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Lorry driver not to blame for death of cyclist
6.12.07 by Buffalo Bill

The lorry driver who ran over cyclist Victoria Buchanan in October 2006, killing her, has been cleared of careless driving.

Mr Jones, of Godley Road, who has been an HGV driver for more than 20 years, said he did not see Ms Buchanan in his mirrors before making a left hand turn. He said he made repeated mirror checks but Ms Buchanan, who was wearing a cycling helmet and a fluorescent top, was not in view and must have been in his blind spots. Mr Jones said he did not hear her screams as she was dragged under the wheels for at least nine metres, due to the noise of his engine.

According to the report, Ms Buchanan passed him on the left in a cycle lane. I have mentioned before that I think that cycle lanes can trap the unwary. If you are in a cycle lane, you are not safe, as Matt Seaton points out today.

This case also serves to highlight the need for all LGVs, HGVs, lorries, wagons, artics, semis, trucks, or whatever it is that we are supposed to call them, to be retro-fitted with mirrors that will give drivers a view of everything that is around their vehicle. Retro-fitting the mirrors costs around £100. Training drivers in their correct use will surely cost only a few quid.

I heard a chap from the Institute of Advanced Motoring estimate that the cost of death and injury resulting from road crashes is around 1.5 % of Gross Domestic Product, or more than the UK government spends in aid. An Audit Commission report estimated the total cost of road crashes at £8 billion annually. Which is a lot of money. So why is the UK government obstructing moves to make retro-fitting compulsory? It doesn’t make any sense.

For more on the HGV/LGV/lorry problem (summary: collisions with lorries kill around 9 London cyclists each year, most, if not all, are avoidable), go to the contents tab and click ‘HGV/cyclist’.

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