The Met Police took 166 of London’s traffic junctions hostage this morning. After a recent spate of cycling fatalities across the capital, a ‘major road safety operation’ kicked off today, with 2,500 police officers on the streets ‘making busy London junctions safer’. Codenamed Operation Safeway, the Met are watching for anyone committing an offence on the road.

In reality, the Bobbies appeared to be targeting cyclists jumping red lights, absorbed in their music and generally misbehaving on the road:


Boris Johnson has acknowledged there is much to be done to make London safer for cyclists, especially as more and more people are taking up two-wheeled commuting. But is ‘handing advisory leaflets to those whose behaviour they see is putting them or others at risk of harm on the roads’ the best way to go about it?

I imagine Rod Liddle will approve of this action. He took on sanctimonious cyclists in the Spectator recently, including some of their prattish behaviour:

‘Likewise, riding on the pavements and thus maiming pensioners. The law is clear about this, for a change. They should never do it. But they do it because they feel safer there, of course. Listen, you plastic-hatted ninny: if you don’t have the balls to cycle in the road, then ditch the bike. It is still the case that, mile for mile, pedestrians are far more ‘vulnerable’ than cyclists. Mile for mile, more pedestrians are killed. They — we — are the real victims, even if we do not whine about it continuously. And the number of pedestrians maimed by cyclists is also rising by the year, to the extent that legislation has been proposed to ensure that cyclists respect the laws of the land the same as everyone else.’

The Met are obviously spooked — commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe even admitted he wouldn’t cycle in London — and they’re doing something very public to tackle the outcry. But the root cause — too much traffic and poor dedicated provisions for cyclists — remains unaddressed. On today’s #askboris session, the Mayor said ‘We are working on it…we can’t do segregation everywhere – need to have a general culture of safety and awareness by all users’. Well, a part of that seems to be happening.

Tags: Boris Johnson, cyclists, London, Met Police