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Fatal urban cyclist collisions with lorries: an in depth study of causation factors and countermeasures using a system-based approach

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conference contribution
posted on 28.09.2015, 12:41 by Pete ThomasPete Thomas, Rachel TalbotRachel Talbot, Steven Reed, Jo BarnesJo Barnes, Nicola Christie
In the UK and other countries cyclists are the only group of road users with increasing fatalities and cyclist protection has become a high priority both to reduce the risks of cycling and the perception of risks amongst cyclists. The objective of this study is to apply a systems approach to a causation analysis of fatal crashes in order to identify key risk factors and countermeasures associated with all vehicles involved, the infrastructure, road users and road safety management. The paper presents an analysis of fatal cyclist collisions that took place in London in the years 2007 to 2011. Case materials included police reports, witness statements, vehicle inspections, scene plans and photographs, collision reconstructions, post-mortem and other medical reports. The sample comprised a total of 53 fatal cyclist collisions that occurred during the five year period. The most common collision type resulting in a fatal cyclist was an impact with a large vehicle >3.5T including 27 lorries and 3 buses. The most common manoeuvre involved the large vehicle turning left resulting in a low speed interaction with the cyclist. Generally impacts occurred to the front left side or left front side of the truck (24 cases, 89%). Insufficient direct vision of the cyclist was a factor in all of these cases with additional risks associated with driver attention and mirror limitations. The availability of Class V side and Class VI front mirrors did not prevent all fatalities. 12 (45%) of the lorries were equipped with side guards while 11 were exempt, however all of the fatally injured cyclists were on the ground before any side-guard interaction could have occurred and side guards were not seen to be effective in this sample.


The authors acknowledge the financial support of TfL to conduct the project and the organisational support of the Metropolitan Police Service of London in providing access to the fatal accident reports.



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THOMAS, P. ...et al., 2015. Fatal urban cyclist collisions with lorries: an in depth study of causation factors and countermeasures using a system-based approach. IN: 24th International Technical Conference on the Enhanced Safety of Vehicles (ESV) Gothenburg, Sweden, June 8-11, paper no. 15-0169.


National Highway Traffic Safety Administration


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This work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

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This is a conference paper.




Gothenburg, Sweden

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