Cyclists: Do Yourselves a Favour Around Lorries
I get a bit peeved at the way some drivers treat cyclists on the roads. But of course, it’s not all one-sided. Occasionally cyclists do some pretty stoopid things, that put themselves in danger. And I do include myself in that, though very rarely.
According to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents , 2% of cycling accidents involved lorries (’heavy goods vehicles’ - HGVs), yet these accounted for 22% of deaths. 75% of accidents were at, or near a junction.
Most fatalities occur when the HGV is turning left, either with, or across the intended route of the cyclist.
This is why you should never undertake vehicles, and especially HGV’s. It’s also why you should pay particular attention at junctions, and ensure that you take the primary position on the road, so that vehicles can see you . . . and not forget you’re there. However, you should also be aware of the blind spot in front of most HGV cabs. Basically, because of the height and position of the driver, they can’t see the road ten to twenty feet in front of them:
Which is quite worrying when you’re stopped at a light, and a lorry pulls up behind you. This is one good reason why you shouldn’t cut through to the front of a stationary queue of traffic and put yourself ahead of the HGV at the front of the line.
It’s also a good reason why sometimes it’s the right thing to do to actually cross the stop line on red - providing that you’re not actually putting yourself in the line of crossing traffic. Put it this way, the painted bike boxes that you often find at traffic lights now are usually smaller than the HGV’s forward blind spot. So you might be in the right to stop in that green box, but if the driver can’t see you, it’s not going to do you much good.
If you’re waiting at the lights and a lorry pulls up behind you, make sure that the driver can clearly see you’re there. If they can’t, then you’ve got three choices:
1. You can pull ahead, probably crossing the stop line, and risking the wrath of the Daily Mirror .
2. You can get ready to pull away when the lights change like you’re at the start of a drag race.
3. You can just get off your bike, and step onto the pavement - sometimes discretion really is the better part of valour.
Of course, 1 & 2 can be used in combination