As a borough representative on the London Road Safety Council, London’s longest established road safety organisation, I attended last week our quarterly meeting, at which we considered the impact of the Metropolitan Police’s road safety campaign, Operation Safeway.
Since this major campaign began on November 25, more than 4,000 fixed penalty notices have been handed out to riders for offences such as cycling on pavements, jumping red lights and not having lights after dark and more than 10,000 drivers have been fined for offences such as jumping red lights and using a mobile phone while driving.
The observation of the police is that since the campaign began they are handing out fewer penalties and it is the view of the London Road Safety Council too that this blitz on improving the behaviour of London’s road users is having a good effect.
Normally on my journey up to the City to attend these meetings, it has sadly been my experience to witness at least three or more incidences of extremely dangerous traffic signal violations and near-misses of pedestrians by thoughtless cyclists, many of whom risk potentially fatal injuries through not wearing a safety helmet.
On my journey last week, following operation Safeway, I was pleasantly surprised that not one incident was spotted or recorded on my in-car automatic camera, which fact I reported to the London Road Safety Council meeting.
On a less hopeful note, this situation did not hold out for the rest of the day, as on re-entering Waltham Forest, two such violations occurred.
I hope that citizens of Waltham Forest, and in particular friends and constituents in Chingford, will resolve to take care on our roads and avoid danger to themselves and heartache for families suffering the loss of a loved one through lack of care on the road.
Road safety is a matter dear to me and as we start a new year, I express my hope that 2014 sees a good improvement in the borough’s road safety record and that the encouraging impact of Operation Safeway endures.
Geoff Walker, Member for Hatch Lane, Waltham Forest Council.