Cyclists and pedestrians were able to change places with the driver of a police arctic truck in Sutton Town Centre at lunchtime on Monday, 22 August to see how dangerous it is when they get too close to large vehicles.

Sitting in the cab of the nine tonne vehicle, they received a few minutes’ advice from a specialist traffic police officer.

Although the vehicle has six mirrors and meets European standards, members of the public were surprised how cyclists or pedestrians could not be seen by the driver when they were alongside or immediately in front of the vehicle.

Sgt Simon Castle, Roads Transport Policing Command’s Cycle Safety Team, explained: “Cyclists and pedestrians should avoid getting too close large goods vehicles because drivers will not be able to see them. We hope that initiatives like this will make London even safer.”

open-house-london_origThe Met Police initiative is called Exchanging Places and was launched in 2007. It won a Prince Michael International Road Safety Award in 2013 for its success in promoting safer cycling.

The arctic tractor was flanked by three vehicles from the Met Police’s historic vehicle fleet. Sutton’s Safer Transport Police Team were on hand to property mark a total of 13 bicycles to help identify bikes should they become lost or stolen during the three-hour event from 11am outside Waterstones, High Street, Sutton.

The Met Police is working with a number of manufacturers including Volvo and Mercedes to get safer design built into large vehicles. The Met is also a supporting an initiative encouraging truck drivers to become cyclists for a half-day course to gain a Certificate of Professional Competence.