London September -Three cyclists hit by lorries. Two Fatal
Two cyclists were run over by lorries on 18 September bringing attention, once again, to road safety on our busy roads.
In the UK, it is not compulsory for trucks to use 'Blind Spot Mirrors'.
Cyclists are very vulnerable. They are unable to escape if there are pedestrian railings by the road. Often lorries are unable to stop in time, such as at traffic lights where many accidents happen and the 'safe' space for cyclists at the traffic lights is ignored by many lorries.
From my experiences, some lorries also do not provide adequate space for cyclists on the left hand lane. It is quite easy to get crushed. The Highway Code recommends at least a car space in between the cyclist and vehicle. RoSPA (The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents also suggest, on their website, that lorry drivers should give cyclists more room) in one of their Road Safety Campaigns.
The following is a cyclist's worst nightmare:-
This is from yesterday's London Evening Standard:-
"An air ambulance landed in Kensington High Street today to help a cyclist trapped under a lorry. Traffic came to a standstill as hundreds of onlookers watched the helicopter take the victim to hospital.
Witnesses said the man, in his twenties, was knocked off his bike and crushed under the front wheel of a lorry turning left from Kensington High Street into Campden Hill Road at about 9.20am. Two hours earlier another cyclist received fatal injuries when he was hit by a heavy goods vehicle in Upper Thames Street.
In Kensington, among the first people on the scene were a road-maintenance crew who had been working nearby. One of them, Steve Higgins, 30, said: "We ran down and saw he had badly hurt his leg and his side. I took a first aid course last week so that gave me the confidence to go and help him. He was getting really cold because there was so much blood running out of him so we covered him in our high-vis jackets until the ambulance arrived. I held his hand and kept asking him if he was ok and he replied 'yes' but he couldn't feel anything."
The truck driver, in his forties, was so traumatised by the accident he was sick by the roadside.
Mr Higgins said: "We heard the driver saying to the policeman that he was waiting for ages to turn left and as he did this guy went under his front wheel as he came from inside." Tony White, a porter at the Hornton Court apartment block, said: "There's been accidents on that turning before. You get people coming up very fast." Police said the cyclist's injuries were not life-threatening. In the earlier accident, paramedics treated the victim in Upper Thames Street but he died later of his injuries"A few years ago in London 'Metro' "Women cyclists are more likely to be killed by lorries than men because they obey red lights and then wait in drivers' blind spots. Research by Transport for London, which has been kept secret suggests that cyclists who jump red lights may be safer than those who stick to the law. "
Here is an article in 2007 by the London Cycling Campaign:-
"2000 cyclists have signed petitions supporting London Cycling Campaign's call for wide vision mirrors to be fitted to all lorries.
London Cycling Campaign (LCC) warns lives may needlessly be put at risk because the Department for Transport (DfT) plans to do the minimum required by new EU laws. Lorries are involved in about half of all cyclist fatalities in London.
Under the new laws, large lorries are required to be fitted with a full set of mirrors which give a clear view of pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles around the front of the driver’s cab. But the government only plans to impose the regulations on lorries registered since 2000, which means 30% of Britain’s large lorries will be exempt.
“The threat of large lorries is the biggest barrier to safer cycling, but about 120,000 older vehicles will not be fitted with these new safety mirrors,” said Charlie Lloyd, Cycling Development Officer and former HGV driver. “We want every lorry driver on the road to able to see pedestrians and cyclists.”
Cyclists will have a reprieve from the onslaught of lorries and other traffic, as on the 21st September, London celebrates Freewheel, a Car Free Day in London where cyclists and pedestrians can travel round parts of London in relative safety.
Update: 8 October, further to Malcolm's comments, I have managed to track down details of yet another cyclist, a woman, who died in London under a lorry on 24 September. Courtesy of the website Missing List where police are appealing for information.
"Police are appealing for witnesses following the death of a cyclist in Holborn this morning (24th September).
Officers were called at approx 0640hrs to reports of a lorry in collision with a female cyclist in Vernon Place at the junction with Southampton Row, WC1.
The lorry was believed to be turning left from Vernon Place into SouthamptonRow at the time of the collision.
London Ambulance Service attended and the female cyclist - aged 31 years -was pronounced dead at the scene.
A post mortem is scheduled to take place tomorrow (25th September) at St Pancras Mortuary. Next of kin have been informed but we await formal identification before naming the deceased.
DS Dave Hindmarsh from the Euston Collision Investigation Unit leads theinvestigation. He said:
"I am appealing for anyone who witnessed this collision to contact our investigation team.
"Southampton Row, which is near Holborn tube station, is a busy thoroughfare and even at this time of the morning would have been busy with people."
If you saw anything that you think may help the inquiry, please call our incident room on 0207 388 6806."
Update October 2008:
From the London Cycling Campaign's website: "LCC sent the Mayor a letter proposing a four-point plan to prevent further death and injuries caused by accidents between cyclists and lorries. LCC is demanding immediate action after three cyclists have been killed in the last month, and several more seriously injured."
Also Transport for London, according to the Metro newspaper today 13/10, will start having a Cyclist Awareness campaign at cinemas round London.
Update 17 October 2008. Panorama plans to make a programme on Cyclists & HGVs.