The 10,000th person to take part in the Metropolitan Police's (MPS) Exchanging Places programme has been gifted with a brand new Cube bike, donated by havebike.
Westminster's Andreea Constantinescu was on her way to work and was stopped to take part at the event outside the Houses of Parliament, unaware that she was the 10,000th person to have taken part.
The Mayor of London handed the prize bike over at the event, during which Boris Johnson's own bicycle was given the once over by one of havebike's technicians (pictured).
The event was organised by the MPS Cycle Task Force, a partnership between the Traffic and Safer Transport Commands, and Transport for London (TfL), and supported by havebike. Exchanging Places is a safety education course introduced by the MPS in 2007. These events allow people to sit in the driver's seat of a HGV or bus to get a better understanding of what the driver can and can’t see, especially in regards to cyclists on the nearside and directly in front of the vehicle.
Constantinescu said: "I took up cycling thanks to the "Boris" bike and am immensely thankful for London's cycling infrastructure and the Met's road safety programmes, so it was a real honour to be the 10,000th cyclist of the Exchanging Places Programme. I will definitely make great use of my new bike, and of course I will put safety first!"
Sergeant Simon Castle from the Cycle Task Force said: "Cycling is a safe, fun and quick way to travel in London. Exchanging Places aims to give cyclists the skills and confidence to avoid conflict around large vehicles. These events are very popular and effective and our feedback shows that 97 per cent of cyclists learn from the experience and 98 per cent would recommend it to a friend. I was delighted to be able to give away this bike away to our 10,000th participant and I must thank havebike, TfL and the many hauliers, such as Keltbray, who have helped us to build Exchanging Places into the success you see today."
Nick Brown, havebike’s Managing Partner, added: “We are proud to support the Metropolitan Police Service’s delivery of the Exchanging Places programme. It’s great to see ever growing numbers of cyclists on London’s roads and we hope that by raising awareness of safety issues, particularly around HGVs, we can help this positive trend continue.”
Siwan Hayward, acting director of Community, Safety, Enforcement and Policing for TfL, said: “This marks a great milestone for the Exchanging Places event. We have worked alongside the MPS with this event for several years, and know it’s a great ‘hands on’ approach to improving cycle safety. Cyclists who have taken part in Exchanging Places have told us it has a direct impact on how they cycle, keeping them away from the blindspots around large vehicles and therefore improving their safety. We would love for all cyclists in London to come along to an Exchanging Places event, and join the 10,000 Londoners who have already taken part! Thanks to HaveBike we are able to mark this occasion in true cyclist fashion with a free bike.”
Left to right: Sgt Simon Castle, havebike Managing Partner Nick Brown, Mayor Boris Johnson, PC Liam Gibb, Andreea Constantinescu, PC Michael Hollowell, PC Alan Chapman