HGV blindspots to be marked at junctions?

Cycling Infrastructure or “Hard Measures” as they are sometimes known litter London’s streets. Artifacts of myriad forgotten cycling policies are to be found here and there. Fragments of narrow lanes appear and vanish for no discernible reason. Some of it is still of  use. You can spot the good bits because there are riders on them.

Overall, cycling in London’s traffic is perfectly fine… mostly… once you get used to it. As things stand, it’s not going to be for everyone but training can help A LOT. A great number of people will just never be comfortable sharing with the autos. Their sense of the dangers of cycling might be exaggerated but that’s how they feel. Untill they have segregated lanes to ride on, they just aren’t interested.

For those who take the plunge, it is a revelation. They are soon zooming about and getting all the time, health, productivity, fun and financial benefits of riding a bike.

The various nature of London’s infrastructure throws up some issues though. For example:

If one were going to have a serious problem whilst out and about on a bike, it might involve a left turning lorry. HGV drivers are amongst the most skillful drivers on our roads and the very last thing they want to have happen is any sort of crash. The issue is that, visibility is limited and it is easy for a cyclist to get into the “Blind Spot”.  In my view this is due either to the cyclist undertaking or bad overtaking by the HGV.

The importance of dealing with this issue is well recognised by the various authorities involved.

During training, I always go over the location of HGV blind spots including the instruction NEVER to undertake a lorry or bus. As the driver of a HGV is high up they can not see you if you stop right in front of them either.

blindspot trainingTFL funds HGV awareness training for cyclists. The chance to sit in the cab of a HGV really drives the point home. If that isn’t enough, the blind spot is marked on the floor (in yellow here) so the cyclist can see where NOT to go.  Knowing where the risks are makes them easy to avoid and a trained rider will never let themselves get into this situation. As with all National Standard training, the goal is to minimise the incidence of any conflict.

What then, is the goal of the road markings in the following image?

HGV TrainingAre riders supposed to enter the box up that left side? To me, this says everything about the utter confusion that surrounds cycling provision in London. This is the area FOR cyclists? These boxes are the prefered solution for some traffic engineers.  There is a total failure of consistancy. What on earth is going on?

This mess comes about due to the historical  lack of any coherent cycling policy for London, going back for at least the last 30 years. We need leadership on policy if there is to be a real increase in riders beyond those who are up for sharing the road. There has to be some sort of a plan and someone prepared to make AND push through what will be some unpopular changes at the time. Someone prepared to think beyond the next election. But who can we look to provide such leadership?

Hear me Boris!

Are you for more cycling or against? You’re a rider! You know this is all wrong. If you really want to increase cycling you know what you need to do! You’ve read all the docs. Go on, you know in your heart it’s right. Give us some good cycle lanes. You know the ones… the type people will actually use. Big separate ones with priority. Put them on big arteries. Ones that go where we need to go. Stuff that will encourage non-cyclists to have a go.  Bite the bullet and start removing parking spaces…. Go on.

All those empty taxis circling around in the West End are just that…. EMPTY! There is plenty of room if you have the will. Go on… connect up the inner ends of the Superhighways with new segrageated lanes/streets. If you segregated the Superhighways, more people would use them. Reallocation of space is the way forward if you really want to grow cycling, as all your own studies indicate. Lets have some beautifully planted ped/cycle only streets as well, like they do in other cities and create a real, usefull network for London’s future. How else will you achieve your very laudable cycling targets?

If we are really 3%(or whatever) by mode  in London then can we have 3% of the money to spend on some good facilities? We should have more of the budget than our modal percentage. How about 5% of the road space? If you want to encourage a behavior then provision should lead demand. True?

What percentage of funds/space do taxis take with a 0.6% modal share? It’s all got a bit out of whack, I say.

Follow your heart. I am calling out to you from mine. Hear me Boris!

Let’s get together to hammer out the details over lunch at one of my favourite pie shops. My treat…

-L

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10 responses to “HGV blindspots to be marked at junctions?

  1. Are riders supposed to enter the box up that left side? To me, this says everything about the utter confusion that surrounds cycling provision in London. This is the area FOR cyclists? These boxes are the prefered solution for some traffic engineers. There is a total failure of consistancy.

    Indeed. The theory of ASL is sort of sound – once you’re in there the drivers can see you etc. It just utterly fails in practicality, how are you supposed to get there? What about people queueing up on the left going towards the ASL and you want to turn left? You have to learn to selectively ignore the hints from infrastructure. What could possibly go wrong?

    Personally when a car is going to take a left turn I’d much rather have it get on the cycle lane reasonably well beforehand than make left hook right in the junction as it seems to be intended at the moment. That would allow me to plan my ride in relative peace instead of having to stress about cars potentially jumping in my path. Crossing a car lane when turning in a junction is illegal I believe, for good reason, why is crossing a cycle lane as designed?

  2. Pingback: City cycling made easy.

  3. Brilliant post, agree with it.

    @Tommi : when I took my driving license many moons ago in Denmark. We were told when on driving on a road where you share the road with cyclist, where there are no cycle lane. To pull right up next to the kerb, to make sure that the cyclist couldn’t sneak up on your inside. Yes, you had to make sure it was clear to do so before you did. The idea with this is when you are stopped a the red light you are not “inviting” a cyclist to sneak up into your blind spot. Therefore you would not turn into the when you did your turn.

  4. There is a lot of confusion about drivers’ blindspots, some of it created deliberately to excuse careless driving.
    All of the area shown in the first picture is within the view of drivers of lorries less than 5 years old. Some lorries between 5 and 11 years old will not have a forward facing mirror showing all the area in front of the cab. The more responsible transport operators will have updated all their lorries to the new standards. The yellow lorry in the photo has no blindspots big enough to hide a cyclist – except immediately behind it. The bigger lorry has a significant blind spot to the left of the cab starting about 1.5 metres from the side and extending out to about 7 metres, depending on the height of the driver, and the cyclist.
    By far the biggest risk comes from the very large lorry turning left, it moves several metres to the right, creating a huge space, before turning left. Cyclists are lured into continuing on into that space, especially as the lorry won’t start to turn until it is more than half way through the junction. When the lorry turns it is like having a 30 ton door slammed in your face. Cycle trainers should think more about the dynamics of the turn, as well as warning of the (lesser) danger of squeezing up the inside.
    Denmark is delightful, the drivers just stop before turning allowing all the cyclists to undertake and get out of the way. We, London Cycling Campaign, have a petition to get effective training for lorry drivers so they can be better at avoiding cyclists. No More Lethal Lorries

  5. I have a nice photo of a lorry, in a position similar to the DHL on in your post, only further forward, so that it is across the ASL.

  6. BarclaysBoris

    Boris is too busy asking Barclays if it wants to plaster London with hundreds of adverts every few hundred metres.

    Absolutely disgusting scheme in a city and a country that has a very mixed up, unintelligent approach to cycling.

  7. Pingback: Cyclist fatalities due to left-turning lorries | As Easy As Riding A Bike

  8. Pingback: The road to Hell is paved with ASLs | The Alternative Department for Transport

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