Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Dangers of Lorries

Travelling along the Mile End Road the other day, I remembered a cement mixer turning left, but didn't really take much notice, apart from keeping away from it.

Looking at the video recorded, I realised how easy it is for a cyclist to travel up the inside of these lorries and how easy it is to get into real trouble very quickly.

The lorry driver did everything right, and was - as can be seen in the video - very diligent indeed. He stopped and moved slowly past the school children, he was indicting way in advance of him turning, and he turned slowly and carefully into the side road. I don't think you can ask for more from the driver.

But it is sobering watching when you see how far out the lorry has to be to start the turn, the huge space to the left of the vehicle and the very quick turning circle that it has - even at this walking pace.

In my younger days I may have gone up the inside whilst the lights were at red. These days I try to keep as much distance from lorries as possible - even overtaking stationary ones is something I do with huge care.

In my experience lorry - and bus - drivers tend to be the most professional and courteous of all road users, especially towards cyclists. But there are careless lorry drivers out there, and one wonders what I may have done if the lorry driver hadn't bothered signally left so early - would I have been tempted to undertake to get to the front? Maybe.

I have a lot of respect for lorry drivers, such as the one in the video, who negotiate London's roads with these types of vehicles, and do so diligently and carefully. Takes skill and patience. I also know that cyclists can be difficult to spot and we can put ourselves in difficult situations. In an ideal world, I would think that all big lorries in London should have pedestrian / cyclist sensors and camera to aid the driver in these busy roads. But until that day comes, this video has made me realise how easy it is for us cyclists to become very badly compromised with large vehicles.

1 comment:

  1. Excellent point about how lorries get around narrow corners. All cyclists need to be aware that passing up the left side of a lorry where there is a 2-3 metre gap is more risky than squeezing up a 50cm gap.
    We also need to be aware that using an indicator is not compulsory, there is no law about turning left without signalling