TfL rejects road safety campaigner's "Please Look" stickers for lorries (+ video)

Capital's transport authority highlights current initiatives designed to improve cyclists' safety

by Simon_MacMichael   May 18, 2010  

Please Look sticker.jpg

Joe Mizereck, who through his 3feetplease website has successfully fought to have minimum passing distance laws introduced in a number of US states has come up with a new way of keeping cyclists safe on the roads – small stickers that attach to wing mirrors, reminding drivers to look out for cyclists – and is keen to have the concept adopted by transport bosses in London.

However, Transport for London (TfL) has declined his offer of help, citing the initiatives it is currently taking to help improve the safety of cyclists in the city.

The stickers that Joe has designed carry the message “Please Look” together with a graphic depiction of a bicycle, and build on an earlier idea of Joe’s for TfL to deploy road signs bearing the same message at key junctions.

The road safety campaigner, who became concerned about the safety of cyclists in London after reading several reports here on road.cc of incidents involving HGVs that resulted in the deaths of cyclists in London, believes that the signs and stickers could help lorry drivers pay more attention to bicycle traffic.

Joe explained to TfL that the aim of the one-inch square stickers was “to trigger the attention of the lorry drivers to LOOK for cyclists before they make their turn,” and sent samples to the transport authority, together with an offer to “produce the quantities you need, at no cost to London, to place these decals on the side mirrors of all lorries on London’s streets.”

However, in an email that Joe forwarded to road.cc, TfL told him that partly due to “the safety and convenience of pedestrians” and “considerable pressures to avoid street 'clutter',” his proposal to place new signs at junctions “is problematic.”

TfL said that it was “acutely aware of the problem you have identified, and have a number of programmes in hand to address it. For instance, Transport for London has recognised cyclists as vulnerable road users and has run a number of campaigns over the last few years to attempt to highlight this issue.”

Initiatives listed included leaflets and posters dirstributed to cyclists and lorry drivers, stickers produced for HGV trailers that warn cyclists against positioning themselves in drivers’ blind spots, highlighting to drivers and cyclists alike the dangers involved when lorries execute left turns, and distributing 10,000 Fresnel lenses which help reduce the blind spot in nearside wing mirrors.

TfL also pointed out that it has produced a new Cycling/HGV Safety DVD, and that it is running a year-long campaign including a TV ad, Do The Test, that encourages drivers to be on the lookout for cyclists.

TfL said that it hoped “these measures will provide you some assurance that we are actively addressing the issue.”

As Joe says, “I hope it’s not a case of them thinking ‘why does this guy from the USA care’,” adding “I don’t care where it is in the world, if we can save cyclists’ lives, I’m going to try and do what I can to help. And the troubling number of cyclists being killed by UK lorry drivers has my keen attention.”

Often, it’s the simplest ideas that work the best, and if TfL did take Joe up on his offer, even one cyclist’s life saved would justify the decision.

In the meantime, it’s good to know there’s people like him out there fighting for our safety.
 

10 user comments

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TfL said that it was “acutely aware of the problem you have identified, and have a number of programmes in hand to address it. For instance, Transport for London has recognised cyclists as vulnerable road users and has run a number of campaigns over the last few years to attempt to highlight this issue.”

Thinking Mmmm. Obviously working then TfL. Keep it up!!

Joe - maybe you should print out 1,000,000s of them and distibute them to us and we'll stick them on their wing mirrors.

Make sure its very strong glue though.

jobysp's picture

posted by jobysp [145 posts]
18th May 2010 - 11:45

1 Like

Any initiative that helps reduce deaths or injuries caused in this avoidable manner is clearly desirable - but some methods are more productive than others. I can see many motorists reacting aversely to arriving back at their vehicle to find one (or more) stickers applied to their mirrors. A sizeable proportion of the motoring public sees the cycling fraternity as having been given far too much at the motorist's expense, we are often seen as an arrogant bunch, and stickering vehicles could be seen as another example of this. We need to EARN more respect. As cyclists, and the most vulnerable beings in our transport system's food-chain, we must shoulder a greater share of the responsibility by raising our own self-preservation awareness. Rather than hoping such a sticker will maintain a heightened awareness of cyclists in a distracted motorists mind, we'd be showing greater maturity in cycling ever more defensively, and wearing high-visibility clothing, and a helmet. A lazy motorist is more like to be alerted by a moving florescent jacket than he is to be prompted by seeing a florescent sticker to take an extra look for that hard-to-find cyclist. Ongoing efforts towards educating all road-users is surely the way to go - together with draconian punishment for ALL those who break the law.

simonmb's picture

posted by simonmb [360 posts]
18th May 2010 - 12:18

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You can be as law-abiding a cyclist as you like, but you're not going to earn the respect of a large swathe of motorists, unfortunately.

Conscientious Objector in the War on Vulnerable Road Users

t1mmyb's picture

posted by t1mmyb [87 posts]
18th May 2010 - 12:54

2 Likes

I agree Jobysp - more education is the way to go - lets start then by driving forward an agenda to change driver training and insisting on the creation of a continued vehicle driver development programme - this would benefit all road users, from pedestrians, to cyclists and other vehicle drivers, as everyone would be required to attend and have their driving and awareness improved.

It's all very well training cyclists to cycle defensively, I know because I am a National Standards Instructor, but if the wider motoring public still expect us to be "in the gutter" then we appear arrogant and are treat poorly as a result - how many drivers realise we should cycle 60-100cm away from the curb as a minimum? and that we are entitled to pass parked vehicles as far out as beyond an open doors width? Cyclists might be slowly getting the message, but lots more needs to be done to re-train the existing motoring masses.

for me - The ride is about adventure, camaraderie and the sense of accomplishment that comes after a long day in the saddle.

Mountain-Nic's picture

posted by Mountain-Nic [119 posts]
18th May 2010 - 13:00

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"we'd be showing greater maturity in cycling ever more defensively, and wearing high-visibility clothing, and a helmet."

Sorry but whilst cycling defensively (and assertively) is important a hi-viz vest and a helmet is not going to make the blindest bit of difference to most people and just reinforces the fallacy that riding a bike is somehow inherently dangerous. Far more important is training for cyclists and trying to ensure that infrastructure such as cycle lanes do not put users in danger as so many of them do (i.e. encouraging undertaking - especially on the approach to ASLs)

G-bitch's picture

posted by G-bitch [311 posts]
19th May 2010 - 7:19

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Is it just me or does the term "cycle defensively" conjure up images of cycling in the gutter? To most people, defending means protecting yourself, which in turn, to most novice / new cyclists (like when I first started out), assumed this meant get as far away from the vehicles as possible and stay in the gutter... Of course I've learnt a lot since then Smile

Should it not be "cycle offensively"? Get in the middle of the road, slow down the cars behind you. Offend them if you have to with your slower pace. Show them your there. Make them aware that the roads are as much ours as theirs?

And I was being sarcastic about the TfL training as it clearly hasn't worked has it! They even state that in their statement by saying "... to attempt to highlight the issue".

Attempt? They really should be forcing the issue. Just like we should be forcing the issue on cyclists we see nipping down the side of lorries and buses.

Check out this clip by CyclingMikey on youtube:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=12fMTAQyXTI&playnext_from=TL&videos=997qF...

jobysp's picture

posted by jobysp [145 posts]
19th May 2010 - 8:00

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'Cycling defensively' is not the same as being a 'submissive cyclist'. We are entitled to our share of the road, and should defend it (and ourselves) through making good, safe, and considerate use of it. I fear 'cycling offensively' will only add to our woes. Most of us are motorists too. Think about it - when we 'drive well' we 'drive defensively'. We're aware of and considerate towards other road users. We make good progress with the minimum impediment to other traffic. I don't feel 'submissive' when I drive in this manner, nor do I feel submissive when I cycle in this manner. I assert my right of way, but am always wary of others around me who may not be observant of the rules of the road. This is 'defensive' driving, and is too the only requirement for 'defensive' cycling. Why do we cyclists have such a big chip on our shoulder and think we own the road?

simonmb's picture

posted by simonmb [360 posts]
19th May 2010 - 8:53

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jobysp wrote:
TfL said that it was “acutely aware of the problem you have identified, and have a number of programmes in hand to address it. For instance, Transport for London has recognised cyclists as vulnerable road users and has run a number of campaigns over the last few years to attempt to highlight this issue.”

This response from TFL is pathetic beyond belief!! Angry

"Just as every cop is a criminal, and all the sinners saints".

LondonCalling's picture

posted by LondonCalling [146 posts]
19th May 2010 - 12:09

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simonmb - my comment probably didn't make sense... I was merely suggesting that the words "cycle defesively" means cycle into the gutter to most people, when we are encouraged, as cyclists, to take the lane - be prominent, make people around you aware that you are there.

As for driving defensively - no - I drive as I was taught to drive - legally, correctly and considerately. I don't consider this defensive in any way shape or form.

Its just me being pedantic over the word defensive - nothing more - I'm in complete agreement with you - I think confident is a better word to use.

jobysp's picture

posted by jobysp [145 posts]
19th May 2010 - 13:33

1 Like

Defensive Driving, as it was taught to me - back in the day Wink - is driving in a cautious but assertive way, that assumes other people are going to make mistakes.

It's things like leaving a two-second gap behind the car you're following. Defensive cycling is (e.g.) not cycling in the door-zone.

I agree that the word itself has other connotations quite different from its intended meaning.

Conscientious Objector in the War on Vulnerable Road Users

t1mmyb's picture

posted by t1mmyb [87 posts]
19th May 2010 - 15:41

1 Like