As any keen user of a cycle in London will know not a week or two goes by without a newspaper headline involving a cycle death involving a lorry truck. On average about eight cyclists per year are killed by lorries in London, accounting for about half the cyclist deaths in the capital.
This statistic has been given further credence by new statistical analysis on cycling fatalities in London across a period of years (between 1992 and 2006), which found that nearly half of deaths involved freight vehicles.
Freight vehicles were involved in 103 of 242 (43%) of all incidents and the vehicle was making a left turn in over half of these (53%) in the reporting period.
The results from the study, Deaths of cyclists in London: trends from 1992 to 2006, form an academic paper by Andrei Morgan, Helen Dale, William Lee and Phil J Edwards which was published in the BMC Public Health Journal this week.
The study team based it analysis on police road casualties data from 1992 to 2006. It repeats a study published in 1994 that looked at cyclist deaths in London between 1985 and 1992. The earlier study found that freight vehicles are estimated to cause 30 times as many cyclists’ deaths as cars and five times as many as buses.
Among other results found in the analysis of the 1992 to 2006 data was that 146 deaths (60%) were in inner London and 96 in outer London. Almost three quarters of fatalities were male, however there was a difference in the age distribution by sex with the majority of deaths being male in both younger and older age groups. Only the 18-24 age group involved more female deaths.
The authors conclude that freight vehicles over 3.5 tonnes present a disproportionate threat to cyclists and recommend that they should be removed from urban roads and more appropriate means of delivery of essential goods found. The 1994 study made the same observation.
Transport for London’s recently launched it cycle safety awareness campaign warning cyclists of the dangers of undertaking lorries at junctions. Measures in the campaign also included stepping up cyclist-awareness training for lorry drivers.
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