Two cyclists have been killed and another injured in collisions with lorries on the streets of London in the past week. This brings the unofficial total fatalities in 2008 to 8 or 9, depending on whether you count someone killed while wheeling their bike a cyclist or pedestrian. Whichever way, it’s 8 or 9 too many. Raising awareness, calling for action to make London roads safer and educating cyclists on how to minimise risk are the objectives of CycleSafeLondon.com, set up this week by members of the London Fixed Gear and Single Speed web forum, myself included.
Critical Mass is tonight and we’ll be distributing a basic leaflet explaining the problem and what can be done. You can download it to print yourself from here.
This is the text:
In the last week two London cyclists were killed in collisions with lorries and another was seriously injured. A London Road Safety Unit study of London cyclist fatalities between 1999 and 2002 concluded that, of the 49 collisions with lorries, more than half were the result of a left turn by the lorry.
The design of many of London’s cycle lanes and advance stop lines (green boxes at traffic lights) lure cyclists into the most dangerous position at junctions: slightly in front of and to the left of lorries. At the two junctions where cyclists were recently killed by left-turning lorries (Upper Thames Street junction with Queen Street Place, and Camley Street junction with Goods Way) there are advance stop lines, both with feeder cycle lanes from the left.
What is needed:
1. A ban on very large lorries (HGVs) from the current Congestion Charge zone during Congestion Charge hours.
2. Compulsory installation of the latest ‘blind spot’ mirrors and more training for drivers on how to use them.
3. Removal of dangerous cycle lanes.
4. Tougher punishments for drivers and lorry companies convicted of negligent driving.
To make this happen, we need to tell the government officials and the lorry companies about the problem and demand that they take action.
- Your MP
- Boris Johnson, Mayor of London
- Your representative on the London Assembly
- Your local councillors
- The Secretary of State for Transport
- David Brown, Managing Director, Surface Transport, Transport for London
- Roger King, Chief Executive, Road Haulage Association
Find out who your elected representatives are and how to write to them by visiting www.WriteToThem.com
Changing laws, removing dangerous cycle lanes, fitting better mirrors and training lorry drivers will take time. In the short term it is possible to take action when riding to minimise, if not eliminate, the risk of conflict with a lorry.
- Be aware of where they are. This means keeping an eye on the road behind you.
- Avoid crossing their path, or potential path. If you are behind them, this means staying behind the rear axle when they are moving. If you are in front, this means keeping an eye on them to make sure that if they overtake they are giving you enough room.
- The place you definitely don’’t want to be at any time is alongside, or slightly in front of, a lorry’s front wheels. Especially at junctions. This is because lorry drivers who have killed cyclists by left-turns, even if they signal, often fail to look in their left-hand mirrors to check for cyclists.
- Passing lorries and other long vehicles on the inside (left side) increases the risk of not being seen.
www.cyclesafelondon.com – 26 September 2008