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Lorry 'blind-spot' demo in Trafalgar Square
27.06.07 by Buffalo Bill

Back to the serious stuff. TfL’s Freight Unit, which has responsibility for promoting ‘best practice’ amongst road hauliers (people using lorries to move stuff around) in London promoted an awareness raising event over the last 2 days in Trafalgar Square. Members of the Met Police’s Commercial Vehicle Education Unit were there, along with two lorries (aka Heavy Goods Vehicle aka Large Goods Vehicles), one of which was an articulated lorry, one of which was a conventional lorry. Neither resembled the ‘tipper’ lorries that seem to be involved in so many fatal collisions in London.

the proximity mirror is top left

PC Henderson told me that ‘it was a safety message, not a PR stunt’. The purpose was to demonstrate to cyclists the limits of the direct and indirect vision that drivers have when sat behind the wheel of the cab. The first part was a walk-round by the cyclist, followed by a session at the wheel whilst the same walk-round was done by a PC with a bicycle. I learned nothing new. Vision on the left-hand side of a lorry is limited and indirect, that is, only available via the mirrors. The lorry I sat in had the 2 conventional mirrors, plus the new ‘proximity’ or ‘curb’ mirror, which shows the area right alongside the driver’s cab.

the 4th mirror top left

I say I learnt nothing new, but I didn’t. Once again, I saw that the left-hand side of a lorry is no place for a cyclist. But more than that, I saw that the Advanced Stop Line (ASL), the green cyclist’s box often found at traffic lights in London, is also no place for a cyclist. In front of, and to the left of a lorry, is very difficult for a driver to see into. Even with the extra 4th mirror fitted to the the artic, the driver’s vision is restricted. It is this 4th mirror that is currently being considered by the EU. It seems pretty obvious that it should be made compulsory for new lorries, and retro-fitted.

Death-trap?  Advanced Stop Line

This makes most of the existing London Cycle Network look like a death-trap for cyclists, encouraging them, as it does, to ride up the left of lorries and stop just in front of them. Thus it is that one part of TfL, Streets, is encouraging cyclists to do one thing, and another, the Freight Unit, is telling them to not to do it.

Can we have this absurd situation resolved, please, Ken?

Positive, in my view: the involvement of the Police Commercial Vehicle Education Unit. They have videoed the event, and will be using it to educate drivers and operators about cyclists, and LGV drivers and operators responsibility for our safety.

Also positive: that two operators were willing to donate a vehicle and a driver for the event.

For more on the continuing problem of cyclists being killed in London by lorries (or Large Goods Vehicles or Heavy Goods Vehicles), see the contents page and click the HGV button.

  1. i got shouted at by the police man in the lorry as if i was some idiot for even thinking about riding a bike in london because ‘the roads are no place bikes’. also the whole demo was under the assumption that i was gonna stop at the lights which is highly unlikely in the 1st place. i took my free bag cover and left.

    — Nik    27 June 2007, 21:23    #
  2. Really? That’s pretty outrageous.

    — Bill    27 June 2007, 21:45    #
  3. I don’t get it…if these vehicles have seriously restricted vision, how the hell are they licensed to drive on the roads, pass MOTs etc? surely they’re coming at this from the wrong angle…they’re killing us not the other way round…so shouldn’t they be doing something about the trucks / drivers not the victims?

    Winston    28 June 2007, 08:32    #
  4. Amother female cyclist gets hit by a lorry: http://tinyurl.com/26a2ca

    — Shrew    28 June 2007, 16:26    #
  5. really indeed, it wasn’t a great start to my 1st day back after 6 weeks of pretending to learn stuff for exams. good job i picked up 30 dockets to help ease the pain.

    — Nik    28 June 2007, 19:40    #
  6. Same guy as in the photo? I didn’t really warm to him very much. And I didn’t take one of the bags either.

    — Bill    28 June 2007, 19:51    #
  7. I used to have a flatmate that was a lorry driver (as well as cycle and motorbike courier, at other times) and his advice to get back at lorry drivers if they cut you up etc. was whack their offside wing mirror so they had to get out and reset it. Irrelevant but I’m drunk.

    — Josh    28 June 2007, 22:04    #
  8. dunno, i think mine was a bit thinner, he had an odd tat on his forearm that looked a bit like an anchor but not sure if it was one.
    did you read the leaflet they gave out? most enjoyable.

    — Nik    28 June 2007, 22:37    #
  9. Yeah, I got about 2 sentences into it, and then my blood started to boil. Billions of blue bilious blistering barnacles!

    — Bill    29 June 2007, 07:25    #
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