Olympic star Rebecca Romero supports HGV blind spot campaign

See Me Save Me campaign heads to Strasbourg to lobby MEPs

by Mark Appleton   February 14, 2011  

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Olympic gold medal winning cyclist Rebecca Romero has lent her support to the See Me Save Me campaign which aims to ensure that heavy goods vehicles  across Europe are fitted with blind spot devices.

The campaign is being led by Kate Cairns whose sister Eilidh died when she was crushed by a tipper truck while riding in London two years ago this month.

Today Kate travelled a with delegation from road safety charity Brake to Strasbourg where the group will lobby MEPs for a change in EU law.

Kate said: “Eilidh’s death has affected more people than we could have imagined; there are so many that loved her. It’s vital that truck visibility is addressed to prevent more needless deaths among cyclists.

"It is outrageous that so many HGVs are allowed to ‘share’ road space with vulnerable users but are not required to have even this simple and low cost safety equipment that is proven to save cyclists’ lives.

Rebecca Romero, added: “It’s tragic so many cyclists lose their lives each year by being hit by commercial vehicles, often as a result of the driver failing to see them – yet many of these tragedies could be prevented by devices fitted to vehicles to reduce blind spots.

"I’m backing Brake’s campaign calling on all commercial vehicle operators to fit devices that help drivers spot people on bikes and on foot.”

Brake campaigns director Julie Townsend said: "While some HGV operators fit devices to make their vehicles as safe as possible, too many trucks pose an unacceptably high risk to people on foot and bicycle.

"We're appealing to all operators to fit the latest technology to reduce blind spots, and we're calling for the law to be tightened up - to help prevent more families going through the devastation of sudden, violent deaths and injuries."

Duncan Pickering, IAM cycling development manager told road.cc: “While any move to improve the safety of cyclists on our roads is a good thing, it is important that we don’t forget that cyclists also have a big part to play in their own safety.

“Prevention is better than cure, and cyclists should never pull up on the nearside of larger vehicles such as HGVs, especially when the larger vehicle is likely to turn left.

"These vehicles have different turning paths to cars, and the cyclist could quickly find themselves running out of space. We also advise cyclists to position themselves at least a metre from the kerb when moving, to improve their visibility to other road users, and to give more space to avoid drain covers and potholes.”
 

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Perhaps I can add one key detail relating to self preservation - it is certainly worth pressing drivers to use the kit they now have to have fitted and working by law, but the ultimate safety measure is eye contact - see the driver and be sure they are seeing you. If that ain't happening get well out of their way. The driver who killed Elidh probably couldn't have seen her even looking in a safety mirror because his eyesight was defective, another driver was 'drunk' and using his phone. in other cases the cyclists have been unaware of the truck rolling in to that danger zone (ie looking for traffic coming up behind) until it was too late to take action which would either got them out of the way or make certain the truck driver driver had clearly noticed them AND acknowledged that fact.

The 5000 cyclist survey of Oxford and Cambridge riders focussed on looking - looking back, as perhaps the biggest factor in creating a cyclist - driver conflict. I do this very positively with bus drivers when a bus comes up behind me in town, and that non-verbal communication can deliver positive action, perhaps you will pull slight/y to the right and let the bus pull in to a bus stop rather than forcing the driver to slow right down or, make an ill-judged move to overtake and then cut-you up. Notably many of the 5000 cyclists surveyed, said that they were not confident to do the move described in motorcyclist training as 'The Lifesaver' a direct (not a mirror) look back over your shoulder - recommended for drivers too, as when merging lanes on a fast road, you may well discover that even a car has a 'blind spot' for vehicles directly alongside. The Oxford survey, also highighted that female cyclists reported rearward observation to be an area of weakness, which was matched by the bias in reported incidents where the cyclist came into conflict with a following vehicle. We do not have a clear picture of why this pattern emerged in the substantial survey but we do have the disparity of female cyclists as the vast majority of victims under the wheels on HGV's yet they are the minority percentage by gender, of cyclists using the city streets. This does suggest that there is more than mass of mirrors required, and a hope that all drivers are using them, to halt this roll of tragedy.

Eye contact should be the ONLY contact that connects a cyclist with the driver of any larger and heavier vehicle, and I have to commend the contractor for Shell's tanker fleet (Sucklings) - look on the back of every tanker trailer and there is both a clear indication of the wide left turn hazard AND a little cartoon picture of a driver's eyes looking back through the exterior mirror - if you are in front clock the driver through the windscreen, and when either of you is making that overtaking move make sure you are being watched in those mirrors. (I'll send a picture link to Road CC)

The other neat pictorial impact comes from the TfL picture of 20 cyclists doing a disappearing trick which would do Paul Daniels proud, simply by putting themselves at the vanishing point. (I wonder if he might do something as a safety campaign about making your bike, car or motorcycle 'vanish')

47 years of breaking bikes and still they offer me a 10 year frame warranty!

A V Lowe's picture

posted by A V Lowe [486 posts]
14th February 2011 - 21:39

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