New awareness campaign to cut 'death by lorry'

London council launches safety drive to halt deaths

A campaign warning cyclists not to undertake lorries has been launched in London.

Lambeth Council wants to raise awareness of the dangers posed to cyclists of undercutting lorries and heavy goods vehicles (HGVs). 

More and more people in Lambeth are taking up cycling and figures show that cycling is getting safer, with fewer people killed or injured than a decade ago, despite the increase in numbers.

However, more than half of all cycle deaths on London’s roads are caused by collisions with goods vehicles. Early figures show that nine out of the 16 cyclists killed in London last year died under the wheels of a lorry.

Cyclists are particularly in danger if they cycle on the inside of a lorry because of the poor visibility from the driver’s cab. The London Cycling Campaign has called for new EU rules to increase the number of mirrors for lorry drivers, but cyclists are being reminded they can protect themselves better by not putting themselves in the danger zone.

In December 2007 a cyclist was killed by a left turning lorry at the corner of Brixton Hill and

Christchurch Road
.

To highlight the risks posed to cyclists from HGVs, the council has organised two special Awareness Days.

Cyclists will be able to climb into the cab of lorry to see for themselves how a driver’s visibility is restricted, and how cyclists passing on the inside of a lorry can be ‘invisible’ to the driver.

Traffic police will be on hand to explain the dangers, and visitors will also be able to get a free health check for their bike, and get their brakes, tyres and gears checked by bike expert Dr Bike.

Norma Fender, Lambeth Council’s road safety manager, said: “Cycling in London is getting safer but half of all fatalities involve heavy goods vehicles.

 “Some cyclists don’t realise that they can be invisible to lorry drivers so the message we want to get across is that it is never safe to cycle on the inside of lorry or bus.

 “Cycling is a great way to keep fit and do you bit for the environment but it’s important that people cycle safely and in a way that is considerate to other road users, including pedestrians. That’s why we recommend people enrol on one of our specially subsidised cycle confidence training courses, so they can learn vital road skills to keep them safe.”

In 2006, nine of the 19 cyclists who died on London’s roads were involved in a collision with a goods vehicle. Provisional data from the Metropolitan Police Service for 2007 shows that nine out of the 16 cyclists who died on London’s roads last year were involved in a collision with a goods vehicle.

Last month Transport for London handed out 10,000 special stick-on mirrors, designed to help lorry drivers spot cyclists. 

The Fresnel mirrors, worth about £4 each, give an extra angle to a driver’s vision, reducing the number of blind spots. TfL is launching a TV ad highlighting the dangers that trucks pose to cyclists. It is also handing bicycle riders windup bicycle lights to make them more visible, while promoting free or subsidised adult cycle training. 

The Lambeth awareness days will be taking place on April 22 in BrockwellPark (close to

Norwood Road
/
Rosendale Road
entrance) and April 23 in Clapham Common (opposite
Cedars Road
) both from .

Anyone who lives, works or studies in Lambeth is eligible to enroll on a subsidised cycle confidence training course. To book a one to one lesson telephone 0207 231 6005 or visit www.cycletraining.co.uk.

A programme about the dangers posed to cyclists by lorries was shown on ITV1 regional TV show The London Programme last month.

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