Driving lethal lorries off the streets of London

LCC raising money to boost No More Lethal Lorries campaign

by Martin Thomas   September 15, 2010  

LCC No More Lethal Lorries

London Cycling Campaign is hoping to raise £20,000 to boost its No More Lethal Lorries campaign.

According to LCC, HGVs are responsible for half the cyclist deaths in London, and numbers aren’t falling, even though road safety overall is improving.

Roughly one cyclist a month is killed on London’s roads. Victims this year include:

  • A 46-year-old professor of Hispanic studies, run over by a left-turning lorry near Tower Bridge
  • A 21-year-old medical student killed on his way to Guy’s Hospital
  • A 28-year-old charity worker, also a talented musician, crushed to death on a roundabout in Hackney
  • A middle-aged father of three young children, killed by a cement mixer in Pimlico

Only last Friday another cyclist was seriously injured by an HGV in Borough.

The road.cc archives show that there were also several high profile cases last year, each of which demonstrates the danger presented by HGVs and the need for action.

Last year’s 13 cyclist fatalities on London’s roads included 24 year-old student Maria Fernandez, who died when a bin lorry crept into the green bike box at the lights and turned left, dragging her under its wheels, 30 year-old Eilidh Cairns, who died in Notting Hill on her way to work, and 39 year-old Catriona Patel, an experienced cyclist who was training to ride L’Etape du Tour when a cement lorry turned left across her path. The lorry driver was using his mobile at the time and didn’t see her.

The money raised through the appeal will be used to boost LCC’s campaigning, led by the group’s HGV safety expert Charlie Lloyd, who is pressing decision-makers to accept LCC’s five-point danger-reduction plan.

Cyclist-awareness training for drivers
All city lorry drivers should be have ongoing cycle-awareness training, including on-bike experience.

More responsibility on drivers
Authorities must recognise driver responsibility for doing everything practical to reduce risks. Blaming a ‘blind spot’ should be an admission of guilt.

Safer lorry design
Lorries designed for off-road use should be taken off city streets. The best mirrors, cameras and sensors should be fitted as standard.

Higher-quality operators
Quality-assurance schemes such as London’s Freight Operator Recognition Scheme (FORS) should be mandatory, and the police encouraged to crack down on rogue operators.

More responsible procurement
Companies must only buy haulage services from reputable firms, with government taking a lead in encouraging best practice.

The LCC says some progress has been made in the area of compulsory cycle-awareness training. This kind of training is already standard in the borough of Lambeth, and similar on-bike training is expected in Southwark and Hammersmith & Fulham.

In a message to LCC members chief executive Ashok Sinha says, “Too many cyclists are killed by heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) in London and decision-makers aren’t doing enough about it.

“Please donate whatever you can afford, however small. It’s only through the backing of cyclists like you that LCC will be able to stop more cyclists from being killed by large lorries in London.”

Donations can be made via the LCC website. Also on the site there's a petition calling for compulsory cycle-awareness training for lorry drivers.

5 user comments

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"Cyclist-awareness training for drivers"
How about some "truck-awareness training for cyclists"?
I am a cyclist AND truck driver, and I know how these horrible accidents occur.
CYCLISTS:
DO NOT POSITION YOURSELF UNDER A TRUCKS WHEELS IN THE NEAR-SIDE BLIND SPOT.
Make sure that the truck driver can SEE you, either by getting IN FRONT of him/her, or staying behind.

posted by wakou [82 posts]
15th September 2010 - 13:56

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The LCC guy I was speaking to was talking about exactly that kind of training wakou. I think it's already happening in some boroughs - I'll check and will update the story if I can find info.

Meanwhile, there's some useful lorry safety info for cyclists here: http://www.lcc.org.uk/index.asp?PageID=2044

Martin Thomas's picture

posted by Martin Thomas [567 posts]
15th September 2010 - 14:02

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@wakou - absolutely right. Too much emphasis on what lorry drivers can do for cyclists rather than what cyclists can do for themselves. Amazes me how so many cyclists think they do what they want and are then surprised when it all goes tits.

'Blaming a ‘blind spot’ should be an admission of guilt.'
WTF? Blind spots in some vehicles are real!

dullard's picture

posted by dullard [140 posts]
15th September 2010 - 15:47

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Sincere condolences to the families of those mentioned above.

It sounds obvious but a good rule of thumb is: don't get too close to lorries when they are stationary in traffic but if you have to stop by one, stop behind it, give it a few feet of space and make sure you can see the driver's mirrors. Additionally, don't be tempted to out-accelerate a lorry on its near-side. Cyclists should also have a responsibility to avoid being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

posted by John G [53 posts]
15th September 2010 - 16:34

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dullard wrote:

'Blaming a ‘blind spot’ should be an admission of guilt.'
WTF? Blind spots in some vehicles are real!

They are: and drivers should drive knowing that: just because you temporarily can't see a part of your vehicle, that doesn't mean you ca njust ignore it. If a child walked in front of your car, and then bent down to pick something up - i.e. disappeared from view - would you then just drive off? No, you'd wait until you could see the child again.

The same is true for bigger vehicles - they need to be aware of other road users entering and leaving their blind spots. Is that so much to ask?

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posted by timlennon [227 posts]
15th September 2010 - 16:47

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