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Hit from behind by HGV, cyclist lucky to be alive

Being hit from behind while you’re riding along minding your own business is every cyclist’s nightmare. On Tuesday May 13 that’s exactly what happened to Bart Chan, who was riding on Upper Thames Street in the City when he was hit from behind by an HGV. In this video he tells BBC London transport correspondent Tom Edwards what happened, and accuses Mayor of London Boris Johnson of “empty words” on cycle safety.

Chan says he felt “helpless under those wheels” as he was hit by the lorry. He said: “I was expecting the worst … excruciating pain followed … I was amazed I was still conscious coming out of it.”

With the trashed remains of his helmet at his bedside, Chan lists his injuries which include a shattered shoulder. The full extent of the damage is not yet clear, he says.

But he’s clear on what he thinks will improve safety for cyclists in London: safer HGVs. He said there should be “compulsory better design. You’ve got London buses which are pretty well designed for the drivers, they can look around almost 360. I always see a bus driver, they can see me. Why can’t we have that for HGVs?”

Chan said that he’d also like to see segregated cycling facilities and a ban on HGVs at rush hour.

London mayor Boris Johnson and Transport for London have been promising improvements to cycling facilities since Johnson was elected in 2008, but campaigners increasingly say too little is being improved too slowly.

Chan agrees. He said: It’s not happening fast enough because there’s still deaths going on, still serous injuries. … The mayor talks about a cycling revolution but I’m yet to see that revolution take place. I feel it’s empty words right now from Boris Johnson.”

On the same evening as Chan was hit, Abdelkhalak Lahyani died after a collision with an HGV at the Elephant and Castle. Campaign group Stop Killing Cyclists is organising a protest at the site on wednesday evening, May 21.

Our official grumpy Northerner, John has been riding bikes for over 30 years since discovering as an uncoordinated teen that a sport could be fun if it didn't require you to catch a ball or get in the way of a hulking prop forward.

Road touring was followed by mountain biking and a career racing in the mud that was as brief as it was unsuccessful.

Somewhere along the line came the discovery that he could string a few words together, followed by the even more remarkable discovery that people were mug enough to pay for this rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work. He's pretty certain he's worked for even more bike publications than Mat Brett.

The inevitable 30-something MAMIL transition saw him shift to skinny tyres and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.