Unnecessary focus on HGVs

I am concerned that there is an unhealty focus on HGVs as being disproportionately dangerous to cyclists. The commonly quoted stat, "5% of traffic, 50% of fatalities" doesn't help. 

For a start, HGV drivers are generally very well trained drivers, and training is increasingly geared towards being aware of cyclists. Secondly, cyclists are getting more aware of HGVs and how to (or not to) share the road with them. 

The reason I am concerned is that this is diverting us away from the real problem on the roads which is aggressive driving by a small number of people who, while they may be perfectly normal, morph into psychopaths when you put them behind the wheel of a vehicle.

This is especially true for the drivers of large vehicles which can be driven on a normal license.

These are the kind of people who actually get more dangerous the longer they go between accidents as their driving standards deteriorate as their latent inner psychopathic tendencies go unchallenged. 



On your last point about deteriorating driving standards going unchallenged, I think that is an important issue. To give one example which I am sure has happened to most cyclists and one that I find particularly annoying is when you are cycling along a main road and you see a car on your left approach on a minor road and you look at the driver and you know that he can see you but instead of stopping at the stop line he just keeps rolling forward just as you try to get past! This can be bloody dangerous as your instinct is to swerve out of the way. I think this is a good example of what happens to many motorists, the first time they behave in this way and get away with it they then just continue in said fashion and the bad behaviour then becomes habitual because it goes unchallenged. I did jump off my bike to challenge a motorist who behaved like this in Kingsland Road only to find her partner leap out of the car ready to assault me, which added insult to what was very nearly injury! But this is exactly the type of behaviour that needs to be challenged somehow, any ideas how anyone?

Very good point, we need software that can analyse traffic camera video and detect bad drivers just from the way they mis-manoeuvre their vehicles. Even though the motor lobby would pressure Boris to turn it off, so we would need a way of applying even more pressure to keep it on. Any ideas?

Oh, Hope the trucker cycle training courses that got arranged rreeaall quick, after the media focused on hgv's, after they ran over a journalist, do good. Extend it to all commercial drivers, then all drivers, then all cyclists, in that order :-) Cheers truckies.

Remember half the total fatalities are pedestrians.

  • By phufbl at 12:02pm 2 January 2014

I disagree that the focus on HGVs is unhealthy. HGVs are involved in a disproportionate number of accidents and the improvements in standards of training and improved awareness of HGV danger amongst cyclists is largely driven by the focus on HGVs.

You are right that there are a large number of problems which could or should be addressed but I guess a strategic decision has been made to focus on one clearly defined problem at a time. It is possible that if LCC tried to campaign on many fronts all at once then their message would become confused. Perhaps it is more effective to be clear on one message at a time?

OK so what I'm saying is change the message.

The more important message is that drivers of all vehicles (including cyclists) should drive more safely and more considerately, and that unsafe and aggressive driving should be penalised, even if not resulting in an incident. 

  • By fernlyn at 2:45pm 3 January 2014

As an ex heavy vehicle diver ( I got a better job ) of many years’ experience  I think I can say with a bit authority that if you can’t drive safely don’t drive, which means if you are a HGV driver and you think you have a “blind spot” check it out before you move. The mirrors and stuff you can get these days should leave no excuses.The second and very important point is the astonishing impunity that vehicle drivers have when they kill cyclists... http://www.standard.co.uk/news/london/40-cyclists-killed-4-drivers-jailed-exclusive-investigation-reveals-only-one-in-10-drivers-are-jailed-after-being-involved-in-cyclist-death-9034187.html

As a (Belgian) foreigner often cycling in London, I wanted to make exactly the point made by tomolondon. In my experience, lorries are no specific threat to cyclists (and pedestrians!) at all: everyone is! Indeed, what strikes everytime I drive my bike on London streets and roads, is the aggressiveness of all types of road users: private cars, vans, lorries, mopeds, TfL buses, cabs... but also cyclists and pedestrians. I often wonder if I am in Naples or in a northern country. 

The wild, egocentric behaviour of a majority of road users is the problem in London, and I don't see how mr. Kahn's classification of lorries will change that.

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