Category Archives: Conspicuity

Cyclists stay back

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 If you cycle in London, you’ve almost certainly seen these yellow stickers over the last few months. They’re on the back of most buses, many vans, and a few HGVs.

What can they mean?

Cyclists stay back – I get priority as I pay road tax / am bigger / faster / more important than you“?

or

Cyclists stay back – I can’t be bothered to check my mirrors before turning, stopping or pulling out, so if I run into you it’s your fault“?

Most people reading this will know that there’s a major safety issue for cyclists and pedestrians that HGV drivers can’t see all round their vehicles, and often drive into roadspace without knowing if anyone is already in it. As a result, around 50% of cyclist fatalities in London involve HGVs. (This is often referred to as the “blindspot” issue)

But what does that have to do with vans and buses? And how many of those seeing the sign on a van or bus make the connection? Continue reading

Is there a police blitz on unsafe driving in London?

Clare in the community: Phoney war

Harry Venning of the Guardian’s take on the “blitz” in “Clare in the Community”

After a spate of cyclist deaths in London, cyclist safety is on the national agenda. For some, getting cyclist safety in the public eye is inherently good – we’re not so sure. The key issue is, after all, to do the right things for the safety of cyclists. Last week we were told that there is a “new zero-tolerance approach”  with a “huge escalation” in policing involving “stopping lorries and cars and where there is unsafe driving they will be taken off the road.”

But is a blitz on unsafe driving – under what is called “Operation Safeway” in London – actually happening? We don’t think so. So what exactly is going on? Continue reading

Do bicycle lights make any difference to cyclist safety?

After a week where cyclist safety in London has hit the headlines, it might seem strange to look at this issue. I was pleased to represent the RDRF at the Bow roundabout protest organised by the London Cycling Campaign addressing issues about danger to cyclists and pedestrians there.

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Spot the RDRF Chair at Bow roundabout protest (Photo London Cycling Campaign)

But actually the comments by the Commissioner of Transport for London on this subject – bike lights, that is – tell us a lot about the way “road safety” is thought of. Here are his comments: Continue reading

Hi-viz for cyclists and pedestrians: the evidence and context

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UPDATE: 24/04/2014- the scan below should now be readable! Below I post a scan of Chapter 9 from “Death on the Streets: cars and the mythology of road safety“. Since the subject of cyclist and pedestrian conspicuity has raised such interest, I took another look at the evidence for conspicuity aids such as h-viz clothing, and the context in which the advocacy of such items occurs. In the twenty years since publication, I am not aware of any fresh evidence which contradicts the conclusions to this Chapter, or the Precaution  which I suggest is taken when considering advocacy of hi-viz. Continue reading