Vauxhall cyclist crash shows dangers of articulated lorries to vulnerable road users

Sadly, this week a cycle courier suffered what are believed to be serious leg injuries after being hit by an articulated lorry at Vauxhall Cross one-way system.

There are few details of how the Vauxhall crash happened, but the dangers of articulated and other large lorries are well known in Greater London, being involved in half cyclist fatalities despite making up only 5% of the traffic.

Yet the Government is planning to put longer, even more dangerous on London's streets.

We're urging cyclists to join thousands of others in writing to their MP to protest against these plans to put longer, articulated lorries on our streets.

Experts say 2m-longer HGVs will provide an immediate increase in danger to cyclists and walkers, as well as being detrimental to future city planning as streets are widened to accommodate the extra bulk.

Since we and other campaigning organisations asked our supporters to write to your MPs about longer lorries, it's estimated over 1000 people have responded.

Ministers have been criticised for bypassing the Parliamentary scrutiny process, so it's vital that your MP knows about the dangers of longer lorries.

If enough MPs complain about the lack of due process, then there's a real possibility ministers will have to think again.

Email your MP today

Please email your MP. We've written an example letter, and it takes a few seconds to contact your MP.

In recent years, through our No More Lethal Lorries campaign, LCC has been at the forefront of lobbying to make lorries safer, not more dangerous.

Replies

  • By SusieG at 7:37pm 23 September 2011

I think this report undermines your extremely valid & important campaign about articulated lorries, which I have actively supported.  However, the words "few details", "Vauxhall Cross" and "Cycle courier" could be a clue as to what happened - or not - we don't know!  We cannot assume the driver is at fault - he may be feeling terrible about something he couldn't avoid.  For those of us who have sat waiting at the lights at Vauxhall Cross, watching other cyclists,  who seem not to be able to spare a minute or 2 to survive, behaving as if the complex junction is a dodgems ride, it seems only a matter of time before one of them gets knocked off.  

I'd really like to see an equally weighty campaign, discouraging cyclists from jumping the lights, putting themselves in danger, and making many drivers treat all cyclists with disdain, assuming we are all equally law breaking and crazy!

How differently this blog would have read if the headline had been " Vauxhall crash shows danger of jumping the lights" - until we know what happened, we don't know which is the right headline.  Balance please.

Actually it doesn't at all: the cyclist was hit from behind by a rubbish truck, see:

http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/standard/article-23989013-cyclists-are-run-over-by-bus-and-lorry.do

"Police said a male cyclist was critical after being hit by a lorry in Vauxhall this morning. Witnesses told how his bicycle was dragged along the road by the HGV before the driver realised what had happened...

"The first accident happened at about 7.45am today outside Vauxhall Tube. It is believed the cyclist, thought to have been a courier, was hit from behind by the lorry. The bicycle was dragged along Vauxhall bridge before the driver realised.

Police said the cyclist was initially in a critical condition but had now been stabilised.

Sean Skinner tweeted: '"Looks like cyclist hit from behind by large refuse lorry at lights and bike dragged underneath for over 200m.'"

No doubt the driver will get off by claiming that the cyclist was in his 'blind spot'.

BTW I agree cyclists should not jump the lights. It is stupid, hasty, and means we cyclists all get tarred with the same reckless brush. That said, I think for good reasons of safety, LCC should campaign to allow cyclists to cross junctions at walking pace during the pedestrian cycle. That would really help avoid accidents at junctions.

  • By peter39 at 9:15pm 24 September 2011
Whatever the exact details of this accident, every time I read of another cycle vs. lorry incident I am reminded of one simple piece of advice most cyclists and LCC seem to ignore. Don't cycle up the left hand side of lorries, trucks, vans, taxis etc., particularly when they are stationary at junctions. Given the strength of the LCC campaign it seems to me every cyclist that does so is taking their own risk.

This post was edited by peter39 at 9:39pm 24 September 2011.

Apart from the issues of dangerous cycling practices discussed above, can I make a general complaint/plea about how horrible all aspects of vauxhall are for cyclists?the gyratory going north acrooss the bridge is awful: you either enter the full traffic streams or opt for the "cycle-friendly" underpass where you're forced onto pavements among pedestrians: crossing at vauxhall southbound is even worse. The cycle lane southbound on the bridge is so narrow and poorly marked it's usually driven into by all vehicles. It surprises me there are not more accidents there. vauxhall , despite being one of the busiest, is one of the worst crossings. Does anyone know of any campaign/lobby specifically to improve vauxhall? I use it daily and reckon, however careful, it's only A matter of time......
  • By gegi at 1:34pm 28 September 2011

The article does not put blame on either the cyclist or the driver. And LCC has succesfully campaigned for cycle training provision for decades. So I really don't understand why we always need to have that 'uh but what about the negligent cyclists' debate. Making assumptions based on the fact that the victim was a cycle courier is frankly a slap in his face he really doesn't need right now.

This is about longer lorries and the effect they may have on road safety not only directly but indirectly when junctions need to be re-designed to accommodate larger turning radii and hence higher turning speeds. Act now so junctions like Vauxhall Cross don't become the norm.

This content was deleted by London Cycling Campaign at 10:01am 11 July 2012.

I cycle between South Lambeth Road and the Albert Embankment regularly and find the speed of motor vehicles on the roads frightening and the laughable quality of the off-road cycle paths little better.

On the point about the blame for accidents, I pointed out as part of a recent blogpost that Transport for London research (based on figures from the far-from-cycle-friendly Metropolitan Police) appears to attribute blame for around three-quarters of motor vehicle-cyclist accidents on the motorist. The accounts appear to suggest the motor vehicle was responsible on this occasion too. I fully agree that cyclists, and all road users, should follow the rules as currently constituted. But we shouldn't forget which vehicles are causing the real danger.

As for the future of Vauxhall Cross, I sincerely hope they don't put onto the issue the same team that "improved" Brixton Town Centre by taking out the gyratory there. The change has actually made it far more dangerous to cycle south from Brixton Road towards Brixton Hill (because cars use the offside lane on Brixton Road and then veer into Tulse Hill across the path of cyclists going straight on). I've had to change all my cycle routes to avoid the area. I sincerely fear there will be a death there sooner or later.

I think there are real challenges at Vauxhall Cross. The existing off-road cycle lanes are very slow to use (because of the long waits at pedestrian crossings). They're also a textbook example of how off-road lanes don't entirely prevent accidents. It's very hard to check for cars turning into the sidestreets across the cycle paths and my wife witnessed a cyclist tossed into the air after confusion with a turning car over priority.

There must, I'm sure, be an answer to these problems. But it's certainly not easy.

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