18 August 2015
Action Needed to Keep Cyclists Safe
Cyclists must be mindful of how they can reduce the hazards they encounter on London’s roads.
Good roadcraft, confidence, obeying the Highway Code and skill will always be key to keeping a rider safe.
But until authorities take meaningful steps to address the risks posed to vulnerable road users by lorries on the capital’s streets we will continue to see avoidable tragedies.
In London, seven of the eight cycling fatalities so far in 2015 have involved lorries. Many collisions occur when HGVs turn left at traffic lights or other junctions, with drivers claiming that blind spots meant they couldn’t see the cyclist.
Transport for London’s Safer Lorry Scheme, which comes into force next month, requires all HGVs in the capital to be fitted with extra safety equipment.
From Tuesday 1 September, any HGV that is not fitted with side guards and extended view mirrors will be prohibited from driving in London.
Unfortunately, the penalty for non-compliance may just be a £50 fine in a lot of cases. This is less than a parking fine in London.
Cyclist protection technologies that could help reduce the risk of left-turning lorries – such as side-facing cameras and sensors – are now available but, sadly, only one in five HGV operators have installed them on vehicles in their fleet.
The authorities need to take a more robust approach to ensure that fleet operators do their part in protecting London’s cyclists from death or serious injury.
Oliver Jeffcott is a Cycling Injury Solicitor at Slater and Gordon Lawyers in London.
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