There have been two collisions involving cyclists and HGVs this week – one, at Tower Bridge on Tuesday, left the cyclist “serious but stable” while the other, in Dulwich on Wednesday morning, left a woman in her 30s dead. [Edit: actually, there were two collisions between cyclists and lorries on Tuesday. A man was trapped under a lorry for 30 minutes on Great Eastern Street.]
Also on Wednesday, the Mayor announced new action to make HGVs safer for cyclists. Many lorries are already fitted with safety features like sidebars and low skirts but construction HGVs are exempt from these laws. Alongside the Transport Minister, Boris Johnson wants to introduce a fine for commercial vehicles entering London that don’t meet safety standards. But don’t get too excited yet – this isn’t a done deal, all that’s actually been announced is a consultation starting early next year. They are not able, as the Mayor said on last night’s The Last Leg, to “insist” on it right now.
(Aside: on The Last Leg the Mayor also ‘did a Laura Trott‘ and angered cyclists by saying “sometimes cyclists are themselves guilty” in accidents; incredibly insensitive given that a family is mourning the loss of a loved one not 24 hours dead. And then Boris compounded his foot-in-mouth syndrome by saying that “not even Hitler used chemical weapons” before remembering, you know, Zyklon B and clarifying with “against Allied troops”, leaving incredulous host Adam Hills to remark “there is an argument to say that he did use chemicals at some point”.)
The City Hall press release on the HGV consultation notes that between 2008 and 2012, lorries were involved in 53% of cyclist deaths in London, despite making up only 4% of the traffic. Of the seven cyclists that have died on the roads this year, five were in incidents involving HGVs – a situation where no helmet will protect you. So when this consultation launches, make sure you make your voice heard.
Photo of Monday’s Space for Cycling ride by Zefrog from the Londonist Flickr pool