All the hallmarks of a ‘typical’ London cycling death

The news this week that a female cyclist has died after being hit by a lorry in Denmark Hill has brought cycle safety into the spotlight once again. Over the past 24 hours, the two incidents have been the most viewed articles on the Evening Standard website.


In 2015, six cyclists have been killed on the capital’s streets – all six of them in collisions involving HGVs. Five of those killed have been women, prompting Edmund King, president of the AA to describe the collision which led to death of Claire Hitier-Abadie in February as bearing “all the hallmarks of a ‘typical’ London cycling death – a female cyclist killed by a tipper truck turning left”.

The dangers that HGVs pose to cyclists are well known. Around half of cyclists’ deaths in London have been the result of a collision with a lorry – despite HGVs only making up around 5% of traffic. Almost all of those deaths have happened at junctions where the lorry has turned left across the path of a cyclist that the driver hasn’t seen.

But are women at more of a risk from HGVs than men, and if so why?

Since 2011, 34 cyclists have been killed in collisions with lorries. Of those, 17 have been women – despite women only making up around a quarter of cyclists in London.

Various theories have been put forward as to why women appear to be at greater risk than men. An internal report from TFL’s road safety unity in 2007 suggested that: “Women may be overrepresented in [collisions with goods vehicles] because they are less likely than men to disobey red lights.”

A study carried out in 2012 by researchers at London South Bank University, involving over 4,500 cyclists, suggests that men are more knowledgeable cyclists than women. They found that male cyclists were, on the whole, more likely than female cyclists to know that undertaking on the left-hand side is more risky, and were less likely to do so as a result.

Not everyone agrees with these conclusions, however. Jean Mowbray at Cycle Training UK, which provides free cycle training for people across London, says: “From our perspective, it’s really the skill of the cyclist. It doesn’t matter about your gender.”

She adds: “There are a few key things that will minimise risk. People who are inexperienced or nervous cyclists have a propensity towards putting themselves at risk, thinking that they are actually keeping themselves safe.” This can include things like kerb hugging, or sticking too closely to cycle lanes.

Of the people who’ve had training through Cycling Training UK, around 70 per cent have been women – almost the exact opposite of the gender balance out on the roads. Jean believes this is because men are less likely to admit they need the training, rather than because women are less confident on their bikes: “I think women are more responsible, I think men…it’s maybe an ego thing,” she says. “Some men may think, ‘We know everything, there’s nothing that you can teach us,’ so they don’t sign up for training – and often these are the people that need training.”

Jean acknowledges that cycle training is just one facet of minimising risk on the roads – with other elements such as road calming and cycle awareness training for drivers playing a key role.

Dr Rachel Aldred, Senior Lecturer in Transport at the University of Westminster, echoes this view: “It’s a complex area and I would be wary for this reason of assuming that the problem is the women cyclists’ behaviour and the solution is education. We know from psychological and sociological literature that what drivers ‘see’ and how they behave is shaped by a whole raft of factors, and cyclist positioning is only one of these.”

It’s also important to remember that the number of cyclists killed represents a very small proportion of the numbers actually cycling, and with such low statistical numbers it’s very hard to draw firm conclusions. In 2014, for example, just one of the 14 cyclists killed was a woman.

Dr Aldred believes there’s a risk in focusing on whether women’s behaviour puts them at greater danger from HGVs: “So even assuming – and it’s a big assumption – that women’s behaviour places them at higher risk from HGVs, and assuming – another big assumption – that we could educate women to cycle more like men, it’s possible that they might then experience higher risks in relation to deaths caused by cars, for example.”

It seems that, when it comes to the risk of HGVs in relation to women cyclists, there are no easy answers. Cycle campaigners in London are calling for all lorries on the capital’s streets to be fitted with safety gear that would reduce the size of their blind spot and alert them to the presence of cyclists nearby. Until then, the advice is to be assertive, pay attention and stay as far away from a lorry’s blind spot as you possibly can.

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As seen on The Guardian, BBC and The Independent.

45 Responses to All the hallmarks of a ‘typical’ London cycling death

  1. Charlie Holland 29/05/2015 at 5:58 pm #

    If discussing gender, surely the gender of the drivers as well as the cyclists should feature.

  2. Ian 30/05/2015 at 12:11 pm #

    As well as staying out of a lorry’s blind spot, knowing just how big the blind spot can be is really important

    • Andreas 31/05/2015 at 5:33 am #

      Here’s an image that gives some indication:

      • Matt 05/06/2015 at 1:47 pm #

        There was a really illuminating video by TfL a few years back from the perspective of a lorry driver at a set of lights. He couldn’t see anything below him, set off, then there was a slight bump. The video then cuts back to a mangled bike.

        I shudder when I see people (male and female) undertaking on the left at the lights – sometimes, when the lights are turning flashing amber. Stay well back or well forward of the traffic (for HGVs, I always find eye contact and a wave helps!)

  3. Vincent 30/05/2015 at 8:44 pm #

    Do we know *exactly* how each of those accidents occured, so we know what to teach newbies?

  4. Gpunto 30/05/2015 at 10:59 pm #

    I am very saddened when a cyclist is injured or killed in a road accident. However, I must say that many commuters still lack the basics of hazard awareness to be on busy roads.

    My opinion, based on the last 10.000km of cycling in inner London.
    I have the feeling that women, in proportion (and I stress in proportion), tend to disregard highway rules more than man and pay less attention to the moving traffic and surrounding environment than male cyclists.
    This realises in jumping red lights, cycling on pavements, failing to stop/give way to crossing pedestrians, failing to check over shoulder before overtaking a stationary vehicle or before turning.
    Very often female cyclist tend to occupy areas around an HGV where I would never dare to go.
    The above probably explains why women on bikes are more prone to accidents.

    • Andreas 31/05/2015 at 5:48 am #

      I can’t say I share the same view. I see a similar proportion of cyclists ignoring both laws and safety recommendations by cycling experts. What these deaths prove is mixing HGV’s in their current form with cyclists, on London’s roads is going to continue causing deaths, despite all the publicity and safety tips that accompany each tragic death.

      • Matt 05/06/2015 at 1:49 pm #

        I do agree Andreas – often it’s a case of confidence for a cyclist. In a nervous / new cyclist, safety = kerb. That’s also my theory why some cyclists go through red lights – they’d rather chance their arm breaking the law, rather than getting caught up in the throng of traffic (cars, bikes, lorries, buses) and risk breaking several limbs.

    • Al 01/06/2015 at 2:26 pm #

      Absolute tosh, I see people across all ages, genders, etc doing the things you’ve described in London every day, proportionally I see more middle-aged men sailing through red lights – I always seem to end up in the trap of playing a ridiculous game of hop-scotch with these idiots, watching them blithely sail past when I’m waiting at a red light, then finding the right time to overtake them again because they’re so slow, and so it goes on…

      It’s very much down to the individual how aware they are about how they should considerately share the road.

      • Mick Hall 27/09/2016 at 9:19 am #

        You are quite right A1 it has to be recognized by all that not all road users do the right thing and that of course includes cyclists who until I see none of them riding without holding onto the handlebars never attain blame free status- ever.
        I heard just now that it is now ‘law’ for cyclists to not ride inside of a stationary
        lorry. As a past motor cyclist we would never commit that ‘sin’ because of the obvious danger and that was when there were only a fraction of the lorries on the road than there are now. There is a vast quality difference between all road users but for some 40 years the quality of the driving and riding has become slowly but surely abysmal although we in the UK are bandied to be the best drivers in the world. Driving by Milan towing a few times certainly tests the best of us drivers and to get back here unscathed says something of a drivers ability and perception which is lacking in many road users but I must say some cyclists seem rather reckless and should pull their socks up.
        Yesterday stationary at lights a cyclist overtook inside & then another went between my vehicle and the cyclist who’d stopped straight through the RED light….
        Terrible shame about the lady killed by the Lorry in Nottingham but apparently she rode inside the stationary lorry which as I said is a very bad idea.

  5. Mark 31/05/2015 at 6:31 am #

    I am truly sorry that another fellow cyclist has died in what must be the worst possible circumstances.

    I am however a little confused that gender is being brought into question. 34 for deaths, 17 of those male, isn’t that 50/50? I know the stats show that less women cycle than men but this shows that the same number of people are putting themselves in dangerous positions, blaming the HGV for each incident is far from being correct.

    How many of the 34 incidents have had the HGV driver prosecuted for Careless/Dangerous Driving?

    • Mark G 02/06/2015 at 11:13 am #

      Hey – the article states that only 25% of London cyclists are female. So if the gender ratio of deaths is 50:50, that means proportionately, 3 times as many women die on the roads than men!

      There’s an important difference between blaming the presence of the HGV and blaming the driver (dangerous driving etc). Badly designed junctions where HGV’s and cyclists are sharing space are as much a cause as careless driving by either party.

  6. Sian 31/05/2015 at 6:52 am #

    It’s a tragedy more deaths on the roads in London. Bring back cycling proficiency in schools – it was a simple message that still sticks with me 40 years later ‘stay behind large vehicles whilst waiting at traffic lights’ .

    it is common sense which surprises me that women seem to continue to make this mistake.

    We as cyclists should look out for each other on the roads and if we see folk making this mistake to gently point out to them what they are doing and what the consequences could be if we can . They may not like it but we could be saving lives.

    • Docklands 31/05/2015 at 8:48 am #

      i agree Sian re the cycling proficiency test some 40 odd years ago!

      However, I have tried ‘gently pointing out’ risks and errors to both male and female cyclists in recent years, including where there are clear no cycling signs due to risks to pedestrians, only to be verbally assaulted – the area in question is always the Greenwich foot tunnel!

  7. Peter 31/05/2015 at 10:56 am #

    Blaming a particular gender isn’t that useful. For all we know men just tend to buy faster bikes and can get past HGVs in time.

    Letting the conversation diverge into casual sexism is the wrong thing to do and solves nothing.

  8. Sykles 31/05/2015 at 12:13 pm #

    We do not allow blind drivers on the road. Why do we allow blind vehicles?

    We do not know much about the circumstances of these deaths, but knowing more would probably just feed the victim-blaming culture instead of addressing issues of blind vehicles, bullying, and attractive bits of paint. (E.g. if it transpires that the majority were inexperienced, or rode up the inside, or maybe they were female cyclists who gave in to the bullying to get out from primary position etc. etc. [I am a woman cyclist who receives regular death threats when I take the lane to preserve my safety. My subjective-only experience means that I have no idea:
    1. whether men get bullied as much?
    2. if men do get bullied as much, are they as likely to give in and alter their road positioning? I do not give up my safe primary position. However, that bullying is making me miserable, and NONE of my female cycling friends will take primary position – they have all been terrified into the gutter/doorzone, which really upsets me.] )

    So, if it transpires that knowing the facts might feed victim-blaming (they went up the inside, they were inexperienced yadda, yadda) we can only reply ‘Why do we allow blind vehicles? We do not allow blind drivers!’ Why lure cyclists into dangerous places with paint? Poorly-designed feeders into ASLs look to many cyclists like this is where they are supposed to be. Indeed, the very motorists that cut cyclists up by turning left over the top of them, also believe that this is where cyclists should be.

    • Peter 31/05/2015 at 1:08 pm #

      I tried cycling the primary position for a while but gave up after most cars beeped, shouted, tailgated me, overtook so closely I was almost knocked off. I consider myself to be an aggressive cyclist and am not intimidated easily. But annoying people with anger problems and driving a weapon wasn’t smart at all.

      • Sykles 31/05/2015 at 2:57 pm #

        Yes – that bullying is hell. However, when taking the lane, you will never know how many times you’ve saved your own bacon by being visible to the better drivers who have no intention of hurting you… Who knows?

      • adrian 31/05/2015 at 8:04 pm #

        Any vehicle can be a weapon in the wrong hands,an “aggressive cyclist” in Blackpool knocked a 3yr old girl down right outside her own house while riding on the pavement and dragged her for about 50 yards before cycling off.luckily the idiot turned himself in the next day and the girl was not seriously hurt.I wonder if every cyclist had to wear some form of I.D.that was clearly visible to others wether they would be so gung ho and carefree while riding.i see them go through red lights,riding way too fast through standing traffic because they are trying to beat last nights record home.And the best one cycling with bloody headphones which should be as illegal as driving while using a phone.Don’t get me wrong there are a lot of drivers that think the road is their’s and no one elses but please don’t have the attitude that all drivers are dangerous and that cyclists are all innocent because they are not.Cars have reg plates so are instantly identifiable whereas cyclists are totally can’t tell one power ranger from the next(what is it with all the lycra????).problem is no one is prepared to work together to make the roads safer. like i always say the roads are there for everyone.Maybe cyclists should contribute to the road system with a cycling licence which has to be purchased following a test.You have to take one to drive so why not to cycle?they could then make cycle awareness part of the driving test so there are clear set in stone rules for both parties.i do think i should be illegal to cycle down the inside of a truck,it’s just a stupid thing to do and anyone with an ounce of common sense would agree.i also think tailgating a cyclist is stupid and should be dealt with accordingly.I’ve only been through London once and once was enough so i am no expert in city driving/cycling but i really think if everyone stopped being so bloody angry with each other things might improve. GOD DAMN CITY FOLKS lol lol

        • Peter 31/05/2015 at 8:19 pm #

          For clarification by aggressive I don’t mean running red lights or cycling on the pavements. I’m the type of person who will stop a car overtaking me if I think there isn’t enough room. Or cycle further out to stop cars passing too close to my friends.

        • Chris 08/06/2015 at 9:24 am #

          Surely you meant to say that cycling should be as illegal as driving with the windows shut and music playing???

          Personally, I choose not to wear headphones when riding on the road because I value the heightened sense of perception I get without them, but to compare cycling with headphones to driving whilst using a phone is ridiculous.

    • Skippy 08/06/2015 at 8:24 am #

      Problem for London based Commuters is the Met. Police Service !

      Each Death leads to VICTIM BASHING ! DEAD Cyclist spurs an operation to COLLECT MORE MONEY , NOT , seek ways to eradicate the cause of the Deaths & Serious Injuries !

      WHEN will MPS realise that HGV using the roads in the ” Rush Hours ” are the MOST LIKELY cause ? PARIS , similar in size to London , has prohibition periods that are apparently effective ! TOO BAD that Bozo does little more than ” chat ” with the Paris Mayor , AND , Ignore the evidence available ? Statistics are available , if he would CHOOSE to read them !

      IF London can create a ” Congestion Charge Zone ” , it can create a HGV Rush Hour EXCLUSION ZONE !

      What a shame that a certain poli. was MISSED when a boulder fell in Greenwich? Had he been ” Injured ” , then it is likely the OUTCRY would have seen ACTION rather than platitudes such as ” You have to have your wits about you ” , etc ?

      After being RAMMED in the rear by a TFL D/Decker on 2nd May 2014 whilst on a MARKED Cycle Lane , there is no way i would encourage ANYONE to visit and Cycle in London !

      Google VisionZeroWorldWide , click ” LIKE ” and download ANY of the Placards that will HELP YOU to promote ” Safe Pass , Presumed Liability and the END TO TAILGATING ! Even if the 1st Vehicle passes safely , those behind are TOO BUSY with ” Distractions ” to AVOID giving YOU a heart flutter , if not WORSE !

  9. Antonia 31/05/2015 at 1:01 pm #

    I agree with Sian regarding cycling proficiency. We need to look at the issues in two ways. Firstly the long term view. Getting more people cycling and everyone understanding the rules of the road. It is my opinion that fewer traffic accidents would happen if everybody had taken a cycling profecicney test at school. Cyclists would learn the rules of the road and future car drivers would learn what to expect from cyclists. I can’t comment on the individual accidents but I can say that I have noticed when cycling that women are often at the back of the pack at traffic lights, thus leaving them more vulnerable if they are stuck in the cycle lane and in a vehicles blind spot. If this ever happens to me either pull back behind the hgv or ask everyone to move forward. I’ve noticed that I’m alone in this. 50% of the time I’m greeted with a sigh by my fellow cyclists. I’d rather be sighed at than dead.

  10. Ree 31/05/2015 at 1:07 pm #

    Sykels; you are so right! I now have the privilege of cycling completely away from roads between Wormwood Scrubs and Paddington, through the park and along the canal. Here I don’t get bullied by anyone! It’s such a relief. But the other day, I was taking the lane on a two lane one way street. I was in the right lane going straight ahead at the junction, but that lane could also turn right, so I positioned myself to make my intentions clear. Some jackass put his car between me and the right hand curb!! And told me, you don’t take up that much space! What! I am starting to think I need a weapon so that people think twice when trying to intimidate me. Maybe it’s because I’m a woman, maybe it’s because I’m on a Brompton, I don’t know.

  11. Spoquey 31/05/2015 at 1:57 pm #

    I am a very confident woman cyclist, and am happy to be alive to share the tale of almost being crushed by a van driver last Wednesday, on the Cycle Superhighway (!) between Stratford and Bow. He overtook at speed and turned sharp left inches in front of me. It is possible that my 34 years’ cycling experience allowed me to swerve out of his way in time. But there was no warning at all and he should not have had to rely on me taking aversive action. He was totally immersed in what he was listening to on his headphones.

    People seem to be talking about the need for cyclists to be trained and experienced, to avoid danger, blah blah. But how are we ever going to encourage children and new cyclists to use our roads, if we don’t force drivers by law to behave carefully? One slight “mistake” and you, the cyclist, could be dead.

    We teach “cycle proficiency” in schools. In 2013 Transport for London paid for over 40,000 children and adults to receive level 1 and 2 Bikeability, its modern equivalent. But all the training in the world won’t prepare adults or children for the violently aggressive drivers and crap conditions they will meet on our roads.

    I don’t buy that cyclists make “mistakes”, it is the atrocious road conditions, crap law enforcement, crap vehicle design and Britain’s poor drivers that are the mistake. The superhighways seem to be a poorly-designed sop that slow cyclists down, hem them in and then spit them out again at every dangerous junction.

    Luckily for my incident, a kind cyclist behind me caught the incident on his headcam and I have reported it to the police as dangerous driving. Yes folks I am not holding my breath either.

    But police action against bad drivers should be as frequent as speed camera penalties, because every one of us experiences scary driver behaviour many times in our cycling week.

    • Vincent 01/06/2015 at 11:42 am #

      Spoquey > I don’t buy that cyclists make “mistakes”, it is the atrocious road conditions, crap law enforcement, crap vehicle design and Britain’s poor drivers that are the mistake. The superhighways seem to be a poorly-designed sop that slow cyclists down, hem them in and then spit them out again at every dangerous junction.


      It takes serious and long-term political will to turn car-centric infrastructures into bicycle-friendly infrastructures.

      The positive thing is that GB hit peak oil around 1998, so it’s becoming more and more dependent on foreign oil, both physically and financially. This can only force politicians to reduce the use of motorized transport and encourage other forms of transport, including the bicycle.

      “How the Dutch got their cycle paths”

    • Chris 08/06/2015 at 9:41 am #

      Why, though, should it be an either/or approach?

      For all that there are dangerous muppets on the road driving stupidly, this doesn’t change the fact that the overwhelming majority of cyclists killed on London’s roads are killed by trucks turning left at junctions.

      You can talk all you like about preventative measures that could be imposed on trucks to avoid this happening, but this doesn’t change the fact that no truck can kill a cyclist by turning left at a junction if there isn’t a cyclist to their left in the first place!

      Yes, there might be space up the left. No, the truck might not be indicating to turn left. Yes, there might be a cycle lane there suggesting to me that I can go up the left, but I would rather take a couple of minutes longer and reach my destination alive than enforce my rights and end up dead.

      By all means, implement other safety measures and encourage the police to actually get off their complacent backsides and prosecute dangerous drivers, but what is so wrong with the notion of running a brutal campaign to tell cyclists not to be so bloody stupid as to ride up the left of a truck at a junction??? If that is perceived as victim bashing, then so be it. If bashing a victim prevents a dozen more becoming victims, I think it’s a price worth paying.

  12. jackflap 01/06/2015 at 2:27 pm #

    Separate traffic lights (along with more segregated infrastructure) for cyclists would also make a huge difference.

  13. Andy Ball 02/06/2015 at 8:59 am #

    I see people chancing things all the time, too keen to get to the front of a junction or roundabout, without thinking about it. For instance, if there is a narrow road ahead with a traffic light and a queue of 6-10 vehicles waiting (including a lorry), just wait. You’ll probably still get through the green light when it comes around.

    There’s probably a law of averages with this, but how often do you see Jimmy Jumper go through copious red lights whilst you wait patiently behind only to see them later? My commute involves 20 red lights and I still am always only a few minutes either way, no matter how lucky I get with the lights.

    So…be patient, alert and confident.

  14. Fiona 05/06/2015 at 4:45 pm #

    I’m hoping I’ll be cycling in a city really soon where the right to cycle doesn’t feel like a battle to be fought for and those doing so feel a lot safer and we never read about any more horrific and unnecessary deaths. My heart goes out to the family and friends of this latest victim.

    In the meantime, regardless of the cause of any of the recent incidents, I think we need to make ourselves less vulnerable when cycling. As approached some traffic lights this morning where the road was even narrower due to road work barriers, cyclists were swarming around the front of a lorry at the front of the traffic queue. I waited behind and the person in the left cab gave me a thumbs up from the window twice for doing so. I can’t be an easy job driving an HGV when bicycles are congregating around your vehicle and you can’t even see most of them.

  15. Chris 05/06/2015 at 4:52 pm #

    Every time there is a death like this, people start talking about the blind spots on lorries, whether they should have more or fewer fender bars (or whatever they’re called) on the side of them, why we haven’t removed railings on corners and almost everything except for the fact that no cyclist has ever been killed by a truck turning left if they weren’t on the left side of a truck turning left in the first place!

    My commute runs up CS7. I’ll frequently stop behind large vehicles (more usually buses than trucks) in the left hand lane of the junction at Newington Butts and have other cyclists hassle me to keep going!

    I’d certainly be in favour of fitting new trucks with blind spot cameras to overcome the laws of physics with regards to mirror placement (ie, the size of mirrors required to fully overcome all blind spots would be so large that they’d create a completely new set of blind spots!), and they’d represent a tiny fraction of the cost of a new truck, but surely it would help to have a bit of a shock campaign about the dangers of being up the left of a truck in the first place?

    The best safety measures in the world are not putting yourself in a situation where you need safety measures in the first place, so shouldn’t we prioritise time and money towards educating people to stay away from the left of trucks before we start trying to find new ways to minimise the risk to them when they do put themselves there?

    • Andy Ball 08/06/2015 at 10:48 am #

      I completely agree with your sentiment. I’ve never driven in London myself but friends that have hired vans have said it’s really difficult when cyclists swarm around the vehicle making it really risky to turn left and change lanes confidently. There should be a greater emphasis on ‘trucks turning left’ maybe a televised campaign would do it.

      Given the fact that most of these deaths involve trucks at junctions, would it be fair to say that if cyclists didn’t put themselves in dangerous positions there would be less deaths? That’s nothing to do with infrastructure but having a greater respect for the road you are on and the other types of vehicles on it.

    • bob 19/06/2015 at 2:09 pm #

      Hi Chris, I agree that cyclists who ride up the inside of HGVs, buses, etc are putting themselves at serious risk. However you’re emphasising a point which is only half the case. Many times the vehicle is overtaking the cyclist and then turns into their path.

      There are a lot of good points being made with regards to trying to eliminate blind spots on vehicles either by mirrors or sensors, and educating cyclists, and infrastructure.
      Unfortunately the current situation with rubbish bike lanes, driver arrogance/inconsideration/impatience, cyclist arrogance/inconsideration/impatience, blind spots, etc., will only mean more cyclist deaths on the road until many steps are taken.

      Personally I believe a proper infrastructure of bike lanes completely separate from other road users is required, but setting that up in London would be difficult.

      Until something changes we can only try to cycle safely and in a considerate fashion for other road users, and hope other road users do likewise.

      • Chris 19/06/2015 at 2:30 pm #

        I couldn’t agree more. I’m not suggesting that we should ignore everything except rider education about going up the left of a truck, just that when people immediately jump down the route of “we have to change the truck, the road, the traffic lights etc”, they’re doing a major disservice to cyclists who could’ve been saved by not going up the left.

        As for the separated infrastructure, as you say, it could be an obvious solution, but there are a few problems…

        1. As you say, where would you put it in London?

        2. Even if you find room for it, you’ve still got to recognise that it will have to cross other routes. On the first 7.5 miles of my commute home (from Waterloo, down CS7 to Colliers Wood), there are 70 sets of traffic lights! That’s a huge amount of other infrastructure to be interfacing with. In the second half of my ride (again, 7.5 miles), there are just 11 sets.

        3. There’s finding room for a segregated lane, and then there’s finding room for a segregated lane which is big enough to accommodate the traffic that wants to use it. From Clapham inwards, there are already parts of CS7 where you frequently get 3, 4 or even 5 cyclists riding side by side, each overtaking those inside them. You can do that in a bus lane, but we’re not going to find space to effectively put another bus lane alongside the one that’s already there, so the result would be a much narrower segregated lane, and even more cyclists wanting to use it than currently do. We’d end up in a situation where the segregated infrastructure would become all but useless to anyone riding far enough to need to maintain a double digit mph average, thus forcing us back onto the road proper.

        If I was in charge of building a new city today, it would have full lane width cycle paths everywhere, and traffic signals prioritised for bike traffic. For London, however, I think we’ve got to make the most of what we have, whilst recognising that we’re not going to be able to rip a historic city of 8 million people apart in the process.

  16. Mike roberts 05/06/2015 at 8:18 pm #

    34 deaths of people who choose to cycle. What did they that was so wrong? They choose to cycle. Regardless of their sex, age , proficiency they are all victims of a transport system that does’nt work. And needs to be changed. So that people who choose to do the right thing – cycle! Are not killed! Yes I am saddened but I am also disgusted that our priorities are so murderously skewed.

    • Chris 08/06/2015 at 10:48 am #

      What most of them did that was so wrong (from a practical viewpoint, not a moral one) was to cycle up the left hand side of a truck which was waiting to turn left!

      In thousands of miles of commuting into London on a bike, I’ve never felt remotely threatened by a truck turning left. Why? Because I’ve never gone up the left of a truck at a junction!

      Ask yourself what is really more important…

      1. Keeping people alive, even if it means waiting behind trucks at traffic lights.

      2. Enforcing heaven only knows what measures and regulations to push the right of cyclists to go up the left of trucks at traffic lights, hoping that none of them get killed as a result?

      • sowerbob 11/07/2015 at 12:18 pm #

        Take your point but I have had two massive scares

        1 on primary on inside lane going through Holborn, HGV in middle lane goes to turn left, had positioned himself there I guess because of the tight turn. I was hidden from view by a bus until the last moment. It was a real shock to both of us. Both stopped and just looked at each other. A cheery acknowledgement by both of the near miss but I had to stop for over 10 mins to get over the shock.

        2 sitting on the left in long queue of bikes for lights in a cycle lane and HGV pulls alongside indicating left. He now has 15+ cyclists in blinds spot and some, me included in the arc his trailer would catch. I and 3 others scampered for the pavement as the light changed.

        Have cycled round London for 25 years and these incidents happening within weeks showed me how vulnerable I am. When you look at the cycling deaths they are not the RLJ brigade, they are typically boring commuters like me. Look at the ages and the occupations. That is what tells me something is seriously wrong with cycling provision in London

  17. Spoquey 17/06/2015 at 8:58 pm #

    Well as I mentioned earlier, i didn’t go up the inside left of a HGV, the van overtook and turned sharp left on me. And anyway, why are we cyclists taking responsibility for a huge design failure where a van driver can’t see around him (or her)?

    Let’s not all get goody-goody about what we never do and what we do do. All of us can be and have been taken by surprise by the crap vehicle drivers in this country, crap cyclists who undertake or swerve into you, etc. In all my previous incident with vehicles, I have been rammed from behind or from the left on roundabouts and driven into by people coming out of a side turning.

  18. Nobody 01/09/2015 at 5:30 pm #

    I ride and have ridden a bicycle in London on a number of occasions.

    I have an idea about how to deal with these horrible lorries when riding a bicycle. It’s a bit radical, I admit, but hear me out.

    When one of these lorries come clambering down the street, the best thing to do is to hang back from them. You see, doing that puts you at substantially lower risk of harm. And, whether turning left, right or simply going straight, look out for one of those lorries and take the proper evasive action.

    In a word, take some responsibility. (Gulp!)

    I know that these are all radical ideas, but basic physics and weight ratios do take priority over a sense of self-entitlement or moral superiority.

    Here’s a few other ideas: Wear a helmet, keep to the left, obey the rules of the road, accept the fact that other vehicles use the road and don’t deliberately provoke motorists.

    I do feel very sorry for those who have lost their lives on bicycles, but following a few basic rules and showing some basic respect for others on the road will go a long way in preventing further accidents.

  19. Hgv driving cyclist 22/12/2015 at 3:20 pm #

    I drive a 60 foot long hgv around London every week and also cycle regularly. A day in a hgv in london ls very stressfull as you spend the whole time trying “not” to kill people. There are really bad drivers and there are really bad cyclists but the scariest of all are the cyclists who seem to have no idea that they are taking risks and the pig headed ones who would rather die than use some common sense. There is a lot of talk about blind spots on hgv’s but the current mirrors are actually very good. The problem which no one seems to understand and possibly would reduce accidents if people realised is that when you are manouvreing a 60 foot long vehicle around a tight corner you can only look at one of your 6 mirrors at any time, plus you have to look where you are going. In the time it takes to look from from one mirror to another you may have travelled 3 or 4 metres along the road. I cycle all the time and I can safely say that I never go anywhere near an hgv if I can avoid it. There are too many “know it all haters” on these forums and the main problem these days is that a lot of people are just plain selfish and too busy with their own important lives to care about anyone else. It would be great if someone could invent a device to be fitted to all vehicles including cycles which automatically turns off your ego before the vehicle or cycle can move.

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