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.