Perceived danger of lorries - a survey for London cyclists
17.03.10 by Buffalo Bill
As regular readers of Moving Target will know, London cyclists continue to be killed by collisions with lorries/HGVs/LGVs. Although no London bicycle courier has been killed since February 2004, all 8 died as the result of collisions with lorries. I have probably written more words about lorry / cyclist deaths than on any other subject in the last 20 years.
Consequently, I have had quite a lot of contact with the Met Police’s Collision Investigators. These are the guys who have the grisly task of examining the scene of a fatal (or near fatal) collision and trying to work out what happened and why. As I mentioned in a previous post, in the case of fatal collisions involving a cyclist and a lorry, their work is hampered by lack of witnesses. One said to me that you can always find people who saw what happened after the collision, but rarely anyone who saw what happened before. And, of course, the lorry driver will rarely be able to give good information because s/he will not have seen the cyclist, and the most useful witness, the cyclist, is dead.
As part of an effort to figure out what leads to these tragic incidents, which I believe to be wholly avoidable, a senior Collision Investigator has devised a survey for cyclists. I have published the accompanying email below. I urge all my London-based readers to complete the survey, and pass on the details to as many other cyclists as possible.
Dear Sir, Madam, Colleague,
Some of you will be aware that I am conducting research into cycling fatalities, if you are not aware then your e-mail address has been supplied to me as someone who may have an interest in the subject area.
In short, I am about to publish a web based questionnaire designed to explore risk taking behaviour in cyclists. The survey will take no more than 10 minutes to complete and is completely anonymous.
I am looking to explore specific data with regards to cyclists and Large Goods Vehicles, although the data I obtain will provide broader information as well. I am hoping that this research will obtain good quality data that can be used to inform road safety projects, aid training for all road users and, ultimately, reduce fatal and serious collisions, especially within the cycling community.
Some of you have assisted me in the preparation of the survey and some of you have taken a pilot study, those that have not are most welcome to complete the questionnaire themselves, but the main reason for sending this circulation is to ask you all to publicise the web link as far and wide as possible. Some of you have already agreed to host the link on a web page relevant to your organisation and I would ask that, if any of you have such a facility, that you do so as well. My target audience is, obviously, cyclists, but I do not want to be too specific about the groups of people I am interested in because people may self-exclude themselves, and I do not want that to happen, as all data will be useful.
You will all be aware that any research is only as good as the information that comes in, so the wider the response the more useful the information will be. I am sending this message out now so that those of you that need to prepare a web slot can do so and to ask those, for whom this is first contact, to consider what they may be able to do to assist.
I am hoping to send the link out very shortly and I will run the survey for a three week period when it goes live.
Many thanks in advance for your help.
Head of Collision Investigation Unit
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Female cyclist killed by lorry 16th September 2009
7th London cyclist killed by lorry, 29th June