Dave McCraw isn't happy about cyclists losing their lives in incidents involving trucks and 'blind spots'
Here he explains why.
* * *
You may be familiar with the statistic that HGVs make up just 4% of London’s traffic but are implicated in as many as two-thirds of cyclists’ deaths; hopefully you find that as shocking as I do.
While statistics for other cities are less easily available, of the five relatively recent deaths in Edinburgh that come to mind, three involved the presence of a truck driver’s foot on an accelerator.
The efforts of organised cycling, industry and public bodies around what is objectively a public health crisis have been fairly pitiful. Fifty-two people died in the London tube bombings but twice that many London cyclists alone have been killed since 7/7/2005: compare the enormous counterterrorism budget and manpower effort with our woeful road safety initiatives!
It seems clear to me that the crux of the problem is the widespread perception that cyclists are the architects of their own downfall; but while it’s natural that hauliers, industry and public bodies seize on a handy cop out, even keen cyclists are regrettably prone to legitimising this puny excuse. In writing to the audience of .citycycling I’m trying to address this awkward aspect of the problem.
I readily acknowledge that an experienced and prudent cyclist enjoys considerably better odds than those faced by the general public. A hard-earned scepticism about the drivers of large vehicles stands one in good stead – constantly monitoring, balancing tiny clues in the road positions of moving and stationary vehicles for any hint of an unsignalled left turn, bitter experience keeping up one’s guard on those sections of road where a driver is most likely to half-overtake before swinging left regardless.
For the sake of the argument let’s consider what for want of a better term is the driver’s best-case scenario: sitting at the front of a queue with the left indicator on, the light changes, and next thing you know, a human life has been extinguished under grinding wheels or hopelessly crushed against a pavement barrier.
The deceased “came out of nowhere”. They had “no chance” to avoid them.
“They were in my blind spot”.