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HGV collision victim Bart Chan accuses Boris Johnson of "empty words" on London cycling safety

Hit from behind by HGV, cyclist lucky to be alive

Being hit from behind while you’re riding along minding your own business is every cyclist’s nightmare. On Tuesday May 13 that’s exactly what happened to Bart Chan, who was riding on Upper Thames Street in the City when he was hit from behind by an HGV. In this video he tells BBC London transport correspondent Tom Edwards what happened, and accuses Mayor of London Boris Johnson of “empty words” on cycle safety.

Chan says he felt “helpless under those wheels” as he was hit by the lorry. He said: “I was expecting the worst … excruciating pain followed … I was amazed I was still conscious coming out of it.”

With the trashed remains of his helmet at his bedside, Chan lists his injuries which include a shattered shoulder. The full extent of the damage is not yet clear, he says.

But he’s clear on what he thinks will improve safety for cyclists in London: safer HGVs. He said there should be “compulsory better design. You’ve got London buses which are pretty well designed for the drivers, they can look around almost 360. I always see a bus driver, they can see me. Why can’t we have that for HGVs?”

Chan said that he’d also like to see segregated cycling facilities and a ban on HGVs at rush hour.

London mayor Boris Johnson and Transport for London have been promising improvements to cycling facilities since Johnson was elected in 2008, but campaigners increasingly say too little is being improved too slowly.

Chan agrees. He said: It’s not happening fast enough because there’s still deaths going on, still serous injuries. … The mayor talks about a cycling revolution but I’m yet to see that revolution take place. I feel it’s empty words right now from Boris Johnson.”

On the same evening as Chan was hit, Abdelkhalak Lahyani died after a collision with an HGV at the Elephant and Castle. Campaign group Stop Killing Cyclists is organising a protest at the site on wednesday evening, May 21.

John has been writing about bikes and cycling for over 30 years since discovering that people were mug enough to pay him for it rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work.

He was heavily involved in the mountain bike boom of the late 1980s as a racer, team manager and race promoter, and that led to writing for Mountain Biking UK magazine shortly after its inception. He got the gig by phoning up the editor and telling him the magazine was rubbish and he could do better. Rather than telling him to get lost, MBUK editor Tym Manley called John’s bluff and the rest is history.

Since then he has worked on MTB Pro magazine and was editor of Maximum Mountain Bike and Australian Mountain Bike magazines, before switching to the web in 2000 to work for Along with founder Tony Farrelly, John was on the launch team for and subsequently became editor in chief of Future Publishing’s group of cycling magazines and websites, including Cycling Plus, MBUK, What Mountain Bike and Procycling.

John has also written for Cyclist magazine, edited the BikeMagic website and was founding editor of before handing over to someone far more representative of the site's main audience.

He joined in 2013. He lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

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