City demo allows cyclists to see the road through a lorry driver's eyes

Cyclists get the chance to see the road from the cab of a lorry
The view from one the downward-facing mirrors fitted to all new HGVs, but still absent from thousands of older vehicles

'Lorries aren't designed for city streets' is the impression LCC got when we were given the chance to sit inside one.

The high position of a lorry cab isolates the driver sufficiently from what's happening immediately around him to make HGVs a grave danger to vulnerable road users.

The Metropolitan Police is organising events in London, giving cyclists and other road users the chance to see the road (or at least some of it) from the confines of a lorry cab.

Two lorries supplied by local haulage companies were parked in Shoreditch Square during morning rush hour, giving passing road users the opportunity to sit in the cab and talk to road safety experts from the Met.

Cyclists get the chance to see the road from the cab of a lorry
The downward-facing mirrors have been circled on this photo of an articulated lorry

Worryingly, the Met's advisers on the day were warning cyclists to never pass moving lorries on the inside, nor to attempt to gain access to a bicycle advance stop box if there's a lorry at the front of the queue of motor vehicles.

This is because an unladen HGV can accelerate as quickly as a family hatchback, and the driver's view of what's directly in front of his lorry is poor, even when the latest downward-facing mirrors or the cheaper Fresnel lenses are fitted.

Therefore, there's a real danger a pedestrian or cyclist positioned directly in front of the cab, as they would be at an advance stop box, won't be seen by the driver.

Downward-facing and rear-view mirrors on the sides of the vehicle are also no guarantee that a cyclist or motorcyclist will be seen if they ride at the side of a lorry.

There were no lorries at the demo without the front and side-mounted downward-facing mirrors, which are not currently a legal requirement, but plenty could be seen driving down Bishopsgate in view of the demo.

The view from lorries that only have rear-view mirrors is significantly worse, making them an even greater danger.

New regulations, which come into effect 31 March 2009, demand that lorries registered after 2000 have close-proximity and wide-angle mirrors. The regulations won't apply to the thousands of lorries registered before 2000.

For more information on LCC's campaign to make lorries in London safer, visit our campaigns page via the link on the right.