Met’s new 'Exchanging Places' truck will help deliver cycle safety message

Met’s new 'Exchanging Places' truck will help deliver cycle safety message

The new Exchanging Places vehicle reinforces the dedicated work of the MPS Cycle Safety Team

The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) Cycle Safety Team has welcomed its new Mercedes-Benz truck, supplied by Sparshatts of Kent, which will be used for the cycle safety programme – Exchanging Places.

Exchanging Places is an award-winning programme which addresses the most common cause of serious injury and death to cyclists – collisions involving a heavy goods vehicle (HGV).  More than 15,000 cyclists have taken part in the programme since 2007, run by the Cycle Safety Team – part of the MPS Roads and Transport Policing Command (RTPC).

Because of the programme’s growing success, there has been a need for a dedicated vehicle in addition to the vehicles donated by a number of hauliers who support the project.  Mercedes-Benz was the winning bidder after manufacturers were invited to bid for the provision of a suitable vehicle on a one-year lease.

Thanks to the support of Mercedes-Benz and the continued funding from Transport for London (TfL), the new vehicle costs the MPS nothing except fuel.

The programme gives cyclists the opportunity to sit in the driver’s seat of an HGV to see for themselves how difficult it can be to see a cyclist riding close to the truck.  Experienced traffic police officers explain how this type of collision often happens, and talk through several ways of avoiding them.

The new Mercedes-Benz Actros vehicle will be used for demonstrating the issues around cyclist and pedestrian safety and meets or exceeds all emissions and safety standards.  It has been fitted with police livery and blue lights for promotion purposes and is only driven by trained police drivers and will not be used for patrols or enforcement.

Police Sergeant Simon Castle, Roads and Transport Policing Command, said: "We are grateful to Mercedes-Benz and Sparshatts of Kent for supplying us with this vehicle, which is perfect for our Exchanging Places programme.  The feedback from these events is overwhelmingly positive with 97% of cyclists saying they would change their riding as a result of sitting in the driver’s seat, and 99% would recommend it to a friend.

"I urge cyclists to watch the Exchanging Places film on the MPS YouTube website and also arrange to attend an Exchanging Places event.  It is invaluable and a potential life saver."

Exchanging Places events:

  • 18th February 2015 - 7.30-10am - Rotten Row Junction with West Carriage Drive, Hyde Park
  • 6th March 2015 - 7.30-9.30am - Wellington Arch, Hyde Park Corner, London W1J 7JZ
  • 10th March 2015 - 7.30-9.45am - Wellington Arch, Hyde Park Corner, London W1J 7JZ