After yet another tragic death in London, where my thoughts are with the family, it made me think, so sorry for my ramblings below.
I do not know the precise details of how this latest incident happened, but it was a “classic” HGV vs cyclist which resulted in the death of the cyclist. Who’s to blame, the cyclist or the lorry driver? Who did the right thing and who did the wrong thing, I do not know.
There are plenty of discussions on various cycle related forums about this and how to avoid it in the future.
I do believe that training and retraining more often for all would help, but it will not be the magic wand that would solve the problem.
[Quote from: Rich] The drivers CPC card takes in road safety, all drivers have to have done 35hrs worth of training every 5 years or else you are not allowed to drive.[/quote]
We need this for all, not just the HGV drivers, but for everyone who uses the roads. As it is a way to stop some stupidity on the road. It is wrong that we can get paperwork to allow us to drive at seventeen, and then not touch a vehicle until way into our 60′s before we are asked to re-test. But at any point we are legal to drive a motorised vehicle.
I just drove for the first time in 10 months last weekend. I was rusty, scared and saw a lot of numpty driving. However, I do think as an cycling instructor and a cyclist I have a little more awareness about me, since I’m used to being on the road, and the fact that if I get hit it will darn well hurt me.
Many times I have been on my bike and seen a cyclist doing dumb things. CyclingMikeys video of the fella going on the inside of the lorry at Vauxhall springs to mind – it’s pure horror and he still continues in his kamikaze approach even after a friendly warning. Like the lady I saw today, cycling down the main road, who pulled into the side road up onto the pavement and then did a sharp right turn out onto the main road again to cross at the pedestrian crossing, no looking or signalling. This all happened in a split second. It was lucky the Audi TT driver was fast-thinking or a few of us would have been calling for help.
And not to forget the SillyDrivers, either.
But then again, this seems to be human behaviour. You just need to look at the numpty behaviour of people simply walking around. I’m not sure that training will ever be the “cure”, but here’s hoping that it will help.
Years ago, in Denmark, there was a spell of females getting killed by lorries, while on bikes and in cars. A professor of something wrote an article in the newspaper. I can’t remember his name, or the newspaper, but it went along these lines:
He argued that the reason behind the trend was that girls didn’t play with match box cars as kids. And, therefore, didn’t learn at an early age that a large vehicle such as an articulated lorry needs much more space in order to turn. The container goes straight on for a bit more than the driver before it turns, and the lorry needs to swing to the right to do a left to bring it back around the corner.
What I think we need is more training and more often for all. It would also help to remove that “I have to be there before anyone else” urge, but I acknowledge that tackling this will not be simple. We’ve all seen the many cyclists and drivers alike who rush simply to get stuck in the queue at the red light. The futility of this doesn’t appear to register with them, and perhaps never will.
As a cycling instructor, I have trained more females to ride a bike in London than men. They tend to acknowledge their need for training before they jump on a bike, and are more cautious of cycling without having had training. These are the ones who pay attention, and are more aware after the session. Most of men I have trained come to me because someone else has pestered them to do it, be it their partner, parents or work. And, for the most part, these men are the ones who ride away from me as if they have already forgotten everything I taught them.
So why it is mostly females who get run over I do not know.
Yes, the road infrastructure also need to looked at. Any cyclist and even pedestrians will agree that they are playing second fiddle to the cars, lorries and buses. The size of the lorries also needs to be reduced in a city like London. But this is for another post…