London’s Barclays Cycle Superhighways, the first two of which are due to open next month, are to be equipped with convex Trixi mirrors that help lorry drivers see cyclists located in their vehicles’ mirrors’ blind spots at junctions.
The mirrors, were invented by Swiss national Ulrich Willburger, who came up with the name after his daughter Beatrix was seriously injured when she was hit by a cement lorry at the age of 13.
According to the Evening Standard, subject to Department for Transport approval, the mirrors will be trialled for six months at the first two Barclays Cycle Superhighways which run from Barking to Tower Gateway and from Colliers Wood to the City. Both are due to open on July 19th.
Nigel Hardy, Transport for London's Cycle Superhighways Project Director, was quoted in the newspaper as saying: “These provide a much better view around the vehicle for HGV drivers. It's also another form of advertising to the driver to check their mirrors, and to cyclists that they should not be on the left-hand side of vehicles.”
Although the number of cyclists killed or seriously injured in London fell last year compared to 2008, and casualty figures have fallen by a quarter since the mid-1990s despite more people turning to two wheels to get around, a disproportionate number of bike riders killed in the city are victims of collisions with lorries.
Referring to the first two of the proposed 12 Barclays Cycle Superhighways to come into operation, Mr Hardy said: “There are around 5,000 people a day using both routes. We would like to increase that by around 20,000 people a day within the next three years.”
However, the Cycle Superhighways, which are 1.5 metres wide and painted blue to show the space given to cyclists, are not without their critics.
John Siraut from transport consultancy Colin Buchanan told the Standard that other than the blue paint, there was little to distinguish them from existing cycle lanes.
“Cyclists will veer in and out of the cycle highway as necessary to get around and through traffic,” he claimed. “This will annoy car and other vehicle drivers who think the cyclists should stick to their dedicated bit of blue. What is so super about this?”
The newspaper also spoke to Jenny Jones, who represents the Green Party on the London Assembly and is a longstanding advocate of cycling, who said: “I love the idea of the superhighways but they have to be safe and fast or they are worse than useless. They must be more than blue paint and promises.”
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.