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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Deaths of cyclists in london: trends from 1992 to 2006

Andrei S Morgan*, Helen B Dale, William E Lee and Phil J Edwards

BMC Public Health 2010, 10:699  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-10-699

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Risky lorries or risky behaviour?

Thomas Chu   (2010-12-07 09:45)  Retired hospital doctor email

Morgan et al pointed out in their article that the number of fatal accidents involving cyclists in London remained stable between 1992 and 2006, despite an almost doubling of journeys made by cycling. This suggests a fall in the rate of fatal accidents in the study period. However, it is unclear whether there was any changes in the proportion of fatal accidents involving lorries over the same period.

As a regular visitor to London, I am astonished to observe that a significant number of cyclists choose to undertake a lorry when it has begun to turn left, which is one of the manoeuvres associated with the highest number of fatal accidents involving cyclists. Other risky behaviours include ignoring red lights and pedestrian crossings, cycling on the pavement and against the flow of traffic.

The authors concluded that motor vehicles, especially heavy goods vehicles, pose substantial danger to cyclists and should therefore be banned from London roads. It is not clear whether the source of danger comes from careless driver or from careless cyclists. Therefore, I find that there is insufficient ground to ban HGV based solely on the authors' findings.

Competing interests

I am neither a London cyclist nor a lorry driver, but I regularly use my car to get around in the Midlands and in northern England.

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