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PUBLICATIONS, Structural and Cohesion Policies

Truckers on bicycles: To be seen or see for yourself!

© Formosan Serow Biking Club

Cyclists don’t always feel safe on the road. Especially when confronted with huge lorries and a fortori in urban zones. Ever tried crossing tramway rails? How do you as a cyclist stay safe when cycling near large vehicles? How do you stop lorry drivers running over cyclists?

Blind (spot of) point of view

Both beginning and experienced cyclists have been killed in collisions with lorries. This often happens when a lorry turns right/ left, or when cyclists stop too close to the front of a stopped lorry. The most common incident involving blind spots and lorries occur when the lorry turns right (or left in Cyprus, Ireland, Malta and the UK) without being able to see the cyclist sitting in an unsighted area to the side or just in front and to the side.

Currently there is EU legislation that requires the fitting and retrofitting of mirrors to lorries (see  directives 2003/97/EC and 2007/38/EC). But installing mirrors is not enough…

The other side of the picture

Urban drivers of heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) are all-too-often scolded by other road users. Cyclists complain that trucks (and cars in general) pass far too closely and are often heard to urge drivers to pay more attention to their mirrors, but such advice, from both sides of the divide, is not always heeded. Large vehicles have handling characteristics that are not always understood by other road users. And don’t forget: both have the right to be on the road. They only should try to be more aware of the other’s presence in traffic.

Initiatives

In Copenhagen, probably one of the most bike-friendly cities, LED-sensors were set up at several intersections with a high risk of right-turn accidents warning lorry drivers of approaching cyclists.

In an attempt to tackle the problem, the London city’s transport authority, Transport for London (TfL), is promoting a bicycle riding course for lorry drivers which fits in with the country’s new HGV driver training regime.
From 2014, British HGV drivers must have completed training modules on a range of topics amounting to 35 hours of training every five years in order to retain their certification to drive commercially.

More information:

Cycling near lorries and No more lethal lorries campaign (London)

The Highs and Lows of Cycle Safety Infographic

Graphic: London’s cycle accident black spots mapped

Lorry/ cyclists blind spot accidents: factsheet (European Cyclists’ Federation)

Excellent e-book “Cycling Street Smarts” (freely available on the internet), John S. Allen.

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