Remember when you were a kid and Firemen came to your school, let you wear their hats and pretend to ride in their fire engines? That is how excited I was when I heard about 'Exchanging Places'. Run by the TFL sponsored cycle unit 'C015 Traffic' these events offer cyclists a chance to sit up in a HGV to see the drivers view of the road.
|None of the PCs wanted to try on my hat.|
I sat in the driver's seat next to PC John Waltors as he talked me through the legally required mirrors. Not only did the HGV feel much bigger than I imagined but I also felt really far away from the road.
|I can just see the heads of the PCs. On a bike you are much lower and out of sight. See.|
|These are the all the mirrors that should be fitted to all HGVs.|
At this point I was scolded for my vanity and urged to get over my high-vis issues. Apparently a few reflective strips on a navy polka dot coat may not be enough as HGV drivers often expect cyclists to be in high-vis jackets. "If you want to be seen as a cyclist you should dress like one" I heard as I hung my head in shame.
|My bike in a blind spot.|
Meanwhile, PC MacDonald had my bike upside down registering it and reassuring me that it wasn't the dirtiest he had seen today. Liar.
I highly recommend everyone attends one of these events around London. It has given me a different perspective and showed me ways to make sure I am seen.
Also, my bike is now marked. If it gets stolen these guys will hunt you down.
Pictures by Jude Brosnan.