Cycle and tipper truck

Given yet another cyclist’s death on London’s roads, currently generating fierce debate over the best way to avoid further lives being lost, The Hub thought it would be useful to take a step back and look at road casualties as a whole.

Today’s death is attention grabbing for all the wrong reasons: it is the fifth death in nine days on the capital’s streets and takes the year’s total to 13 [eight involving LGVs], compared with 14 in 2012 [five involving LGVs]. That’s simply awful.

However, the risk is that LGVs – who have been involved in a significant amount of these deaths but not all – are demonised, something London’s mayor Boris Johnson has played his part in with talk of a Safer Lorry Charge.

Indeed, the DfT’s road casualty date covering 2012 supports the FTA’s recent statement that cycle safety is not just a truck operator responsibility alone.

There were 118 cycling deaths in total last year – 23 as the result of accidents involving an LGV; seven due to a bus or coach; seven a van or lights good vehicle and 55 due to cars (the remainder other causes).

Of course, due to the weight involved you have a much greater chance of death if you are on a bike and hit by an LGV at low speed than with other vehicles – and we shouldn’t forget that.

However, the data suggests the perception that LGVs are the cause of the majority of road accidents, which is sometimes the by-product of the reporting of these tragic road deaths, isn’t entirely fair.

While there were 353 accidents between cyclists and LGVs resulting in injury last year; buses and coaches were involved in another 365 accidents; vans and light vehicles 1,166; and cars a staggering 15,348 accidents that resulted in injury.


There were also 399 pedestrians hit by cyclists in 2012, resulting in two deaths.

Given the respective proportions of each vehicle on the road, The Hub it is still right for operators of LGVs to make their vehicles safer in respect of vulnerable road users such as cyclists. All compliant operators want to avoid accidents, let alone accidental deaths of members of the public.

Certainly the majority of well run transport firms are well aware of their responsibilities in regards the cycle safety issue and are putting in time and money to address it. But road transport can not do this in isolation if the UK is to succeed in reducing cycling deaths.