Women cyclists are more likely to be killed by lorries than men because they obey red lights and then wait in drivers’ blind spots.
Research by Transport for London, which has been kept secret since last July, suggests that cyclists who jump red lights may be safer than those who stick to the law.
According to the study, 86 per cent of women cyclists killed in London between 1999 and 2004 were in collision with a lorry. This compares with 47 per cent for men.
Since the report was completed the death rate among women cyclists has risen further. Last month two were killed in accidents with lorries within 24 hours of one another.
Amelia Zollner, 24, a Cambridge graduate working at the Institute for Public Policy Research, had stopped at traffic lights in Russell Square and was killed when a lorry pulled away after the lights turned green.
Rosie Wright, 26, who worked nearby at the School of Oriental and African Studies, died in similar circumstances the next day. A TfL spokesman said the study had not been published because it was “produced solely to inform TfL policies”.
In my experience as a rush hour cyclist in central London, I find the extra standing start acceleration of my eZee Sprint or, more recently, my Torq, gets me out of harm’s way more rapidly and decisively than would ever be possible on a regular bicycle. Electric assistance allows the rider to move with the flow of motorised traffic, rather than becoming an obstacle or a hindrance to other road users.
I venture that in time it will become clear that the latest generation of electrically assisted pedal cycles are safer to ride in congested cities than traditional bicycles. After all, cyclists only jump red lights because it takes so long to get back up to speed from a standing start. Electric cyclists can afford the luxury of stopping and obeying the Highway Code because there’s much less of a physical penalty for doing so.