The latest issue of Commercial Motor magazine features a crushed bicycle on the cover, with the headline: "Our driver killed a cyclist! Read our tragic real-life story."
In a plug for the December 5th issue, Commercial Motor said: "In this issue, Wimbledon-based ELB Partners tells CM the tragic story of how one of their drivers was involved in a fatal collision with a cyclist."
The magazine piece shows the incident in question, which happened in 2011, was traumatic for the haulage firm. The driver concerned packed in his job and later died. ELB Partners told Commercial Motor it takes driver training seriously.
However, videos posted to YouTube by cyclists show ELB Partners drivers running red lights and driving extremely close to cyclists before illegally using bus lanes.
On Twitter, Chris Druce, deputy news editor at Road Transport Media, publisher of Commercial Motor and Motor Transport magazines said: "I’ll send this on to the firm. They will genuinely be interested in seeing it."
The cyclist who filmed one of the ELB transgressions said: "They’ve seen it. Met police brought it to their attention and when I asked them about training, ELB closed their twitter account."
Beneath the banner headline about the death of a cyclist on Commercial Motor, a coverline said: "Vote Labour: it will cost you £2,200 per truck." This is a reference to a magazine story pouring scorn on Labour’s new ‘HGV safety charter’ which, if Labour came to power, would force HGV operators to fit safety equipment to better protect cyclists and pedestrians. HGVs have extensive blind-spots.
The weekly magazine adds: "Labour’s HGV Safety Charter wins few friends. Labour’s voluntary charter calls for nine different pieces of safety equipment for every UK LGV to be introduced by June 2014 (alongside sidebars, blind spot elimination devices and audible warnings by December 2017)…CM technical editor David Wilcox has calculated the cost of the equipment at a minimum £2,200 per truck, and more for tippers where it isn’t already fitted."
Commercial Motor is currently offering a £12 subscription deal which has this as the first selling point: "Would you know what to do if one of your drivers struck a cyclist?"
Commercial Motor was first published in 1905.
The incident featured in the Commercial Motors articles was the death of student Eleanor Carey.
She was killed at the junction of Tower Bridge Road and Abbey Street, Bermondsey, in December 2011.
The piece in Commercial Motors quotes ELB Partners’ managing director, Peter Eason, who said ELB’s driver David Johnson, aged 31 at the time, "was in a terrible state." Eason said he "was in tears and screaming, ‘I’ve just killed a girl’.
‘He didn’t actually know he’d done it when he had the accident. He thought he’d clipped the [kerb] and pulled a wheel arch off.
“So he pulled over to inspect the vehicle and some chap came running up to him and said ‘you’ve just run over a cyclist.’”
Johnson died from stomach cancer earlier this year, with ELB Partners transport manager Mark Norman saying "the stress he was going through played a massive part in [his death].”
Eason told Commercial Motor that had considered leaving the haulage business.
“I was absolutely distraught. She was 22, the same age as my daughters. It’s your worst nightmare.”
But, he added: “I had 70 mortgages to pay and a responsibility to my staff – 70 mortgages to look after.”
ELB Partner’s 30 trucks feature equipment such as CCTV, side bars, warning stickers and blind spot mirrors. Audible warnings stating “caution truck turning left” are also being rolled out across the fleet, Eason told Commercial Motor.
“None of this is mandatory,” said Eason.
He told the weekly magazine: “I’m not against cyclists, I am a cyclist myself as well as a motorcyclist and we have to learn to live together. However, training would be top of my list for cyclists.”
Commercial Motor’s website has a poll, seeking votes from site visitors. The poll questions include:
Do you feel the national and local media is biased against trucks in its reporting of accidents involving trucks and cyclists?
Do you feel the government is right to promote cycling without appropriate safeguards in place? For example compulsory training for cyclists, physical segregation of cyclists from other road users.
Which of the following methods should be used to reduce risks for cyclists on roads?
– Physical segregation of cyclists from other road users
– More training for cyclists on large vehicle blind spots
– More training for drivers
– Proper enforcement (including fines) of cyclists ignoring the rules of the road
– Mandatory fitment of safety equipment to vehicles
– Voluntary fitment of safety equipment to vehicles
– Redesign junctions to be safer
– Ban cyclists from the rush hour period
– Ban trucks from the rush hour period
Hat-tip: Neil Deee