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More awareness raising stuff
5.11.08 by Buffalo Bill

You might remember the ‘dancing bear’ ad, which, despite its faults, drew people’s attention to how easy it is to miss things when you are not looking for them (if you don’t or missed it at the time, see the MT article here). There’s more of the same clever stuff here. Thanks to TfL for the effort and energy.

Also in my inbox today was an email from a ‘media relations officer’ at Lambeth Council, announcing new action by the council to make its own HGV drivers more aware of the dangers that HGV/lorries/LGVs and other large motor vehicles pose to cyclists.

Lorry and bus drivers working for a London council are to be sent on special training sessions in cycling road safety in a bid to prevent road deaths involving cyclists and HGVs.

Drivers of refuse vehicles, school buses and other HGVs at Lambeth Council will undergo classroom and practical on-road cycle training to highlight the dangers posed to cyclists caught up in lorries’ blind spots. Lambeth is believed to be the first council in London to give this kind of training to its staff.

Signs on the back of Lambeth’s fleet of vehicles are also being installed, warning cyclists of the dangers of cycling inside a lorry or bus. While figures show that cycling in Lambeth is getting safer, more than half of all cycle deaths on London’s roads follow a collision with a goods vehicle, and cyclists are particularly in danger if they cycle on the passenger side of an HGV because of the poor view of the left side of the vehicle that drivers have from the cab. Sadly a cyclist was killed in Streatham in April this year as a result of a collision with a truck.

Starting from November, the classroom sessions will see drivers taught how to anticipate how cyclists will behave on the road and how to minimise the danger of cyclists being killed or injured. The drivers will then get onto bikes themselves and be given practical off-road and on road cycle training, to give them greater understanding about cycling and give them a chance to see what it feels like to be a cyclist on a road with other traffic, including large vehicles like the ones they drive.

There’s more in the press release, including the dreaded words ‘world-class cycling city’. I think it’s time to drop that particular statement, as it seems totally meaningless, unless accompanied by a clear definition. If by ‘world-class’, one means that cyclists in the city suffer the lowest rate of death and injury per kilometre cycled, then I am all for it. But why not just say that in the first place?

Anyway, also in the press release is the following statement:

In 2006, nine of the 19 cyclists who died on London’s roads were involved in a collision with a goods vehicle. Provisional data from the Metropolitan Police Service for 2007 indicates that nine out of the 16 cyclists who died on London’s roads last year were involved in a collision with a goods vehicle. Source, TfL.

Which pretty much confirms what I observed last year, ie that although the overall fatalities are dropping, the fatalities caused by colllisions with goods vehicles, if anything have gotten bigger over the last 8 years.

But, it’s immensely encouraging that an employer is taking these pretty comprehensive steps to prevent collisions, although the council’s vehicles have not (according to them) been involved in any ‘incidents’ with cyclists. This is exactly what the London Bicycle Messenger Association called for back in 2004, during its dialogue with TfL.

As always, heaps more articles, stats, reports etc on the cyclist/lorry thing on the contents page of this site, under ‘HGV articles’.

  1. I got a nice message from my MP, Keith Hill (MP for Lambeth) in response to a letter I wrote to him about lorries killing cyclists. I was impressed with the level of detail he had included. It seems as though the Fresnel lenses now being handed out to lorries were originally designed to be fitted to left-hand drive lorries to reduce “sideswipe” accidents on motorways.

    — Alex Ball    6 November 2008, 16:59    #
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