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Bendy buses more likely to kill a cyclist than a double decker, says blondie
12.09.07 by Buffalo Bill

one of those safe double-decker thingies

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?

Daily Mail attacks cyclists, Jenny Jones says write to your MLA
Cynthia Barlow of Roadpeace on cuts to 'lorry police'
Boris left at the lights
BJ wants to see cyclists fined £130 for cycling on the pavement
Bendy buses have not killed any London cyclists
Motorbikes in bus lanes from 5th January
What do you think of the Congestion Charge?
What to do about lorries?

  1. do. not. trust. boris.

    — messyangel    12 September 2007, 21:44    #
  2. yeah bring back the double decker 73

    — Stokey    13 September 2007, 08:53    #
  3. i’m voting for boris. mainly because hes such a fuckwit. i can just imagine how awesome the olympics would be with him in charge

    — papa44    13 September 2007, 18:50    #
  4. yeah the olympics. why do you think im a courier? this is what i call training. I’ll still be under 40 godammit. (cough)

    — messyangel    13 September 2007, 21:34    #
  5. Those buses may be bendy, but they’re not big.
    Not big at all.
    Certainly not as big as something like…
    My todger (just for instance).
    Best advice:
    Stay away from Islington.

    — Swiss Tony    14 September 2007, 17:30    #
  6. Swiss Tony for Mayor of London!

    A man who knows how to handle the big questions with care.

    — Bill    14 September 2007, 19:53    #
  7. i’m quite sure if a bendy bus had a crash with both a double decker and a cyclist the latter would come off worse. Whats the debate here, silly headlines?

    — safa brian    16 September 2007, 11:14    #
  8. I guess my point here is that Boris is just mouthing off. I probably should mention that I have had various journos contact me in the last few months, fishing for ‘bendy-bus stories’. I didn’t have any.

    — Bill    16 September 2007, 11:47    #
  9. 5 bendy buses some how on auto pilot race through London traffic zigging and zagging, poetry in motion as if there is no traffic, just flow. They fly up Oxford st and take a hard left into Berwick st at 120mh. Buff Bill exenger, hip blogger, rogue and zine editor has just clipped in outside the creative office and started to spin with such a lovely camp cadence the wrong way up Berwick st in defiance against road traffic laws. As he looks up to plan his route home he lets out a meek “eek” but it’s too late…

    — Zack Speedfast    16 September 2007, 15:26    #
  10. There’s your story

    — Zack Speedfast    16 September 2007, 15:27    #
  11. ‘camp cadence’?


    — Bill    16 September 2007, 15:41    #

  12. — papa44    19 September 2007, 12:40    #
  13. I got hit by a bendy bus the other day … my bike went under luckily I did not .. A Driver tried to over take me ….with a 18 meter long bus .. thats crazy???!!! Anyway had nothing against them before but now I see London streets are not equipped for the the mass of the Bendy bus .. Ken your plan is wrong wrong wrong !!

    — Tovi    30 September 2007, 22:08    #
  14. a couple of months back, a bendy bus undertook me and forced me onto the other side of the road and into oncoming traffic. luckily for me, the oncoming transit van swerved into the bus lane on his side of the road to avoid hitting me. all i could do was slow down and wait for the bus to go by.

    the bus drivers actions were clearly malicious and, as is the nature of london traffic, i was soon able to get ahead of him and then stop and write down all identifying marks on the bus. i then wrote a long and detailed letter of complaint.

    i got an apologetic reply from arriva that said the driver had been referred to senior management for discipline, but that they could not tell me what would happen from there. probably nothing says my cynical self. but at least they now have a record of a drivers malicious behaviour.

    — lurkette    1 October 2007, 16:11    #
  15. lurkette. As a driver of normal double deckers i can tell you that they would have checked cctv and if anything dodgy found disciplined the driver. There were 1751 bendy bus accidents in London last year and TFL need to take them off the road ASAP.

    Dave    10 October 2007, 19:10    #
  16. whats wrong with u lot there is nothing wrong with londons bendy bus evey time im out on me bike there r allways bendy busses it not the bus if u need to lern to deal with them coz there nothing wrong with bendy busses coz my mum drives them and never nothing goes wrong

    — william    24 December 2008, 22:16    #
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