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London Cycling Campaign and British Cycling react to news of latest fatality

British Cycling and the London Cycling Campaign have both called for a rethink on when lorries are allowed on London’s streets following the death of a cyclist yesterday. According to the London Evening Standard, Mayor Boris Johnson has said that he wants to ban lorries from the capital unless equipped with safety features including additional mirrors and skirts that prevent cyclists from being dragged underneath.

The victim, aged in her 20s, was killed at 8.20am as she turned left onto Victoria Street from Palace Street by a tipper truck which was also turning left after the traffic lights had changed, with the Standard publishing pictures of her crushed bike. The driver was questioned at the scene but not arrested, the newspaper added.

Mike Cavenett of LCC, quoted on BBC News London, said: "These lorries are banned from the roads overnight so first thing in the morning they go out on to the streets to make deliveries at the same time as cyclists. It is a serious problem."

LCC says that while lorries account for 5 per cent of London’s traffic, they are involved in half of cyclist fatalities in the city, with construction vehicles presenting a particular hazard, being involved in a disproportionate number of incidents.

Last month, LCC unveiled the design of a ‘Safer Urban Lorry’ including features such as CCTV cameras and side guards, which it says can help prevent cyclists and pedestrians from suffering death or serious injury in the event of a collision.

Martin Gibbs, policy and legal affairs director at British Cycling, issued a statement via the organisation’s Twitter feed in which he said: “This is sad illustration of why cities need to remove trucks from commuting traffic.

“Most cycling deaths in London caused by HGVs so it's welcome that Mayor will consider best way to remove danger."

Speaking at the Get Britain Cycling parliamentary inquiry in February, Gibbs had highlighted that in 2011 there had not been a single death of a cyclist in Paris.

While the area concerned is much smaller than that of Greater London, it’s still an arresting statistic, and one that owes much to tighter restrictions on the movement of lorries in the French capital, as well infrastructure including infrastructure such as kerbed or segregated cycle lanes in some places.

The danger hasn’t been eradicated altogether – in the same week that he highlighted that statistic, a femalecyclist was killed by a lorry near Bastille while last October a lorry also claimed the life of an Equipe journalist who specialised in cycling.

Meanwhile, LCC has also repeated its call for Londoners to write to their local councils to urge them to back its Safer Lorries, Safer Cycling pledge.

Reflecting on yesterday’s fatality, LCC chief executive Ashok Sinha said: “It's terrible to hear about yet another cyclist-lorry fatality, and our thoughts are with the victim's family and friends.

"While we don't know enough about this incident to comment on specifics, the large number of cyclist-lorry fatalities clearly shows that reducing the danger from lorries must be a major priority for the city.

"Separating bikes and lorries by building continental-style infrastructure, as called for by our Love London, Go Dutch campaign, is essential on busy roads like this, while action should also be taken to make lorries safer.

"Every lorry on London’s streets should be driven by someone who’s had cyclist-awareness training, on a bike as well as in a classroom, and all lorries should have the latest safety equipment such as mirrors, cameras and sensors."

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.

12 comments

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Sedgepeat [93 posts] 3 years ago
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But when are we to start with the basic premise? Humans mingling with large pieces of essential machinery on the move would normally be banned if it were'nt cycling? Err why ban lorries? We don't have people mingling with trains & planes on the move.

There is also a massive uncomfortable risk feeling about being alongside the nearside of any HGV, where the driver is not in view. This really is a bad place to find oneself on a bike. It's probably better to get off and away from the situation; even wheel the bike round the corner.

And please don't accuse me of blaming the cyclist when I am blaming the scenario. It's a dangerous scenario.

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kie7077 [891 posts] 3 years ago
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Erm, it's like rush hour all day in London, I don't think that's a good solution.

Making sure the drivers tax, MOT, insurance and license are squeaky clean is one thing. Making the best mirrors a legal requirement is obvious.

Outlaw the pay-per-load that drivers get, it encourages bad driving far more than Strava encourages bad cycling.

And overhaul the driving crimes justice system FFS because it's a joke right now.

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torquerulesok [23 posts] 3 years ago
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To survive, simply don't mess with trucks or buses before an intersection where they might turn left. Let them go, don't squeeze past.

Such waits might add a minute to my 12 mile commute into work in the City. My life is worth that.

In my experience many cyclists lack common sense. There are two sides to this story and problem.

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monty dog [462 posts] 3 years ago
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The threat of legal action against serious workplace injury and death forced the construction industry to clean up its act on construction sites e.g. Olympic Park. Extend HS@W legislation to include traffic operations of contractors and construction contractors will clean up their act pronto, particularly where death or injury clauses in contract exert punative penalites and wipe-out profits. If all major public contracts included such clauses, behaviours will change overnight - the London Assembly should be setting an example stipulating such clauses in their contracts.

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keith_newnham [73 posts] 3 years ago
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Here we go again.... Any incident 'involving' an LGV is instantly their fault. Ban Lorries on the roads and how do the shops get their stock.

Teach cyclists of the dangers properly and, if they have any sense, they won't be in a position to be killed like this. If a large vehicle of any description is likely to be turning, keep back and let it go!!

By the way, I am a cyclist and also an aspiring LGV driver. I firmly believe that the two can co-exist, as long as both use their common sense.

Also, more mirrors won't fix the problem as the more mirrors a driver has to check the longer it takes to check them all, and therefore the more chance that the situation in the first mirror checked will have changed by the time they've checked the last one and pulled away.

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Argos74 [421 posts] 3 years ago
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Sedgepeat wrote:

And please don't accuse me of blaming the cyclist when I am blaming the scenario. It's a dangerous scenario.

Agree with you here. If there's one thing biking commuters can take from this it's "take the lane". It may add a minute or two to a journey. It may get me a few extra sweary shouts and beeps on the horn to get in the gutter where I belong (yeah, right). But I'm more likely to get there alive. This goes double and triple for lady cyclists who are more likely to feel bullied into the nearside of the lane.

Still think the driver and his employer should be tied to a tree while the CPS throw heavy books at them.

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AndrewRH [57 posts] 3 years ago
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The person killed was the second research scientist on the Cryosat2 satellite, Dr Katherine Giles at UCL. The original lead researcher, Prof Seymour Laxon was her PhD supervisor, who died in January.

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jasecd [427 posts] 3 years ago
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Tragic and all too common.

What are the solutions? I think it's obvious but due to a lack of political will, despite the lip service paid, they aren't implemented.

Make it harder to drive and easier to cycle, all whilst EDUCATING road users how to behave. It's all well and good putting stickers on the backs of lorries and running a few underfunded, half-hearted advertising campaigns but these aren't getting results. Proper enforcement of the rules of the road combined with a serious exhaustive public information campaign as to how to behave on the roads will improve things.

Now is the time to start prioritising cyclists over other road traffic. I drive in London for work as I have equipment to move around but I cycle at every opportunity. If my already lengthy journey to central London took longer then I would just have to accept it as a consequence of driving a car, which creates social costs. Bicycle use creates social benefits so why shouldn't it be prioritised.

Banning HGV's at certain times is, IMHO, pointless - London is busy all the time and I regularly ride outside of rush hour like many others. How about making the following technology mandatory for HGV's and buses in every large urban area, not just London:

Proximity sensors - these must exist surely?
More mirrors - I appreciate Keith's comment above but surely it's an improvement over having less?
Side skirts for trucks.
Traffic lights that prioritise cyclists - giving them a ten or twenty second head start over the rest of the traffic.
Cameras which enforce ASL's - I'm sick to death of sharing dedicated bike boxes with selfish taxi drivers and aggressive motorcycle couriers. Commenting on this doesn't go down well either.

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HKCambridge [223 posts] 3 years ago
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torquerulesok wrote:

To survive, simply don't mess with trucks or buses before an intersection where they might turn left. Let them go, don't squeeze past.

Such waits might add a minute to my 12 mile commute into work in the City. My life is worth that.

In my experience many cyclists lack common sense. There are two sides to this story and problem.

I'm sorry, but this makes me really quite angry. I never undertake lorries and my life is daily endangered by drivers who overtake too close and pull in after overtaking too fast. You'll presume to sit here and lecture cyclists on staying safe while the people killing others continue to drive on our roads without so much as being told off by the police.

Happened to me this morning: lorry couldn't wait two seconds for the opposite lane to clear. Ironically I was trying to take a quiet route today because I have a sore throat and can't keep up with traffic and take the lane, as I normally would. He definitely saw me as he beeped before deciding that rather than wait he would endanger my life.

While there are things that cyclists can do to increase their safety, the power and therefore the responsibility is with the truck driver.

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HKCambridge [223 posts] 3 years ago
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jasecd wrote:

Banning HGV's at certain times is, IMHO, pointless - London is busy all the time and I regularly ride outside of rush hour like many others.

I disagree: the levels of congestion in rush-hour encourage a lot of the worst behaviour, like overtaking when it isn't safe, ducking into cycle lanes because they're clear and the road isn't.

There's bad behaviour at all times to be sure, but the worst routinely bad driving I see is in rush hour. I've found motorists to be generally more patient and considerate when they don't perceive it to impact upon their journey, such as overtaking with proper width when the opposite lane is empty.

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700c [986 posts] 3 years ago
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IMO British cycling are not helping here:

Banning Lorries from commuting traffic? Totally unrealistic.

LCC et al calling for safety features / training to be mandatory for Lorries and drivers - good idea.

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ribena [180 posts] 3 years ago
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Sedgepeat wrote:

There is also a massive uncomfortable risk feeling about being alongside the nearside of any HGV, where the driver is not in view. This really is a bad place to find oneself on a bike. It's probably better to get off and away from the situation; even wheel the bike round the corner.

And please don't accuse me of blaming the cyclist when I am blaming the scenario. It's a dangerous scenario.

segdepeat/Keith Peat/Drivers Protest Union/@driver_hatred/@DriverUnion/ @EastMidsDrivers....

In many cases the cyclists DO stay away from lorries... sometimes, they've been overtaken and the lorry has turned left whilst they are in the (huge) blind spot. e.g.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dZCS3FLgYWM

In this instance, the cyclist was just at traffic lights and even made eye contact...
http://www.lfgss.com/thread74152.html
People were screaming to the driver to stop and he didn't even realise there was someone there.