London cyclists warned to STAY BACK behind dangerous lorries



A short, sharp message from Transport for London headlines their latest PR campaign warning about the danger of HGV lorries.

Thousands of handlebar leaflets are being put on bikes all over London and there will be posters re-enforcing the message.

The posters give a very quick warning to all cyclists. Beware of all lorries, staying behind is the safest option.

Being hit by a large lorry is thankfully rare but always serious and more likely to be fatal than any other crash. If there is a junction nearby, don't try to overtake as lorries turn quickly, cutting across your path.

TfL's website gives more safety tips:

Cycle sensibly and assertively to help yourself stay safe, especially at traffic lights and junctions.

  • Recognise that lorry drivers may not be able to see you
  • Never cycle up the left side of a lorry stopped at a junction 
  • Look out for lorries turning left from beside or behind you
  • Don't stop too close to the front of a stopped lorry and stay away from the lorry's front near side. If a lorry comes up behind you, move forward enough to ensure you are in the driver's field of vision 
  • Take up a visible position at lights or advanced stop lines: three metres out in front and not by the left kerb or very close to the lorry
  • Behind a lorry is often the safest place to be. When you need to overtake a large lorry, do so on the right-hand side, so that the driver can see you

TfL links to London Cycling Campaign's advice for staying out of the lorry risk zone.


They also link to our Safer Cycling Code and the See Me, Save Me campaign for reducing lorry danger.

Lorry drivers also targeted

Transport for London is keen to point out that it is also targeting lorry drivers.

There are press campaigns in the truckers' magazines, as well as a webpage for drivers.

They will be putting on information events at channel ports and lorry service areas, aimed at drivers heading for London.

About half the lorries on London's roads come from outside London, many of them from overseas.

TfL's FORS freight team are promoting training for drivers, getting them out on bikes to experience the risks cyclists face every day.

Men under 35 at risk

Extra effort is being put in to reach cyclists who feel overconfident, the 'assertive risk-takers' because these cyclists are more often victims than cautious new cyclists.

Most commonly they are men under 35, and TfL will be placing ads in magazines they read.


It is fine for TfL to educate cyclists about this but it is more important to educate their highway designers to 'design out' such conflicts at major junctions, as is the norm in Holland. There should be a cycle path to enable cyclists to safely overtake queueing traffic, and separate traffic light phases for (1) motor traffic turning left and (2) cycle and motor traffic going straight ahead. Cyclists should never be forced to come into conflict with motor traffic turning left.

Excellent, more tips on how to survive the warzone and further proof that the focus remains primarily on changing cylclist behaviour instead of ending the war.  What more could a cyclist possibly ask for?

Of course Transport for London must do more to improve our streets, especially major junctions where so many crashes take place.

But this campaign in itself isn't implying that safety messages for cyclists or improving driver behaviour are a substitute for proper infrastructure.

In the Netherlands, the two go hand in hand, with high-quality advice on road behaviour that reduces danger being taught from a very young age, and the best in cycling infrastructure. 

Until that happens here, we respect Transport for London's attempts to educate cyclists and lorry drivers because to do anything less would be irresponsible when 50% of cyclist fatalities involve lorries.

In European countries with far better cycling tracks than here there is still a problem with lorries and cyclists. Even though cyclists have a lower casualty rate overall the proportion of deaths involving large lorries is similar to the UK.   In Copenhagen they have marked some junctions with a graphic similar to our "risk zone" picture. In February there was outrage after a lorry killed a six year old who was cycling to school with his sister in Nakskov.

This content was deleted by charlie@lcc at 10:29pm 23 March 2012.

  • By Marko at 5:40pm 27 March 2012

This is something I've done for a long time... it really is common sense not to argue with half a dozen tons of steel.  I'm not for a moment qualifying "blindness" on the part of other road users but I never expect anyone to have seen me so I never take it for granted.  It never ceases to amaze me the risks some cyclists take on our roads, running red lights, skipping through people crossing on a zebra so for advertising like this isn't a surprise.  Make eye contact whenever possible with drivers, you'll be suprised at how much of a difference it makes.  Having been a motorcycle dispatch rider in the past with Mega-Cycles (swallowed up by West One about 20 years ago) we had about a 50/50 split with engine and pedal power in our cosy office in Mount Pleasant so I always took into account cycles on the road.  Until the ignorant other road users begin to treat cyclists as equals, it seems we're going to be bombarded by this sort of safety statement until we're blue in the face!!!  Keep your heads people, be safe and be seen ;) ps Go Dutch!!  You know it makes sense!!

Marko - yes - a little common sense goes a long way - no common sense could get you under the wheels of a lorry - we've all seen cyclists going up inside moving lorries - WHY ? They are HUGE lumps of metal - stay clear.

I reckon that, in London especially, a lot of cyclists have never learned to drive or taken cycle lessons and that is why they are so unaware of how "traffic" behaves.


  • By noutram at 5:00pm 17 June 2012

This content was deleted by noutram at 5:00pm 17 June 2012.

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team are promoting training for drivers, getting them out on bikes to experience the risks cyclists face every day.

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