Croydon Council have launched a cycle awareness campaign. The press release reads: ‘From 14 October, campaign banners will be displayed on lampposts, a promotional trailer will be driven around the borough, and stickers and posters will be sent to local business, and placed on vans and lorries.’
Marvellous. What do the posters say?
‘STAY BEHIND. I CAN’T SEE CYCLISTS,’ (shouts the personified lorry).
‘Be aware of large vehicles,’ (reminds the Croydon Council bureaucrat).
There is a glut of them at the interchange of Beulah Hill, Church Road and South Norwood Hill, south-west of Crystal Palace, roughly midway on my almost-daily commute. The English teacher in me bristles at the rhetoric.
Does stating the obvious count as a safety message?
What cyclist is not aware that lorries (because that is what it is in the picture) do not, cannot or will not see cyclists in their mirrors or otherwise?
Even more incredulously, what cyclist is not aware of large vehicles? As they thunder past my right shoulder, alarmingly close, and I gaze into their monstrous spinning wheels, I am explicitly aware of large vehicles. I worry about them a lot.
The message is the wrong way round. It is the lorry or bus driver that needs to be reminded of the presence (and, admittedly at times, the stupidity) of cyclists, who – after the jaywalking or legitimately crossing pedestrian – are the most vulnerable road users.
‘I am very aware of you, large vehicle, particularly following a Croydon Council poster campaign,’ I shall say next time a juggernaut jangles my nerves and rattles my teeth. Because that will help road safety.