On Monday 22 June 2015, Ying Tao, a 26 year old female cyclist was killed in a collision with a tipper truck in Bank, Central London.
She was the eighth cyclist to die on London’s roads this year, with seven of those accidents involving heavy goods vehicles. This unfortunately seems to be a common occurrence with 13 cyclists dying in 2014 and 14 in 2013.
My current caseload includes several cyclists who have suffered serious and life-changing injuries as a result of accidents on London’s streets. The circumstances of the accidents differ but they all involve an act of carelessness on the part of a motorist. From opening a car door without looking first from pulling out of a junction without checking the way is clear, I have personally seen an increase in the frequency of serious cycle accidents.
The number of cyclists in London is increasing. It should be just a low cost and healthy way to commute to work but as we can see it is proving to be incredibly dangerous.
What are Transport for London and the Government doing about this problem?! Their major initiative is the Safe Lorry Scheme. Under the scheme, any vehicles weighing over 3.5 tonnes will be required to be fitted with:-
• Class V and Class VI mirrors giving the driver a better view of cyclists and pedestrians around their vehicles
• Side guards to protect cyclists from being dragged under the wheels in the event of a collision
We have already seen from the accidents this year that even with extra mirrors, large vehicles are failing to see cyclists with tragic results.
When David Cameron was questioned on the issue at Prime Minister’s Questions last week, he replied that a lot had been done to try and make cycling safer in London. He said that it was “depressing” that so many young lives were being “snuffed out” in this way. He made no promises to do more. A vague answer providing little assurance that the Government cares about this issue.
I believe more could be done and other European cities are leading the way. For example Paris has restrictions so that larger vehicles not able to drive within the city without special permission. Dublin has similar restrictions in place and as a result have seen amount of serious accidents reduce.
Unfortunately, I cannot see Transport for London adopting such an approach despite public pressure. I am not sure what it will take before London’s streets are made safe for cyclists.