The risk to cyclists of ‘death by lorry’ will be in the spotlight again this week.
UK journalist Andrew Gilligan will be presenting a special edition of ITV1 show The London Programme, examining the danger posed by HGVs to cyclists in the capital.
Half of all serious and fatal accidents involving London cyclists are caused by lorries pulling away from traffic lights – and turning left into a cyclist as they’ve failed to see.
Mr Gilligan, who shot to notoriety over the Iraq war dodgy dossier affair, now works for London’s main paper, the Evening Standard, which launched a Safer Cycling Campaign last year.
It sets out a manifesto for improving cycling in the capital – including better mirrors for lorries and cycling training awareness for bus and HGV drivers.
The ITV publicity material for The London Programme Death by Lorry edition, states: “One cyclist is killed or seriously injured every day in the capital.
“Andrew Gilligan investigates whether cycling is now too dangerous to contemplate and what can be done to safeguard people taking the healthy, eco-friendly transport option.”
However, London Cycling Campaign, which has long campaigned for better mirrors on lorries, warned the programme could be sensationalising the issue.
Cycling development officer Charlie Lloyd told BikeRadar.com: “I’d seriously dispute presenting the [figures] in that way.
“Ten people are seriously injured or killed every day in London – including pedestrians, car drivers, and by buses. Fewer than one of them are cyclists and others – pedestrians or car owners and other motorists, are in more danger.
“One [cyclist] every three weeks is actually killed. The programme makes it sound much worse than that.”
Last week 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.
Mr Lloyd said: “We have definitely got a positive reaction from TfL’s freight people.
“We’re pleased that they are taking it’s seriously. It’s something that will make a difference.”
He said one of the most important moves would be to get older lorries retrofitted with better mirrors designed to eliminate blindspots.
New EU laws mean this will be compulsory on older vehicles in a year’s time.
The LCC has accused the Government of dragging its heels on implementing the improved mirrors – an accusation ministers have dismissed.
BikeRadar.com has attempted to talk to the producers of The London Programme but got no response last night.
The London Programme, Death by Lorry, is on ITV London on Friday, March 21 at 8pm.