Another cyclist death: left-turning lorry

Commuting, Day rides, Audax, Incidents, etc.
Pete Owens
Posts: 1492
Joined: 7 Jul 2008, 12:52am

Re: Another cyclist death: left-turning lorry

Postby Pete Owens » 22 Feb 2015, 1:07am

pwa wrote:Mjr, correct me if I am wrong, but contrary to what you implied this cyclist was not in a separate lane from the lorry she was trying to overtake on the left, she was in the same lane. Given that the lorry seems to have been indicating left at the time I fail to see how you can begin to defend that manoeuvre. I am horrified at the thought of going down the left side of a lorry in that situation.


But of course it follows from that that if the manoevre is a bad idea in the first place then placing infrastructure in order to encourage that manoevre is even worse. A cyclist may make a mistake in trying to overtake trucks on the wrong side; professional traffic engineers really ought to know better.

Pete Owens
Posts: 1492
Joined: 7 Jul 2008, 12:52am

Re: Another cyclist death: left-turning lorry

Postby Pete Owens » 22 Feb 2015, 1:49am

mjr wrote:
Pete Owens wrote:In terms of the increased danger that segregation (whatever the currently fashionable euphamism is) causes at junctions, it make no difference at all whether the cycle path is shared with or separated from pedestrians on the approch.

The problem here is that it is a very very bad idea to ride to the left of left turning motor vehicles (which of course is where a segregated facility would be put). This leads to inevitable conflict where the paths cross at junctions. Whichis why such things have such a poor safety record - increasing the collision risk by a factor of 3 for same direction traffic and a factor of 10 for bi-directional paths such as the new super-duper highways that all the facility fanatics are raving about at the moment.

Are those factors still the oft-cited ones from the debatable 30 year old Lund data that is rather hard to obtain? The headline figures draw no distinctions for cycleway types, junction layouts and so on and are used to wrap it all up into one answer which is "clear, simple and wrong."

The fact that cycle paths increase the danger at junctions has been well established for much longer than that - it is the reason why use of cycle paths was never made compulsory in this country in the '30s despite the best efforts of the motor lobby, unlike the rather more authoritarian regimes on the continent. It is not just one study. Indeed, most of the research has been conducted by believers in segregation who were surprised by the supposedly counter intuitive results. The effect is not marginal - we are talking about an order of magnitude here which is far more clear cut than most road safety interventions. And it does distinguish between junction layouts in that bi-directional tracks are identified as particularly dangerous. There are undoubtedly design features that may mitigate this to a minor extent but that is tinkering at the edges of the problem and certainly quibbling about whether the path is shared with pedestrians or not makes no difference whatsoever.
I agree that there is inevitable conflict where carriageways and cycleways would cross at junctions, but it should be easier to manage,

The fact that the conflict is inevitable this means it is not possible to manage - it is a fundamental feature of the geometrical arrangement. If you arrange for a stream of left turning vehicles to approach a junction to the right of a stream of vehicles heading straight on then expext collisions at the junction.
so in a well-managed junction, the tipper truck driver would have had the truck crunching on bollards or similar, rather than a person.

This is getting silly. If you place a line of bollards across the mouth of a junction then it ceases to be a junction.

thirdcrank
Posts: 28648
Joined: 9 Jan 2007, 2:44pm

Re: Another cyclist death: left-turning lorry

Postby thirdcrank » 22 Feb 2015, 8:08am

Here's an example of the complications involved in building a junction intended to allow traffic in the offside lane to turn left, while traffic in the nearside lane goes straight ahead. The streetview link shows the junction of the Headrow (outside Leeds Town Hall, start of last year's TdF) and Oxford Place which forms a feeder road to the Leeds Inner Loop (a sort of inner inner ring road, which is largely within the actual Inner Ring Road.) The nearside lane is a bus and cycle lane and buses go straight ahead to towards the transport box (an even more inner inner inner ring road, reserved for public transport and delivery vehicles and the roll-out of last years TdeF :D .) The greater part of the traffic in the outer lanes turns left onto the Loop. Achieving this involves advance signs, road markings including surface colouring, kerbs and traffic lights programmed to give priority to buses. There are "farcilities" as well and anybody who likes playing about with streetview may notice that the left turning cycle route ends abruptly behind a marked parking bay. The green man lets pedestrians cross in between everything else.
https://maps.google.co.uk/maps?ll=53.79 ... 0&t=h&z=11
So, where there's a will, there's a way but in the grand scheme of things, that junction is an important one where the conflict is between buses, which they want to priritise and general traffic they want to divert. it's hardly likely to be the model for protecting segregated cycle routes in the UK where the norm at junctions is GIVE WAY lines across the cycle route or CYCLISTS DISMOUNT signs.

Here's a streetview of a typical junction remodelled in the modern era of providing for cycling. :roll: This existing dual carriageway was "improved" when the M1/A1 motorway link way built and the pavements were converted to shared use. (The blurred-out blue sign on the 20 mph sign is CYCLISTS DISMOUNT.) Note that the left turning traffic is only local traffic and further down that side road, substantial traffic-calming measures have been introduced. It seems it's beyond the wit of man to prioritise cyclists going ahead on the main route using the cycling provision as part of the traffic-calming eg a raised crossing. NB, the usual rationalisation for giving priority to the left-turners is that to do otherwise risks a queue dangling out onto the main road. At this junction, an exit slip lane has been provided which would prevent that. At a junction like this, they simply want to prioritise motor traffic and will pay only lip-service to the needs of cyclists.
https://maps.google.co.uk/maps?q=Northw ... m&t=h&z=11
For connoisseurs of the pedestrian crossing menagerie the crossing immediately beyond the junction in the second link is a Pegasus crossing (for equestrians) which demonstrates that when this road was "improved" they really were doing their pathetic best with neither money nor space causing the usual problems. Note that the blue sign in this streetview link says HORSE RIDERS ONLY. Perhaps they are expected to tie up their horses before crossing, although, come to think of it, I think Pegasus could fly, :roll:

https://maps.google.co.uk/maps?q=Northw ... m&t=h&z=11

(PS The signwriter avoided the word "equestrian" because the highway authority said that queues must be avoided at all costs. :wink: Sorry. :oops: )

SCIUTDV
Posts: 2
Joined: 22 Feb 2015, 11:04am

Re: Another cyclist death: left-turning lorry

Postby SCIUTDV » 22 Feb 2015, 11:33am

SteveHunter wrote:An update from me now my brain has calmed a bit, and I've given my statement as well now so also know a few more facts.

This did not occur at a Building Site Access.

There are a lot of Building works occurring at the junction, and hoardings up alongside the road everywhere, but the accident did not take place at the entrance to the site, and I'm not aware that the lorry involved was evening going to that building site.

The accident occured at a normal junction with a left turn filter just before the traffic lights, that left turn filter is however hoarded on both sides and becomes very narrow.

The lorry approached the filter indicating left and started to manoeuvre, I was positioned behind the lorry in a central lane position as I was going straight across at the junction, the cyclist came down the left hand side of me and then went down the left hand side of the lorry as it was turning left.

Luckily for me I didn't see the actual impact as was past the lorry at the time, and to be honest I cannot remember if it had side rails or not, however I did find out today that this was the case and that it was all caught on camera as the lorry had CCTV camera coverage.


My name is John Hartfree and I work for the Metropolitan Police in the Serious Collision Investigation Unit at Merton Traffic Garage (the 'code' of which is TDV - thus my username created for this post of SCIUTDV !)

I am managing the investigation into this collision.

I wanted to send SteveHunter a message but forum rules won't let me do this as a 'new' member and the administrator has unfortunately not replied to my email - thus this post.

'Steve Hunter' I have no record of anyone of your name having spoken to my unit about this collision. Can I urge you to ring me as soon as possible to discuss this incident on our witness line of 020 8543 5157.

I would be grateful if anyone on here can drop Steve a PM to highlight this post to him and post below if they do this (so he doesn't get loads of messages).

If anyone else on here witnessed the collision or knows of someone that did please ring us or give them our phone number. I am also contactable via john.hartfree@met.police.uk

Thank you.

SteveHunter
Posts: 186
Joined: 24 Aug 2014, 10:02pm

Re: Another cyclist death: left-turning lorry

Postby SteveHunter » 22 Feb 2015, 12:09pm

Noted, will contact you.

User avatar
[XAP]Bob
Posts: 16887
Joined: 26 Sep 2008, 4:12pm

Re: Another cyclist death: left-turning lorry

Postby [XAP]Bob » 22 Feb 2015, 1:49pm

John Hartfree - thank you!
A shortcut has to be a challenge, otherwise it would just be the way. No situation is so dire that panic cannot make it worse.
There are two kinds of people in this world: those can extrapolate from incomplete data.

User avatar
mjr
Posts: 13478
Joined: 20 Jun 2011, 7:06pm
Location: Norfolk or Somerset, mostly
Contact:

Re: Another cyclist death: left-turning lorry

Postby mjr » 23 Feb 2015, 10:03am

Pete Owens wrote:
mjr wrote:Are those factors still the oft-cited ones from the debatable 30 year old Lund data that is rather hard to obtain? The headline figures draw no distinctions for cycleway types, junction layouts and so on and are used to wrap it all up into one answer which is "clear, simple and wrong."

The fact that cycle paths increase the danger at junctions has been well established for much longer than that - it is the reason why use of cycle paths was never made compulsory in this country in the '30s despite the best efforts of the motor lobby, unlike the rather more authoritarian regimes on the continent. It is not just one study. Indeed, most of the research has been conducted by believers in segregation who were surprised by the supposedly counter intuitive results. The effect is not marginal - we are talking about an order of magnitude here which is far more clear cut than most road safety interventions. And it does distinguish between junction layouts in that bi-directional tracks are identified as particularly dangerous.

It? It? Again, I think this seems to be describing primarily the Lund research, plus distinguishing track direction isn't really distinguishing junction layouts - relatively, bidirectional tracks are more dangerous and so we should prefer unidirectional in general, unlike most of what's being built in London - but that doesn't tell us anything about particular junction layouts. It falls into the oft-repeated trap of lumping crossroads in with forks and so on, then ignoring those differences, so it gives only generalities.

I've read quite a bit of research on this and it doesn't seem clear at all. In some cases, what seems clear at first glance is much less certain once you get to the bottom of it, like the notorious "11.3 times more dangerous" headline. In other cases, such as Jensen of Trafitek's work, an absolute fall seems to be presented as an increase mainly because it isn't as large a fall as predicted!

"An order of magnitude" is a cute way of saying it's still only a multiplier on a very small number (because cycling is generally safe). If done carefully, I suspect the benefits of increasing ridership and reduction of conflict from higher-top-speed vehicles behind would outweigh any reduction in safety from junctions - and in many cases, especially off quasi-motorways, the right tools to use will be things other than protected spaces.

There are undoubtedly design features that may mitigate this to a minor extent but that is tinkering at the edges of the problem and certainly quibbling about whether the path is shared with pedestrians or not makes no difference whatsoever.

And yet, no study I'm aware of has found that shared cycle/footways are as safe and as popular as dedicated cycleways.
I agree that there is inevitable conflict where carriageways and cycleways would cross at junctions, but it should be easier to manage,

The fact that the conflict is inevitable this means it is not possible to manage - it is a fundamental feature of the geometrical arrangement. If you arrange for a stream of left turning vehicles to approach a junction to the right of a stream of vehicles heading straight on then expext collisions at the junction.

Don't be silly! Traffic conflicts are managed all the time: priority markings, traffic signals, grade-separation and plenty more. At some point, a cycle in the stream will have had to join the stream and in a busy system, they will have had to overcome a conflict to get there - if we should expect collisions at any junction with conflicting movements, we'd just be moving the collision to where they join the stream, or where faster vehicles reach their back wheel.
so in a well-managed junction, the tipper truck driver would have had the truck crunching on bollards or similar, rather than a person.

This is getting silly. If you place a line of bollards across the mouth of a junction then it ceases to be a junction.

And in this case, there was a left-turning cycle and a left-turning truck: there was conflict only because the road design put them into the same lane (Edit: and I realise the rider may have made an ill-judged attempt to override our current default solution to such conflict: wait in line). It is, as you say, silly, but that's where the century of thinking that every rider should defend their own space on roads dominated by ever-larger motor vehicles has left us. It's a very silly approach indeed and I want it to change as soon as possible, looking at such junctions and how we can learn from history instead of endlessly repeating it.
MJR, mostly pedalling 3-speed roadsters. KL+West Norfolk BUG incl social easy rides http://www.klwnbug.co.uk
All the above is CC-By-SA and no other implied copyright license to Cycle magazine.

Flinders
Posts: 3012
Joined: 10 Mar 2009, 6:47pm

Re: Another cyclist death: left-turning lorry

Postby Flinders » 23 Feb 2015, 1:25pm

thirdcrank wrote:Flinders

In general, I think you are right and I've posted along similar lines myself. It's often survivor's justice and stereotyping cyclists as their own worst enemy aggravates it. I remember a discussion about a "safety" campaign, possibly in Canada, which characterised cyclists as "space invaders" with no recognition that it might be the lorry driver who was invading somebody else's space to the extent of driving over them.

In this case, however, a regular forum member had the misfortune to be an independent witness.


I take your point completely about this specific case. I had intended to speak in a general way rather than about this specific incident, but wasn't clear enough in the way I put it....

Flinders
Posts: 3012
Joined: 10 Mar 2009, 6:47pm

Re: Another cyclist death: left-turning lorry

Postby Flinders » 23 Feb 2015, 1:28pm

The fat commuter wrote:^^
So you wouldn't pass a stationary lorry in a line of traffic when you can see past it and see that it or the traffic in front is going nowhere - and there was a decent gap to use?


No. You can't be sure when traffic will start up. And you can't see pedestrians crossing if a big lorry is in your way. In a long stationary queue, I'd get off and wheel my bike on the pavement past a lorry.

Flinders
Posts: 3012
Joined: 10 Mar 2009, 6:47pm

Re: Another cyclist death: left-turning lorry

Postby Flinders » 23 Feb 2015, 1:38pm

reohn2 wrote:
Flinders wrote:I have never, to the best of my recollection in 30+ years of cycling, including 7 years in central London, gone down the inside of a lorry. But I have been overtaken close to a junction by lorries. I'm not sure how I can prevent that, short of taking a Sherman tank with me as escort, which would be inconvenient and not very eco-friendly in terms of fuel consumption.

The trick is not to allow yourself to be pressurised into secondary if you believe the door will be closed on you,if you find yourself in that position,for your own self preservation it's better to step off the bike and get onto the pavement,rather than risk life and limb.

Now if I were to be overtaken by a lorry close to a corner and got squashed, it seems I'd be automatically condemned by some cyclists here as it would be assumed I'd gone down the inside of the lorry. No doubt me being a woman would make people even more sure it had been my fault.


If you believe that to be the case you need to go back and read the whole thread again as you've got hold of the wrong end of the stick.
No one has posted such as that on this thread.


I was not sufficiently clear, I meant here on this forum in general, not this specific case, as I said above, I'm sorry for the confusion.
I would use the pavement in some circumstances, as I mention above. But sometimes you can be overtaken where there are rails....

As for being pressurised into secondary, it depends where you are. In London, I found that drivers in general expect bikes to be around, and look for them. They are also less likely to be stroppy about cyclists in primary for the same reason- they see it more often (though it didn't save the poor chap who was killed recently). Round here, where bikes are a lot less common, a cyclist in primary would be regarded as being very stroppy, and as a legitimate target, so I am careful how and where I adopt it.
Having said that, once in London, stationary at lights and in primary, I had the driver behind try to move me out of his way by driving is car into my bike slowly and pushing it forward. I got off said bike, stood with it broadside-on in front of his car, and gave him a talk on his behavior, not stopping when the lights went green. I was young and cross at the time. These days, being old and taking Thirdcrank's advice and ganging more warily, and drivers being much more prone to violence than they used to be, I don't think I'd dare do that.
Primary is not always the safest place.

iandriver
Posts: 2124
Joined: 10 Jun 2009, 2:09pm
Location: Cambridge.

Re: Another cyclist death: left-turning lorry

Postby iandriver » 23 Feb 2015, 1:38pm

Flinders wrote:
The fat commuter wrote:^^
So you wouldn't pass a stationary lorry in a line of traffic when you can see past it and see that it or the traffic in front is going nowhere - and there was a decent gap to use?


No. You can't be sure when traffic will start up. And you can't see pedestrians crossing if a big lorry is in your way. In a long stationary queue, I'd get off and wheel my bike on the pavement past a lorry.


I regularly pass a queue that is over two miles long around here. Mercifully there is a patch of poor path I can hop onto if needs be. To get off and push is effectively to have to give up cycling in some of these areas. Every case needs to be looked at in microscopic detail and proper space made for cycling.
Last edited by iandriver on 23 Feb 2015, 1:40pm, edited 1 time in total.
Supporter of the A10 corridor cycling campaign serving Royston to Cambridge http://a10corridorcycle.com. Never knew gardening secateurs were an essential part of the on bike tool kit until I took up campaigning.....

Flinders
Posts: 3012
Joined: 10 Mar 2009, 6:47pm

Re: Another cyclist death: left-turning lorry

Postby Flinders » 23 Feb 2015, 1:40pm

I would get off and push to get past stationary lorries, not vehicles I can see over, and which have far smaller blind spots.

iandriver
Posts: 2124
Joined: 10 Jun 2009, 2:09pm
Location: Cambridge.

Re: Another cyclist death: left-turning lorry

Postby iandriver » 23 Feb 2015, 1:42pm

Flinders wrote:I would get off and push to get past stationary lorries, not vehicles I can see over, and which have far smaller blind spots.

Then in London and it's traffic jams full of lorries and buses, you are going to be doing a lot of pushing.
Supporter of the A10 corridor cycling campaign serving Royston to Cambridge http://a10corridorcycle.com. Never knew gardening secateurs were an essential part of the on bike tool kit until I took up campaigning.....

Vorpal
Moderator
Posts: 17043
Joined: 19 Jan 2009, 3:34pm
Location: Not there ;)

Re: Another cyclist death: left-turning lorry

Postby Vorpal » 23 Feb 2015, 2:39pm

I have to admit that I don't like going around lorries and buses at all. If traffic is moving, I will sometimes join a queue, rather than overtake a large vehicle. If the vehicle is stationary, and I feel it is unlikely to move or turn, I will overtake on the outside, when it is otherwise safe to do so.

I don't know the junction in question, so I cannot comment on the specific case. I do think it's very sad. Even if much of the 'fault' lies with the cyclist, it is unfortunate that the state of the roads in the UK brings cyclists into conflict with such vehicles.
“In some ways, it is easier to be a dissident, for then one is without responsibility.”
― Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom

pwa
Posts: 10037
Joined: 2 Oct 2011, 8:55pm

Re: Another cyclist death: left-turning lorry

Postby pwa » 24 Feb 2015, 11:26am

Vorpal

your comments sum up my feelings on this matter.

I'd like to raise a point for discussion. If, as I believe, trying to overtake a lorry on the left (while you are sharing the same lane) is inherently dangerous, is it possible to get around London on a bike without doing this? I'm not talking about lorries trying to overtake bikes, then squeezing them against the edge of the road. That is another issue. My feeling is that if passing on the left (whilst in the same lane) is hazardous, and if people cannot get around on a bike without doing it I would say cycling in London is, for me, too risky to contemplate. At least until infrastructure changes sufficiently.

Thoughts?