We've written about lorries and the inherent threat they pose to more vulnerable road users too many times here at ibikelondon.  Studies show that despite making up just 4% of London's traffic, Heavy Goods Vehicles are involved in 43% of London cyclist deaths.

There is much that can be done to improve this shocking status quo; we recently discussed how existing lorry control legislation could be amended very simply to save lives.  The freight industry is responding too, by trialling safety technology and lower cabs with improved visability, as seen recently at City Hall. 


Until the situation on the roads changes for the better - and change it must - it is vital that we all know of the inherent dangers that large vehicles with limited visibility pose to cyclists.  For many years here at ibikelondon our advice has been "stay behind, or get ahead" when it comes to interacting with larger vehicles.  

You don't have to scratch the surface of the hauleage industry too deeply to find terrifyingly lawless operations; since its inception in September 2013 Transport for London's industrial HGV Task Force has stopped and checked more than 800 lorries, with less than a quarter being satisfactory.  Some 14 vehicles have been seized and taken off the road alltogether because of the immediate threat to safety that they pose.  Between 2005 and 2009, some 70% of all ALL the lorries inspected by the Met Police Commercial Vehicles Inspection Unit were found to have some form of illegal defect; overloading, underinflated tyres, faulty tachographs, drivers exceeding their legal hour limit, drivers being illegal workers or unlicensed, doors held together with wire coat hangers as they speed down narrow residential streets; that sort of thing.

There MUST be very strong pressure on the haulage industry to tidy up their field, most especially rogue operators within the construction industry.  
However, cyclists must also look to themselves to consider what they can do to keep themselves safe.

This is not to suggest that any of the recent deaths and serious injuries in London were the blame of the cyclists involved.  However you don't have to stand for long at a junction in central London to see that there is a need for more people to understand about the dangers posed by lorries, and why it is a bad idea to cycle down the side of them; even if the bicycle lane and Advanced Stop Line invites you to do so.

To this end, I encourage anyone who cycles in London to watch the above video produced by the Metropolitan Police which not only shows you the point of view of cyclists but also that of a lorry driver, and what operating one of these machines can be like.  With a little awareness raising, perhaps we can help to limit London's cyclists exposure to danger, whilst we wait for our politicians and leaders to limit the source of it.