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London to shut streets to cars

On September 23, the city of London will close 14km of roads to all traffic except bicycles. The move is part of a year-long effort to encourage cycling in the city. If successful, the event may become an annual occurrence.

"In London's year of the bike, this will be the best day of all,'' said Jenny Jones, Green Party member of the legislative assembly according to

The vehicle free zone will include Victoria Embankment, Westminster and St. Paul's. The number of trips by bike in London has nearly doubled in recent years and is up to 480,000 per day.

But perhaps the most high-profile cycling event in London will be the opening 8km Tour de France prologue on July 7 on a flat, fast course through the heart of London, beginning in Whitehall, past the Houses of Parliament in Westminster, past Queen Elizabeth in her majestic Buckingham Palace, then back to the finish through Hyde Park.

The prologue is set for the day exactly two years after a series of bombs struck London's public transportation system, including three Underground trains and a bus at rush hour, killing 52 commuters and four suicide bombers. More recently, police successfully defused a bomb in car parked near Piccadilly Circus on Friday.

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