Bendy buses more likely to kill a cyclist than a double decker, says blondie
12.09.07 by Buffalo Bill
According to London’s leading Tory cyclist, Boris Johnson, his first act as mayor of London will be to scrap bendy buses and replace them with a modern-day Routemaster with an open rear platform and a conductor. It would be fully accessible for the disabled and mothers with buggies, according to the flying Etonian.
Persumably it will also be equipped with stair-lifts, creches and toilets too. BJ went on to say that many cyclists are killed every year by bendy buses.
In the area of road transport policy I have found myself disagreeing with Ken Livingstone often. However, he described BJ’s statements as ‘wicked fibs’. I can only agree. I haven’t seen any stats from Transport for London about the rate of fatal injury of cyclists as a result of collisions with bendy buses. But I doubt that there is more than 1 a year. Ken says there has not been a single one. I guess he should know.
In terms of actual measured statistics, there is this report on stats released by TfL to the London Assembly from last month’s Standard: today’s figures show that bendy buses cause 5.6 pedestrian injuries per million miles operated, compared with 2.6 for all other buses. They are involved in 2.62 collisions with cyclists per million miles, compared with 0.97 for other buses. And they have 153 accidents per million miles, compared with only 87 per million on non-bendy routes.
However even if the head-line figure makes bendy nearly twice as dangerous as other buses, they are still far less dangerous to cyclists than lorries.
As we reported earlier this year: lorry drivers… …are by far the most likely to kill a cyclist, according to a study published in the British Medical Journal in 1994, called ‘Deaths of Cyclists in London’, which says that the risk of heavy goods vehicles being involved in accidents in which cyclists die in inner London can be estimated at five times that of buses, 14 times that of light goods vehicles, and 30 times that of cars. The study also suggested that until the factors leading to this excess risk are understood, a ban on heavy goods vehicles in urban areas should be considered. Based on my back of an envelope calculation, this would make lorries still at least 3 times more likely to kill a cyclist than a bendy bus.
I know that lots of my London readers hate bendy buses with a vengeance. There is no question that they are long and unwieldy and get in the way. Driven careless, they are definitely dangerous.
However, I think that, as they are still way less dangerous than lorries, Boris is just scoring cheap political points, when he describes them as ‘cyclist-killing’. I would like very much to hear some statements from BJ about his transport policy that indicate that he hasn’t whipped it up over a glass or two of the red stuff. Has he even had a look at the stats? Would you trust a man who can’t even get it together to buy himself a decent lock and learn how to use it?
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