Category Archives: HGVs

Action on “Cyclists stay back” stickers

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Following the initial concerns raised on our website before Xmas 2013, the Road Danger Reduction Forum has come together with other organisations to explain our concerns to, and ask for action from, Transport for London.  Along with the RDRF they are the London Cycling Campaign;  CTC: the national cycling charity; RoadPeace: the national charity for road crash victims; and TABS: the Association of Bikeability Schemes:

The organisations that have signed this document have agreed the following statements about stickers aimed at cyclists on the rear of commercial vehicles in London. Continue reading

Cyclists stay back

cycle sticker1

 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

What traffic policing COULD be like

My last post argues in favour of the potential benefits from traffic policing, but that – unlike the apparent bias underlying Operation Safeway – it needs to be done differently. The key point is to prioritise law and rule breaking done by those with greater potential to endanger other road users. Otherwise the bias, which is not so much against law breaking cyclists as in favour of law and rule breaking motorists, will continue. So here are some ideas: Continue reading

How pro-cycling is Labour?

MariaEagleDailyTelegraph

Maria Eagle (Photo: Daily Telegraph)

In the parliamentary debate on “Get Britain Cycling”   it wasn’t just the CTC who thought that the most impressive speech came from Labour’s frontbench spokesperson, Shadow Secretary of State Maria Eagle”.

We look at her contribution below, in the context of the evidence we have to assess what Labour is likely to actually do if it comes to power. For while Labour formally endorsed “Get Britain Cycling” at their annual conference , there are key areas where necessary commitment to achieve the aims of the report is apparently lacking. Continue reading

Victim Blaming News Bulletin 3rd October 2013

If you are reading this on www.rdrf.org.uk  or are an addressee, you shouldn’t need to know what is so vile and destructive about this.
But there are important explanations required.
We need to understand how self-blame can – albeit ultimately destructive – can give a false but seductive relief from the grief of losing a loved one.(Although, of course, it is also deeply offensive to so many of the loved ones of those who have also died in this way).
We also, yet again, have to state the “bleeding obvious” that wearing a cycle helmet does not stop a human body being crushed underneath a lorry.
But we need to go a lot, lot further.
We need to go further than showing that cyclists  “taking a test” isn’t the issue when reducing danger at source – for the safety of all road users – is.
We need to show how the pride and “owning the road” mentality of all too many drivers comes at least partly from their “driving test”. We need to reveal the absence of evidence on the positive effects of wearing bicycle crash helmets in general.
We need to reveal how these and other elements of this culture perceives “road safety”  are indeed, part of the problem of danger on the road.
And that a civilised approach to getting about has to tackle this ideology at root and branch,
Dr Robert Davis, Chair, Road Danger Reduction Forum

2013 – 20th year of the Road Danger Reduction Forum

Just how anti-cycling is this Government?

We have already given first impressions on the Government response to the “Get Britain Cycling” report .  After the dust has settled from the Parliamentary debate on the report, it’s time to take stock. The bitter truth is that there is a contradiction between Government pro-cycling rhetoric and what it is actually prepared to support, with fundamental ideological and institutional barriers in place to prevent genuine support for cycling. Continue reading

VICTIM BLAMING FROM THE ROAD HAULAGE ASSOCIATION

I nearly threw my lunch up in response to this gruesome bit of victim-blaming – so do prepare yourselves before viewing it. A natural reaction of any civilised person concerned with safety on the road would be outrage, and that’s entirely appropriate. I have to say that there is also plenty of justification for just expressing that outrage and refusing to go any further – many will feel that addressing elements of this message might dignify it as part of a responsible discourse on the subject.

Nevertheless, we will do so because, if nothing else, we can show how the ideology of traditional “road safety” allows those who endanger others to try and justify themselves. Critically analysing this garbage should help us in dealing with the problem of danger on the roads in general, and not just from the RHA.  So, have your sick-bags at the ready and here we go… Continue reading

“Get Britain Cycling”: Are cyclists set to win?

Today sees the launch of the Summary and Recommendations of the “Get Britain Cycling” report. Reporting on this on the front page of The Times we see “Cyclists are set to win revolution in road safety”. Is this so? Road Danger Reduction Forum President Lord Berkeley is one of the Panel members of The Get Britain Cycling Inquiry. I have a reputation for pessimism (or as I would say, healthy scepticism) and as RDRF Chair I give a detailed analysis of the Summary and Recommendations below.

Make no mistake, along with Mayor Johnson’s “Vision for Cycling”; the production of this report is a pivotal moment for the possibility of not just cycling, but sustainable transport as a whole in Britain. So: are cyclists – and all those of us interested in the development and implementation of sustainable transport policy indeed “set to win”? Continue reading

A couple of cases of “accidental death”

The use of the “accidental death” verdict has been campaigned on by our friends in RoadPeace . Let’s look at two recent cases:

A man who used to chauffeur the stars of Carry-On films around Pinewood Studios died after being involved in a head-on crash while driving on the wrong side of the road near Poitiers, France. Douglas Lewis, 75, and his wide Pamela, 77, of Slough, Berkshire, were returning from their Spanish villa when they crashed into an oncoming van at 50 mph last April. Mrs Lewis was killed instantly, while Mr Lewis died three months later from his injuries. The Windsor Coroner returned a verdict of accidental death”. (The Times, 2nd February , 2013) Continue reading

London's Cycle Safety Action Plan : A progress review

RDRF Chair Dr. Robert Davis has sat on the Transport for London convened Cycle Safety Working Group, charged with implementing the Mayor of London’s Cycle Safety Action Plan,  since it’s inception. Here is my report on my observations of its progress to the London Assembly hearing on Cycling and Cycling Safety Continue reading