Friday, September 2, 2011


FACT that they exist poses danger to all whether on local roads or motorways ! Until the "Rail System" is made to work in Europe there will always be a need for these monstrosities . When you send a parcel/package by DHL , TNT or UPS do you really think that it travels through Europe by Air when the time between despatch and delivery allows the use of road ?

Next time you are on the Motorway late afternoon through to before 8am , see how many Semi trailor vehicles logoed " Air freight/24hr service " you can count ! Chances are there are other vehicles without logoing that are also carrying these small urgent packages ! We , the public created this need for " Speedy Service " and yet we are unable to face up to the consequences of our desire for instant gratification .

We know Christmas is coming so we leave shopping until the last minute and then demand delivery then and there or go hunt the " gift " elsewhere ! What can the store do other than promise " overnight delivery" and you might hang around whilst they make the arrangements to satisfy your needs . Same goes for so many other things in our lives these days .

Businesses also work on " Just in Time " inventories so there are a bunch of trucks on the road delivering those parts to keep whole factories from having to close down for want of parts that were carried as " Stock " in earlier times . Look around the Air Freight Terminals at Heathrow , Charles de Gaulle & Munich and you will see Boeing 747 Freight Aircraft and the larger Semi Trailors busy loading and unloading .

Ever followed a circus moving around the country , well some of them are 3 units truck , trailor and caravan hitched together . Occasionally you will see a farm tractor towing two or three trailors in the country . Outback Australia allows five or more trailors on specially designated routes but i am certain there are occasions where the rules are bent . To travel from Ford in Sth Melbourne to Geelong you will be on a motorway where you will find Rigs towing two large trailors with official approval .

Truck drivers need various classes of licenses and generally they are professional about their approach to their work but the average truck driver presents a less than appealing visage when seen around the outside of their rig . They dress for comfort and a collar and tie is required in the office but would rarely be considered by a driver who will sleep in their truck when away from home .

Considering the investment and a world demanding results , time is the enemy for the average truck driver . From the sign on through to the return of the vehicle to the depot everything conspires to delay their smooth progress through the day , road works , traffic jams and Police Controls . Leaving home in a less than good mood can add to the stress of the day .

Not being mind readers the truck driver has to contend with what he sees on the road and usually that is in front of him but occasionally viewable in their rear view mirrors . Noticed the sign " If you can't see the mirrors , i can't see you " ?

As a cyclist i daily go up the inside of vehicles regardless of size and make absolutely certain that i am aware of the dangers posed before entering an area of risk . Riding in both the UK and Europe i have to be attentive to risks from both sides of the vehicles i am passing and in city streets i am always watching for the darting pedestrian particularly those that step off the pavement without looking . Remember all to well a pedestrian woman in the Strand , London who bowled me off the bike , apologised , offered to pay the damages and when i arrived at the address given told me that i caused HER injury ! Luckily for me the expenses and skinning was slight otherwise the only winner would have been the lawyer .

With using " Sinitron " i bleed too easily from slight scrapes so have no wish to collect any further souvenirs as i pedal around each day . Drivers pay scant attention to cyclists since they regard them as an obstacle as they motor around playing with their " monile toys ", you know the phone , gps gadget , maps , paperwork , cigarettes and refreshments . All of these tasks are far more important than what is going on outside their vehicle not to mention the conversation they are having with their companions which could be absorbing and even heated on occasions .

Road signs , directional signs and road markings are also distracting and that cyclist they are alongside is so easily overlooked ! Nose past the cyclist so they are no longer part of the equation ! WRONG ! When following a cyclist you should never overtake UNLESS you can continue moving forward at the same speed needed in the manoevre . Why fill the cyclist's safety space so that they have to brake through YOUR NEGLIGENCE ?

So many motorists cannot stand the thought of being behind a cyclist , they might fall over or delay your progress ! Filling the space the cyclist reserves for safety is asking to create the problem you would hope to avoid .

WHEN APPROACHING junctions where HGV or other large vehicles frequently make Left Hand Turns could not the authorities mark the road 100m in advance in a manner that the vehicle and other road users will know that there is a danger posed at the junction by turning vehicles ? Some countries have a series of lines as you approach Ped. Crossings or Narrowing of a road ! Could not a similar road marking be applied at junctions where casualties have already occurred as an interim measure and then when European Road Authorities have had an opportunity to consider the success of this measure institute it as part of European Law ?

Cyclists are aware of road markings more than road signs and that is because of the state of the road surfaces they have to travel over . It would be hard to not see these indicators unless Vehicles are parked on top of them illegally !

Introducing Larger Semi Trailors in the UK is only going to add more damage to the roads as well as more danger to other road users . Should the need arise for their use then they should only be allowed on motorways and in Trading Estates or Warehousing Estates adjacent to Motorways ! Allowing these Larger vehicles to travel through villages or small towns is unacceptable since most of these drivers will be unfamiliar with local conditions and could cause chaos to an otherwise tranquil situation .

European Motorways such as the Autobahns have " U roads " to channel traffic off blocked motorways and i am sure this network was put together with thought rather than a cavalier attitude of " She'll be right mate "!
All Large vehicles should be able to access the outskirts of towns but even Sinbury or Tesco Semi Trailors delivering to their stores is causing difficulty to their local population .

Distressing to read of so many Cyclists killed through the negligence of the parties involved , be it the vehicle driver , road conditions or the unwitting actions of the cyclist . So many accidents are caused by road conditions causing the cyclist to swerve in to the path of a following vehicle or even to tumble from their bike ! Road Authorities should be notified of hazardous conditions and I attempted to do this after taking a tumble in the tunnel under Manchester Airport runway in August ! One tunnel well lighted had the same level for walkers and cyclists so it must have been the newer of the two ! Riding into the dark of the other I saw a cyclist approaching and turned towards the left to leave room for him to pass . As it was he had to scrape me off the pavement as the unseen kerb tumbled me off the bike into the wall at speed ! Luckily the helmet took the brunt of the force and the shoulder and hip the rest ! Had it been on the open road a following vehicle would not have had time to avoid an accident .

How many other cyclists experienced the same situation in that particular tunnel over the past years ?

ADDED comment to Roads.cc :

" One point overlooked in this Roads.cc post are the pictures of the trucks at the top of the page ! So easy at cursory glance to miss the difference in length but as Ciaran points out those two metres make a lot of difference in heavy traffic where the truck driver is challenged with a multitude of problems !

The pressure to introduce these trucks is because they exist in Europe and no doubt the operators want to utilise them in YOUR backyard given the opportunity . Well motorway is what they use 99% of their journey so that is what they should be allowed ! Given that there are areas only accesible by "A routes" then they should have a pilot vehicle to guide them to their destination IF it is a situaton where these monstrosities must use single lane routes rather than multi lane / dual carriageways .

Regardless of " BUY LOCAL " campaigns the Supermarket chains will continue to see " PROFIT " in importing goods to the detriment of ALL ! Frankly if Mr Tesco or Mr Aldi could find a way of closing these markets you can bet that they would do so to " SAVE YOU MONEY "!

This comment added to my blog ! "

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