People behind How's My Driving? initiative invite designs - £1,000 on offer for the winner...

The company behind the “How’s My Driving?” initiative that enables road users to provide feedback on how HGVs and other vehicles are being driven has launched a competition to design a logo warning cyclists to keep clear of lorries, with the designer of the winning entry set to scoop a prize of £1,000.

The In Tandem Road Safety Competition, which will officially be launched by Hows My Ltd this weekend, has the support of Cambridge MP Dr Julian Huppert, chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Cycling Group, who last month led a House of Commons backbench debate on cycle safety.

Quoted on the cycle trade website BikeBiz, Dr Huppert said: “This is an excellent competition which focuses on the real danger to cyclists from heavy lorries while at the same time making drivers and cyclists think about the action they need to take to minimise the risks.”

He added: “The sign, designed to complement other lorry safety equipment such as sensors, turning alarms, extra mirrors and safety bars, could go a long way to saving lives."

The competition’s organisers say that the winning design would need to highlight to cyclists the fact that “extra care is needed when passing a large vehicle on the nearside.”

Some would maintain, and all cycle safety professionals, that you should never filter up the inside of a lorry or other large vehicle, especially approaching traffic lights where they may turn left. However, many cyclists appear to find the need to occasionally do just that unavoidable in an urban context and while experienced cyclists will know that filtering up the inside of a lorry along a foot of gutter is a definite no-no, not everybody is so aware of the danger - particularly where that foot has been helpfully delineated by a protective line of white paint with periodic cycle logos dotted along its length.

An added issue here is poorly designed infrastructure, with cycle lanes leading up to junctions where left turns are permitted potentially creating a false sense of security for inexperienced cyclists in particular who may not realise that they are not visible to the driver, assuming they are looking out for bike riders in the first place.

The competition is open until midnight on 30 April and entries will be judged by a panel comprising Robert Smalley, Chief Driving Examiner for RosPA, Subash Ludhra, president of health and safety organisation IOSH, Gary Harringman of Studio Harringman and Amanda Jackson, MD of Tigerfish PR.

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.


velobetty [72 posts] 5 years ago

One part of me welcomes the fact that people are doing *something* yet another part of me is really angry that we're trying to sort out a problem using a sticker that could have been helped by organisations such as TfL listening to advice about how to make roads safer. I know somebody that was killed at Kings Cross and a sticker on the back of a lorry that ploughed into her and killed her would have done nothing...at all.

Why aren't we creating stickers asking why lorries and vulnerable road user must be forced together in dangerous junctions such as Kings Cross and many other like it all over the country? Or stickers asking why TfL chose to explicitly ignore cyclists at that same junction yet 20% of casualties there are cyclists?

I realise you're just reporting this, but it leaves a very bitter taste in my mouth and some would say it could even increase the blame culture that supposes that cyclists are to blame for 'undertaking' lorries when that situation really shouldn't be happening now. There are many good HGV drivers and some bad ones, but stickers won't solve the real problem.

Gkam84 [9111 posts] 5 years ago

The words stolen and thunder come to mind  3 3http://road.cc/content/forum/55974-want-win-grand-%C2%A31000

Paul M [363 posts] 5 years ago

I am sure most people would agree that individuals must ultimately take responsibility for their own safety to some extent, and children should be brought up to understand how to assess risk rationally. Newspapers often mock the more extreme examples of the "elf & safety" culture (many of which are mere urban myths anyway) and we would probably quite often agree. One irritation for me is how the water in airport washbasins is blended to a lukewarm termperature, presumably so we don't scald ourselves.

Neveretheless I am nervous about where this may lead. I can cite examples of plain stupid behaviour - like the guy in front of me last night who rode up the inside of a bus indicating left at the lights and then stopped several feet short of the front of said bus - leaving me trapped with him in the left-hook zone. I also regularly see situations where it is the bus/HGV which maneouvers into the cyclists' danger zone, rather than the cyclist himself, and advising people to avoid HGVs could easily be re-interpreted as the cyclist failing to heed such sensible advice, even in situations like this.

It is a difficult message to get right, and I will be interested - but not terribly optimisitic - to see what they produce.

Tony Farrelly [2919 posts] 5 years ago

Good points Paul, I prefer to go along the outside if at all possible - but there are occassions when I do go up the inside: when there's plenty of room and I'm pretty sure the lorry isn't going to move, and ideally I've made eye contact with the driver.

On my particular commute the danger posed to me by HGVs and buses comes not from me passing too close on the inside of them, but them passing too close (and too fast) on the outside of me.

antonio [1168 posts] 5 years ago

Someone on a local cycle forum I was on suggested a similar logo be placed on local PSV's, all council vehicles and local HGV firms, in a prominent position to remind drivers of the vulnerability of cyclists, a brilliant idea but being a council run forum and money involved it got nowhere, shame. It would have been cheap at the price.

Lacticlegs [124 posts] 5 years ago

It's a cosmetic 'look we're doing something' sham that won't fix the underlying problem. Won't even scratch the surface - worse than useless.

Designing decent road layouts a la Denmark costs money. A bunch of stickers costs sweet FA...

I don't believe making drivers or HGV's 'aware' will help either (or minimally at best). The way to fix it is to stop throwing incompatible objects like HGV's and bicycles into the mix togather - spend the damn money and design proper bike paths and road systems!

(And yes I know I'm preaching to the converted here..)