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Campaign group also fighting to change misconception over "blind spots"...

The London Cycling Campaign (LCC) is urging Transport for London (TfL) to change the wording of a road safety poster aimed at making cyclists aware of the risk of passing lorries on the inside, the wording of which it says is misleading.

TfL’s poster says “All these cyclists are in the driver’s blind spot,” but according to LCC, a more appropriate slogan for the poster (shown above, and identical to the original in all respects bar the words used) would be "A safe driver should be able to see all the cyclists.”

Charlie Lloyd of LCC, himself a former lorry driver, commented: "The poster and the accompanying video give the false impression that a driver could not see any of the cyclists."
 


LCC maintains that the oft-held belief that lorries have a “blind spot” next to them, explaining why they present such a risk to pedestrians and cyclists, is an erroneous one.

"We've succeeded in changing the type of mirrors fitted to all lorries in Europe so there is little or no blind spot close in on the left side of lorries,” continued Lloyd.

"The true risk areas that remain are immediately in front of the front-left corner and about 2m away to the left of the cab.” He adds.
"The most important step towards reducing lorry danger is to help drivers use their mirrors so that as they drive down the road they get a good view of every section where a cyclist or pedestrian may be.”

LCC, which has produced a safety card showing which areas around lorries are dangerous to cyclists, points out four ways in which its says the poster and video are, in its opinion, “misleading:”

“(1) An older (pre-2000) lorry was used without the updated mirror systems required by over 90% of the large lorries in London.

(2) A driver turning does not see a single image in their mirror; in reality the view is being constantly refreshed.

(3) The lorry in the poster would be unable to complete its turn without driving the trailer over the pavement. If it straightened, it would bring the cyclists into view (if it had the correct mirrors adjusted properly).

(4) The wide angle mirror is badly positioned: the law requires drivers to have mirrors correctly adjusted at all times.”

Lloyd, who has spearheaded LCC’s efforts to improve cyclists’ safety where HGVs are concerned, including its No More Leathal Lorries Campaign, told road.cc: “The campaigning around reducing the danger of large lorries is generating great interest from cyclists, transport companies and lorry drivers.

“Now we have a chance to move away from the simplistic view that blind spots cause crashes. We need to address careless driving and careless cycling.

“Everyone needs to be told about the dangers and develop strategies so a driver never turns into a 'blind area' and cyclists stay away from the side of any vehicle that could turn across them.”

Referring to recent reports that Mayor of London Boris Johnson is thinking about excluding lorries from Central London, Lloyd said: “It is brilliant that the Mayor is considering banning lorries and taking on our suggestion for consolidation centres to remove thousands of unnecessary lorry journeys.”

He added: “He is being forced to do this to reduce pollution, the UK faces a €300 million fine if London continues to breach air pollution limits.

“Failing to extend the Low Emission Zone to all lorries, dropping the environment fee scale for the Congestion Charge and getting rid of the Western Charging Zone have increased the risk of pollution.”
 

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.

17 comments

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londonplayer [620 posts] 5 years ago
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Many of the lorries that have been involved in these accidents are not the Long Vehicles as shown above. They are the shorter, but still very heavy, concrete mixer lorries and industrial waste clearance dumper trucks.

I have heard anecdotally that these types of lorries work on a "paid per load" basis which explains why they drive like lunatics. The Mayor must introduce legislation that makes it illegal to pay drivers and companies per day. This pay scheme is murdering people - literally!

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OldRidgeback [2632 posts] 5 years ago
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Tipper trucks can also be paid on a/load basis and have been involved in a large number of accidents too. Accident statistics are particularly worrying for skip lorries, which generally have a short wheelbase and are also paid/load. It would be fair to say that there are questions over the legal standing of a number of firms in the skip lorry sector though you'll have to draw your own conclusions over that issue.

Incidentally, there's no such thing as a dumper truck. There are dumpers, which you see on building sites, and dump trucks. Mixing the two words together is a common error.

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handlebarcam [715 posts] 5 years ago
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What you have to remember with public safety campaigns such as this, and the hideously inappropriate "Be Bright, Be Seen" and "Knockin' Noggins" DfT online games, is that they are the work of marketing people.

People in marketing are stupid. It doesn't matter to them whether something is factually accurate, or if it is offensive to any group other than their target audience. They are the same sort of people who talk and talk at social gatherings, not caring what they say as long as they are the ones saying it. Sadly, that tactic actually works in business and, increasingly, as a career move in the public sector. Many publicly funded bodies are run these days out of their marketing and public relations departments. I know the ones I have worked for certainly were. It is like the tail that wags the dog - what and organisation says it does eventually becomes all it actually does.

Under the PR-obsessed New Labour government, swanky presentation was all that mattered. And now, with decreasing budgets, and a different lot of spin doctors in charge, that will only get worse. To keep as much as their funding as possible, organisations such as TfL will up their poster campaign budget while slashing road mending. Look at that poster. It is polished, colourful, the lead cyclist is from an ethnic minority, and it ostensibility contains a socially useful message. Any politician who has any say in TfL's budget will see that, notice their logo in the bottom-right corner (which you've cropped out in your amended version, but is there in the original), and think they are doing a good job. They don't cycle themselves, so don't notice the massive potholes and idiotic cycle lanes that stop and start every 20 meters (well, Boris cycles, but he is too busy thinking about which ancient greek philosopher most reminds him of Ed Milliband, so he can make a devastatingly witty put-down about it to Dave the next time he sees him.)

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gazzaputt [220 posts] 5 years ago
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I have found that in 15 years of commuting in London these 'tipper trucks' are driven in the most part by brain dead knuckle scrapers who have a total disregard for human life.

I have seen them strike cyclists, motorists and pedestrians and everytime their attitude was they could give a t*ss.

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STATO [509 posts] 5 years ago
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Im confused, does LCC want cyclists to cut up the inside of lorries now?

"A safe driver should be able to see all the cyclists.”

So cyclists are supposed to guess if a driver is safe?

“(1) An older (pre-2000) lorry was used without the updated mirror systems required by over 90% of the large lorries in London.

How many commuters are also lorry geeks?

(2) A driver turning does not see a single image in their mirror; in reality the view is being constantly refreshed.

so a lone cyclist could be easilly missed while drived is concentrating on looking everywhere at once while turning?

(3) The lorry in the poster would be unable to complete its turn without driving the trailer over the pavement. If it straightened, it would bring the cyclists into view (if it had the correct mirrors adjusted properly).

so they are saying this never happens?

(4) The wide angle mirror is badly positioned: the law requires drivers to have mirrors correctly adjusted at all times.”

And that happens does it?

"We've succeeded in changing the type of mirrors fitted to all lorries in Europe so there is little or no blind spot close in on the left side of lorries,” continued Lloyd.

ah i get it, theyve worked hard to improve lorries safety and they want everyone to know about it, this poster just make LCC look bad.

Forget giving out a clear and consitant message of 'dont cut inside a lorry they probably wont see you' LCC want credit!

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OldRidgeback [2632 posts] 5 years ago
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gazzaputt - if you think tipper truck drivers are bad just take a look at most people at the wheel of skip lorries and vehicles involved in the waste trade. It's no coincidence our cycling mayor Boris had a very close call with a waste vehicle not so long ago that was captured on CCTV and posted on this very website.

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HaloJ [22 posts] 5 years ago
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What are all those idiots doing on the inside of an obviously turning vehicle? As an every day London commuter I'm repeatedly exhasperated when people filter up the inside of indicating or left turning vehicles at junctions.  14

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Simon_MacMichael [2457 posts] 5 years ago
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Without wishing to get another Rapha debate going, three of them seem to have snapped up the Rapha + Paul Smith rain jacket we reviewed a couple of weeks back, too  3http://road.cc/content/news/26745-rapha-and-paul-smith-launch-new-jacket

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creepymonkey [31 posts] 5 years ago
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Why not fit all traffic lights in London with a visual count down timer at the lights so you can see when it's safe to filter to the ASL at lights, as opposed to be caught up trapped between a Lorry and a Bus half way there when the lights change. They have them at Oxford Circus and they work for me there.

I've only been hit in London by minicabs doing erratic, illegal manoeuvres.

Is it possible to become a registered minicab driver without a UK license?

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Monstermunch [7 posts] 5 years ago
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This is absolutely daft. It encourages cyclists to perform one of the most dangerous manoeuvres they can, and contradicts the rule about never cycling up the inside of a lorry.

Still, at least all the cyclists are following DfT and government advice and wearing helmets.  19 One wonders how many will be saved from being crushed by their polystyrene lids.

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thereverent [420 posts] 5 years ago
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The poster isn't clear who was at the junction first. If it was the cyclists then it can hardly be their fault if the HGV has pulled up like that (I had this kind of thing happen to me with HGVs).

TfL could do something productive by not putting very narrow cycle lanes on roads that don't have the extra space. This encourages new riders to go down the left even when it's not safe as they think they are ok as they are in a cycle lane. Bottom of Vauxhall Bridge road is a good example.  102

My first thought when seeing that poster weeks ago was "he's never going to make it round that corner". Maybe the wording should be "Beware of HGVs driving over the pavement at junctions".

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fluffy_mike [99 posts] 5 years ago
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If you drive a 30-tonne piece of metal in a crowded city, you have special responsibilities

This means properly using your mirrors – which in modern lorries are perfectly adequate for a skilled driver to know who is around them at all times – so you don't kill anyone

If you can't do this, then you shouldn't be driving the lorry in the first place

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STATO [509 posts] 5 years ago
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"If you drive a piece of metal in a crowded city, you have special responsibilities

If you can't do this, then you shouldn't be driving the lorry in the first place"

I fixed that comment for you, unfortunatley if other road users (in this case cyclists) perform crazy manouvers then you cant be looking everywhere at once and someone is going to get hurt.

I visit london infrequently but some of the manouvers you see cyclists try are rediculous, plenty has been done to try and disuade them and this LCC 'adjustment' to the poster is even more ill thought out than the original poster!

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tired old fart [77 posts] 5 years ago
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thats an insult to knuckle draggers  4 Too true about the attitude though. I do my level best to slow the bastards down, and give them no excuse to say "I didn't see him." By having at least 2 rear lights (cateye ld600), and a halfords 10 lux front light and a class 2 highways jacket on. Also I generally ride about 4 foot from the kerb which makes people slow down and give you room.

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DABenji [3 posts] 5 years ago
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tired old fart wrote:

thats an insult to knuckle draggers  4 Too true about the attitude though. I do my level best to slow the bastards down, and give them no excuse to say "I didn't see him." By having at least 2 rear lights (cateye ld600), and a halfords 10 lux front light and a class 2 highways jacket on. Also I generally ride about 4 foot from the kerb which makes people slow down and give you room.

So you cycle in a manner that causes other road users to have to slow down, stop or change direction, I am pretty sure that in a car that would be driving without due care and attention. I drive HGV's for a living and have driven in London on many occasion and would like to add I have never hit a cyclist or anything else for that matter, which when you have a suicidal cyclist coming up your blind side and sitting underneath your passenger window even though you have been sat there with your left turn signal on, its no wonder cyclists get hurt. The VED and insurance is all paid up on my truck so I have a right to be there (except when road restrictions prohibit it). Just remember most of your worldly posessions have been on the back of a lorry at some point. So when your next cycling 4 foot from the kerb just think how you are antagonising the driver behind you and they are more likely to drive close to you in retaliation.

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JohnV [4 posts] 5 years ago
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Retaliation? I am unsure as to the suitability of any road user to be in charge of any vehicle, certainly not an HGV, who uses the word retaliation in conjunction with their driving!  39 Integration not segregation!

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joemmo [1164 posts] 5 years ago
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DABenji wrote:

[So you cycle in a manner that causes other road users to have to slow down, stop or change direction, I am pretty sure that in a car that would be driving without due care and attention. ... The VED and insurance is all paid up on my truck so I have a right to be there (except when road restrictions prohibit it). ... So when your next cycling 4 foot from the kerb just think how you are antagonising the driver behind you and they are more likely to drive close to you in retaliation.

yes other road users may have to slow down and change direction to pass a cyclist, motorcyclist, scooter rider etc. just as they have a duty to accomodate and avoid colliding with all road users.

Your VED and insurance does not grant you a right to be there and priority over anyone else in proportion to the amount of taxation paid. If you believe that then, should you need some NHS treatment, you better check that everyone who paid more tax than you gets treated first.

FYI - the total yearly income from VED, SORN and related fines is less than half the budget allocated to the Highways agency (about £7bn) who maintain just Motorway and trunk route network. So if you still believe that your VED goes directly into that budget (which it doesn't) ask yourself where the other half, plus the money required to maintain all the other roads comes from.

Antagonising? Are you serious? Better have a go at all the drivers in front of you next time you're in a traffic jam. They are the ones slowing you down.