Vision Techniques

Layout of London’s Roads Criticised After Cyclist Fatalities

A spokesman for the Metropolitan Police’s traffic management unit has voiced concerns about the safety of dedicated cycling routes in the capital – and the fact that drivers of goods vehicles may sometimes be left with only a tiny amount of time in which to spot cyclists as a result.

Are Goods Vehicles really the problem?

During the inquests into the deaths of two cyclists who were both killed in incidents involving HGVs on London’s Cycle Superhighway 2 (CS2) last year, PC Simon Wickenden revealed that concerns about the layout of CS2 have been communicated to Transport for London (TfL) as far back as 2008.

At the inquest into the death of experienced cyclist and motorcyclist Brian Dorling, PC Wickenden said that he felt it would have been safer not to have the blue-painted cycle lanes on the roundabout where Mr Dorling was killed:

“It’s an accident waiting to happen if cyclists are guided into…the very place where the lorry is going to hit them.”

Narrow roads and limited visibility

The inquest into the death of 20-year-old Philippine De Gerin-Ricard revealed similarly worrying information. A TfL alteration to the road had resulted in an inner lane of just three metres wide. This lane included the blue-painted cycleway where Ms Gerin-Ricard was killed.

Investigations revealed that the cycle she was riding measured 67cm across, while the truck with which she collided was 2.4m wide. Put simply, there wasn’t enough space for both the HGV driver and Ms Gerin-Ricard on that stretch of road, despite the cycle lane being clearly marked out.

Experts at the inquest calculated that, as Ms Gerin-Ricard returned to the cycle-lane from the pavement, where she had been cycling to avoid traffic, the truck driver would have had less than four seconds in which to spot Ms Gerin-Ricard in his mirror – despite the fact that he was travelling at under 20mph.

Action needed to protect cyclists – and truck drivers

Summing up after the inquest, Coroner Mary Hassell made reference to the road layout, commenting:

“In terms of the road layout, this was very difficult. These were narrow lanes. I don’t think there is an easy answer to that. What we would like, of course, is to have cyclists in a separate cycle lane. It would be safer for cyclists, and motorists wouldn’t have the potential in the same way for this appalling experience of perhaps colliding with a cyclist.

“But we are in a city with too many people, too many vehicles, too little space. I’m going to write to TfL to encourage an innovative response to the problems of this junction. When I say innovative, I mean: ‘Try to think of something that hasn’t been thought before.’ This isn’t a situation where I can see an easy answer.”

Give yourself valuable extra time – and vision

At Vision Techniques, we know that most HGV drivers and fleet owners take cyclist safety extremely seriously. Unfortunately, in cases like these, it seems like careful driving isn’t always enough, which is where our innovative vehicle CCTV systems can help.

Our vehicle CCTV products, such as VT Overview™ and VT Side Alert™ give drivers advanced warnings of cyclists and other hazards in their blind spots – the spaces down the side of the vehicle and behind it where drivers simply cannot see.

With cyclists being forced to consider unsafe manoeuvres due to poor road layout, our lorry reversing cameras and our 360° vehicle CCTV systems, like the VT Overview™, provide an extra level of safety.

Using four cameras, VT Overview™ allows drivers to see exactly what’s going on next to them, helping to prevent accidents like these from occurring.

While lorry reversing cameras and vehicle CCTV systems can’t prevent all accidents, they can give you the best chance of staying safe on the roads.

For more information on our innovative range of vehicle safety products, why not browse our website or contact a member of our team who can talk to you about your individual needs?

Do you agree with the concerns expressed over London’s roads? Let us know in the comments, and tell us what you’re doing to protect your commercial fleet. Alternatively, tweet us your thoughts at @VisionTechnique