will be on the lookout for motorists using mobile phones, drivers stopping in ‘bike boxes’ at traffic lights, and cyclists riding on the inside of HGVs.
The new safety measures were announced after the death of Richard Muzira, a father of two and volunteer filmmaker, who died after being dragged under the wheels of a tipper truck on Camberwell Road in South London on Monday. His colleagues referred to him a “real hero.”
Michelle Baharier, a colleague of Mr. Muzira, has described his death as “absolutely, one million per cent devastating.” She went on to say that Mr Murza was a “fantastic, wonderful human being” who was “really caring, really supportive, helpful to everyone and very passionate.”
Ms Baharier revealed that Mr Murzira’s bicycle was a collective present, bought by his colleagues, after his previous cycle was stolen in a burglary earlier this year.
One witness who saw the aftermath of the accident that killed Mr Murza said he “came past and saw people panicking around the side of the lorry… [Mr Murza] was trapped under the wheels at the back of the truck, people were screaming, there was nothing that they could do.”
Boris Johnson has placed some of the onus on cyclists to protect themselves, saying he thinks cyclists using headphones whilst riding on London streets are an ‘absolute scourge’. He went on to say that he would ‘not be against a prohibition or ban on cyclists wearing headphones.’
The Mayor’s cycling commissioner, Andrew Gilligan, said police “will be stopping lorries and cars and where there is unsafe driving they will be taken off the road.” Although the measure is only short-term, Mr Gilligan added that the Mayor and the police feel they “must act as a result of the recent spare of appalling accidents.”
Mr Murzira’s death takes the number of cyclists to be killed in London to six in just 14 days. 14 cyclists have died on London’s roads so far this year.
In 2012, there were 14 cyclists’ deaths, while in 2011 a total of 16 cyclists were killed.
The Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety has called on Mr Johnson to take “urgent action” to make cyclists safer.
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