Friday, 27 May 2011

Trixi mirrors: the way to cut cycle deaths?

Last month a woman called Naoko was killed on her bike by a heavy lorry in Hammersmith. Her death clocked up another notch in the grim statistics collected by Transport for London every year on cycle/lorry deaths that take place on our roads.

Some cases have received larger amounts of publicity than others, such as that of Catriona Patel who was killed by a lorry driver who was later sentenced to 7 years for having been over the alcohol limit that morning in south London.

After each horrendous episode however there has been the debate about how we stop these incidents happening and one conclusion, which you might think is stating the obvious, keeps being reached - that it is difficult to see from a large HGV down the inside left of the vehicle, especially if a cyclist is very close to the lorry. This means the lorry driver may turn left, not seeing the cyclist, and the inevitable consequences flow.

Frankly, I don't think that's anywhere near a good enough excuse for an HGV driver who probably in some cases shouldn't be on inner city streets anyway, but it is a repeating theme. The Liberal Democrats at the Greater London Authority have been pressing the Mayor on this issue, specifically to install "Trixi Mirrors" at junctions to enable the HGV drivers to use them to see every last thing that might be on the left of their vehicle before they turn.

Fixed to things like traffic lights or sign posts they remove any blind spot. And as simple mirrors, they are dirt cheap. Here's what the leader of the LibDems Caroline Pidgeon AM has to say:
"Trixi mirrors are a cost effective and  very simple way of reducing accidents involving cyclists and lorries.   When they could play a crucial role in ending the scandal of so many cyclists being killed on London's roads it's a no brainer to roll them out across the whole of London as quickly as possible."
A no brainer indeed. And TfL are apparently going to start doing this but the red tape of our transport system means it is proceeding at a snails pace. And they will only be installed, apparently, along Boris Johnson's blue lane cycle "superhighways" - you know, the strips of blue that are supposed to miraculously protect cyclists.

So even this wouldn't have played any role in the incident that killed Naoko in Hammersmith, because Boris' pet project doesn't extend to West London. Will H&F Council take the lead and install some themselves? I plan on asking them...

1030 UPDATE - A reader ponits out that there is now a Trixi mirror on the Uxbridge Road/Askew Road junction - and so there is! Credit to the Council for that - but sad that it took this incident I reported on two years ago, also involving a cyclist and a heavy lorry, to lead to its introduction. Let's not wait for more.

1400 UPDATE - The Evening Standard is running the same story now which you can read here


  1. There's at least one on the Uxbridge Road/Askew Road junction... it's on the UR westbound lights.

  2. Re: Uxbridge Road, that junction has the added danger of cars waiting in the middle of the junction to turn right for SO long that by the time they do they're going across a GREEN pedestrian crossing!!

  3. Really great blog. My friends referred me your site. Looks like everyone knows about it. I'm going to read your other posts. Take care. Keep sharing.