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.