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Transport for London to give away 10 000 'blind-spot' lenses
11.03.08 by Buffalo Bill

Amazing and encouraging stuff, this. It was announced that as part of TfL’s Freight Operator Recognition Scheme, which encourages operators to ensure best practice both for driving standards and vehicle safety, 10 000 ‘Fresnel’ lenses, which is a device that has been developed to help LGV/HGV/lorry drivers see into the so-called ‘blind-spot’ to the left of the cab, will be given away.

If this give-away is taken up, then it should result in a dramatic fall in the number of cyclists killed in London.

9 cyclists killed in London 2007 by goods vehicles
According to the TfL press release, preliminary analysis of data collected by the Met Police indicates that of the 16 cyclists killed in London in 2007, 9 died as the result of a collision with a goods vehicle, or more than 50%. The figure for 2006 was 9 of 19, and the average for 2000/3 was just over 7. This figures indicate that although less cyclists are being killed in London (32 in in 1992, 20+ in the late 90s), both as a percentage, and in absolute numbers, more cyclists are being killed by lorries in London than at any time in the last 8 years.

This is why this measure is so important.

Its adoption by TfL is a major achievement by those people who have spent the last 8 years campaigning for safer roads for softer vehicles. A great deal of credit is due to Jenny Jones, who is the Mayor’s Road Safety Ambassador, Roadpeace and Charlie Lloyd and Alastair Hinton at the London Cycling Campaign. All of the afore-mentioned have been working with TfL over a number of years in this area.

The Standard claims this announcement as a victory for its ‘Safer Cycling’ campaign, which has been running for less than a year. Students of road death will remember that the Standard made reducing the danger from HGVs number 4 on its wish-list. I welcomed the Standard’s reversal of its traditional anti-cycling stance at the time, but I do think it’s a bit rich that they should be claiming the credit for this measure, which after all, is part of long-running campaign to high-light the problem of lorries killing cyclists in London by many groups, including the Mayor’s office.

I will leave the last word to Jenny Jones:

This is one of those simple ideas which will make a huge difference to Londoners’ lives. It is a relatively cheap way for lorry drivers to avoid stress for themselves and death and injury to others. All lorries in London should have these lenses and all drivers should be reminded regularly to use them.

  1. You must be pretty stoked about that Bill? Bit of a personal victory considering your ongoing efforts??

    Blind Spot Biff

    — Dazzling    12 March 2008, 19:24    #
  2. Just a minor correction. It is fresnel lenses, not mirrors, that are being given out.

    Lenses are similar to those sometimes seen on the back of small rec vehicles.

    — Ron Richings    12 March 2008, 22:48    #
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