Researchers are calling for a ban on heavy goods vehicles in Britain’s cities after a study found that despite making only 4% of road trips they were involved in 43% of London’s cycling deaths (Guardian).
Researchers from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) analysed police road casualty data over a 15-year period from 1992 to 2006. During that period there were 242 deaths in London, an average of 16 a year. Heavy goods vehicles were involved in 103 of these incidents.
The research also found that 53% of cyclists killed by trucks were crushed by a truck turning left across them, illustrating the danger of cycling up the left-hand side of a heavy vehicle.
Andrei S Morgan, who carried out the research, claims banning trucks that weigh more than 3.5 tonnes from cities and building a network of distribution centres on the edge of towns, where goods can be decanted into smaller vehicles, would save lives. The practice is widespread in Germany.
He said: "Mirrors obviously improve your field of vision but they are not as good as seeing things directly as you need extra time to interpret exactly where the person in the mirror is.
“Also, if you’ve got a mirror in front of your window it’s going to be obscuring part of your view. Mirrors are often placed at the corners of vehicles so the mirrors themselves may be obscuring the cyclist. All in all, lower cabs with large windows are the solution in built-up areas."
Roger Geffen of CTC, the national cyclists’ organisation, said: "This research is absolutely correct. Although cycle use in London is up 117% in the past 10 years, and the total number of cycling fatalities has been going down, the number of cyclists killed by trucks has not."
A previous study in England, published in the British Medical Journal in 1994, looked at cycling fatalities between 1985 and 1992 and drew the same conclusions.
Click here to read the full Guardian report.