July 19, 2013
It seems like a weekly occurrence that we hear news of a fatal accident involving a motor vehicle and a London cyclist. While driver error can be to blame for a large proportion of these accidents, are there other factors worth considering that may improve cycle safety on our capital’s roads?
'Boris Bike' is the popular term for the London cycle hire scheme where anyone can rent a bicycle from over 500 hire stations dotted around the city. On the whole the eco-friendly scheme appears to have been a big success with 49% of cycle hire members saying that the scheme has prompted them to start cycling
. So while serious accidents can still occur, the positive uptake and significant infrastructure investment seems to be encouraging more and more cyclists onto London's streets.
Then on Monday reports of another terrible accident started to emerge where a cyclist in Holborn was fatally injured
during morning rush hour. On this occasion it appears the cyclist wasn't on a Boris Bike, but the incident did again involve a heavy goods vehicle (HGV).
Restrict HVGs during rush hour?
HGVs and rush hour traffic are proving to be a deadly hazard to an ever growing community of cyclists and many groups want action to be taken reduce the dangers. Road.CC website reported in April that both British Cycling and the London Cycling Campaign are calling on a rethink of when lorries should be permitted on London roads
"London Cycling Campaign says that while lorries account for 5 per cent of London's traffic, they are involved in half of cyclist fatalities in the city, with construction vehicles presenting a particular hazard, being involved in a disproportionate number of incidents."
The further restricting of HGV traffic may be unpopular in the current economic climate; as the need for businesses to efficiently transport and deliver goods has never been greater. Likewise the significant expenditure needed to upgrade HGVs with safety features like 360 CCTV cameras or cyclist/pedestrian side guards may not be an attractive proposition to businesses feeling the credit crunch.
But tough economic times aside, it appears that either the frequency of HGVs or their safety features need urgent review if we're ever going to see a reduction in the number of cyclist being seriously injured and killed in the capital.