Saturday, April 20, 2013


Another tragedy on the London Streets created by a Tipper Truck ! This was the report i read today , after returning from the " Giro del Trentino " on the Website " Cyclists in the City "! Thankfully , i live in a country area where traffic is lighter , although i have occasion to chase after errant motorists and remind them that , their being in a vehicle does not absolve them from responsibility for their illconsidered actions !

Before going to Italy i was heading west , up a slope towards Weising , when i was passed by a 7 Tonne Box Truck . He then braked within metres , moved into my path ans signalled his left turn into a trading estate . My appointment elsewhere went out the window , as i followed him into the left turn . Within metres of the turn , i found that i was being " Beeped " by a White Van , who was following , then he decided to overtake on a bridge . Alongside me , he started guesturing , sort of get out of my way , moved over to squeeze me to the kurb , except i was not moving , but his passenger window got a few thumps . The " Nothegger " parcel truck was less than 10 metres in front of us both .

 When we were about 300m from the road junction , we were in a turning area that was a junction of several estate roads  . He was deciding what to do , whether to get out of the van , having arrived at his destination , or to try to leave/flee the scene . His decision was made for him by a colleague going to the van . This was his home depot . For me this was welcome relief as i was able to go into the warehouse and demand " Either Polizei or Director "! Whilst awaiting the arrival i asked several of the workers " How would you behave , if it was your Wife/Husband , Son/Daughter , Father/Mother menaced by a vehicle .

Eventually a Manager arrived , explanations made and a " Promise " of DRIVER TRAINING made ! I made the point , that HAD I been injured or worse , the Director would have faced the prospect of " Corporate Manslaughter " in  the most extreme case . The prospect of which , he was unaware , but is an option available to the Authorities in many Countries . As i was leaving , one of the other Directors , arrived and told the audience that he sees me daily riding throughout the winter , mostly in shorts . At a guess the business was a Father / Son enterprise that acts as distributor for various other  Nationally known Products ?

After leaving this work place , i went next door to see about confronting the driver from " Nothegger " , in the interim , he had departed . On explanation , the staff found the paperwork , relating to the delivery of goods and supplied the vehicle details and phoned to discover the Driver details .

Each of these enterprises , acted in the same manner as countless others . They put themselves in my shoes , recognised that the behaviour was unacceptable and supplied the info sought , to see the perpetrator was acquainted with their reaction . People generally realise that Drivers are frequently  guilty of acting thoughtlessly whilst in control of a vehicle . Politicians and the Policing Authorities on the other hand rely on seeing the incident take place before they decide to act .

Whilst in the Trentino , i was passed by a car in a tunnel , which was being overtaken at the time by another car . The overtaking car was across the DOUBLE WHITE LINES , contrary to the Road Regulations , and facing oncoming traffic , posing the risk of a Headon Collision . This tunnel was followed by another where there were Road Works controlled by Traffic Lights ! The offending Driver was awoken from his day dreams by the flash of my camera , capturing his image and number plate . In Ponte Arche , the next Town , the road Junctions were controlled by the Polizia Locale , who now have copies by email of those photos .

 What the Polizia Locale will do now , remains subject to conjecture , my photos and word against a " Local driver " , who knows ? Perhaps in checking their records the Polizei , will discover that this is the latest of a string of incidents ?

 BACK TO THE WEB story :

  "  Cyclists in the city " relates the following items :

  "  And in the meantime, I'd recommend you read Mark Ames's sage words of advice: " Always remember; if the truck is ahead, stay back.  If the truck is behind, get ahead."

But just using this common sense isn't enough. I avoided being run over by a tipper truck last summer by bailing out on to the pavement. The driver decided to overtake me in a pinchpoint. The only two options were a) deliberately fall off my bike b) have the driver run me over. This, by the way, is a pinchpoint on Cycle Super Highway 8 that now has a massive 'look out for cyclists!' sign in front of it. The engineers know it's not safe. It isn't safe. They need to sort it out. Getting ahead or staying back isn't enough to keep you safe on a bike. We need meaningful and proper intervention - on our roads and in the construction industry. And we need it now. "

  "  The BBC yesterday: "A sat-nav system which warns lorry drivers when they are approaching roads where they are most at risk of hitting a cyclist has been unveiled."

My response :

When you have drivers , on the cell phone , eating their lunch , held in one hand , whilst shuffling paperwork with the other , possibly with a fag in the ashtray and holding the steering wheel with a knee , ACCIDENTS WILL HAPPEN ! In my Blog Post , several years ago , i faced an oncoming Sprinter van , doing just that , had i not swerved left , to the wrong side of the road , it would have been curtains . As it was i finished up , facing his colleague , following in a similar vehicle emblazened with their Employers Graphics ! That Driver when stopped , was , " What can i Do "?

  "  Cyclists in the City " :

I don't hold out much hope for trixi mirrors or sat nav gizmos making a blind bit of difference.

What I do trust, however, is the report by the Netherlands' road safety institute which says this: "Truck drivers do not make the best possible use of the different mirrors [and] cyclists insufficiently take account of the fact that trucks have a limited visual field. The ultimate solution for the blind spot problem is a structural separation of trucks and cyclists."

  "   Enough is enough. The solutions proposed and promoted by the UK media are half-baked, ill-thought through and not good enough. The Dutch are right. You need to keep tipper trucks and people on bikes apart from each other. The majority of people killed on bikes on London's roads are killed in collisions that involve tipper trucks. 

But you also need to sort out the lethal practices of the construction industry. Every week, it seems, another person is mauled or killed by a tipper truck. My view? The construction industry has a lot to answer for. As ibikelondon blog puts it: "A combination of unscrupulous payment practices whereby some drivers are paid per load, a distinctly criminal element that runs through the haulage industry, and the fact that most drivers (no matter how careful) can't actually see the vulnerable road users around them, combine to ensure that HGVs are the most dangerous vehicles on the roads, and account for a shocking level of deaths." I'd clarify that comment a bit and say it's not just any old HGV drivers. It is largely (but not exclusively) tipper truck drivers that are the menaces on our streets, driving waste for the construction industry."

  "  Read that carefully - he'd been caught driving while disqualified 20 times before. What sort of industry hires people who are so utterly incapable of doing the job safely and gets away with it?

WHAT I THINK IS NEEDED , is to take " Members of Parliament / Members of Congress " , out on the streets UNESCORTED , leave them at the mercy of the Traffic ! 

See how they feel when they next convene to discuss " Road Cycling Issues "?

BTW , don't get me onto the " GUN CONTROL Issues " in the USA !

Members of Congress have sold their SOULS to the NRA ! Have they no conscience ?

NO ! They are sitting on it , it is in their " BEST INTERESTS " to see NRA triumph over the LIVES OF THE ORDINARY VOTER !

Even GIFFORD , their colleague being turned from a BRIGHT Articulate Politician , into a Person that struggles to articulate their views , has had little effect on them !


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