10.10.08 by Buffalo Bill
Last week sometime I posted an item containing suggestions of things to do that might encourage various entities to do more about the problem of London cyclists being killed by lorries. One of those things was writing to your MP. I am happy to say that 19 other people have signed up to the pledge, and I have now written to my MP, hard copy, and also sent an email through the excellent We Write To Them web-site.
The letter I sent is an edited version of the letter I sent to the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, 2 weeks ago (to which I have not yet received a reply). Here is the text.
As I am sure you are aware, 2 London cyclists were killed as the result of collisions with lorries in the last week, and another was seriously injured. Unofficial figures collected by the London Cycling Campaign suggest that 8 cyclists have died so far this year in London as the result of collisions with lorries. It is my view that not only are these deaths tragic, but that they are wholly avoidable.
As you may or may not be aware, a London Road Safety Unit study of London cyclist fatalities 1999 – 2002 concluded that of the 49 collisions with lorries, more than half were the result of a left turn by the lorry.
I therefore urge you to contact the Mayor of London and ask him to re-examine the basis of the London Cycle Network, because it is my belief that, by painting pictures of bicycles and white lines up the left-hand side of the road, Transport for London is encouraging cyclists to believe that the left-hand side of the road is where they belong, and that they will be safe there. In view of the results of the study mentioned above, this is most definitely not the case.
Also, given that to the left and front of lorry is very difficult location for a driver to see into, even with the new ‘blind-spot’ mirror, the provision of Advanced Stop Lines, with feeder lanes from the left, at junctions seems to me to be very dangerous practice. I wonder if you knew that at two spots where cyclists were recently killed by a left-turning lorries, Upper Thames Street junction with Queen Street Place, and Camley Street junction with Goods Way, there are two such ASLs, both with feeder lanes from the left, which have been installed since the fatalities. Surely this is something that needs looking at again?
I would also urge you to contact the Department for Transport and demand that they hasten the implementation of the European legislation that will make the fitting of ‘blind-spot’ mirrors compulsory for lorries. It seems that there are concerns that the DfT is dragging its feet, and that necessary arrangements have not yet been made.
I also sent copies to Emily Thornberry MP, who is chair of the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group, because I know that she has been most active on this issue1, and a seperate letter to the Minister with responsibility for implementing the legislation to fit more mirrors to HGV/LGV/lorries, Jim Fitzpatrick2.
Some recent articles on the matter
1 See this article, which is a review of a BBC London programme in which Ms Thornberry buttonholes Jim Fitzpatrick, and covers the issues very well.
2 See this article, in which Charlie Lloyd of the London Cycling Campaign voices his concerns that the Government is dragging its feet, and that the 2009 deadline will be missed.