This article in The Guardian is important because it underscores how a careful review of data can make profound changes in cycling safety. In London England over 50 per cent of all cycling mortalities and over 20 per cent of all pedestrian deaths result from trucks with poor sightlines/visibility from the truck cab.
“Road safety campaigners have long called for action against some types of heavy goods vehicles (HGVs), especially high-wheeled construction lorries, which have significant blindspots.”
The Mayor of London will be developing a “five star-based safety rating” for these trucks based upon the vision clearance the operator has from the truck cab. Those that have obstructed vision (mainly construction trucks ) will be banned, with trucks with a three star ranking or more allowed to drive within the city.
Here is the heart-breaking statistic from the Mayor of London’s office: in the last three years the 35,000 trucks operating with severely limited visibility from the cab were responsible for 70 per cent of the cyclist deaths. Similar to the pedestrian shaming campaigns that tell pedestrians to wear bright colours to avoid being crashed into, the advice for cyclists was to not cycle near the sides of trucks. But trucks often overtake cyclists, and then don’t have sight lines from the driver’s cab to see a cyclist when turning a corner.
The move was welcomed by the London Cycling Campaign. “Pedestrians, cyclists and drivers and operators of HGVs all stand to gain if modern designs with minimal blindspots become the norm for on-street use – no one wants fatalities and life-changing injuries to continue to happen,” said Tom Bogdanowicz, its senior policy manager.
There is of course pushback from the trucking association regarding the restricted use of trucks with limited visibility. In the Vision Zero world of road safety, the impact of restricting these vehicles from causing further mortalities is priceless. Lets hope other cycling cities follow London’s lead.