A male model who was nearly killed by a HGV as he rode a Boris bike today called for the hire cycles to be fitted with safety sensors to alert drivers to their presence.
Dag Lindberg, 25, suffered 14 broken ribs, a crushed hip and pelvis, a broken collar bone and internal bleeding to the liver and spleen when the left-turning lorry ran over him in Grays Inn Road on April 19 last year.
Now he is backing a new blind-spot safety system, Cycle Alert, which emits an audible warning in the driver’s cab if it gets within 2.5 metres of a bike fitted with a sensor. The firm that makes the devices has offered to fit them free to all 10,000 of the Mayor’s hire bikes.
Mr Lindberg, from Old Street, was flown by London’s Air Ambulance to the Royal London hospital for life-saving surgery. He spent two months in hospital and many more in a wheelchair. He said he would never ride a bike again in London until the roads are segregated, and is unlikely to ever model again.
My body and my life has been changed drastically,” he said. “I will be marked physically and mentally for life.
HGV driver Anthony Farmer, 44, from Dagenham, was convicted at Highbury Corner magistrates’ court in January of careless driving. He was banned from driving for six months and fined £620.
The hire bikes, introduced by the Mayor in 2010, have a good safety record. Only one rider, French student Philippine de Gerin Ricard, has been killed. But Mr Lindberg said: “Boris bikes should come with warning signs, like those found on cigarettes.”
Mr Lindberg, who also wants the devices fitted to London buses, said: “I think the mentality on the roads is very aggressive. Both cyclists and drivers need to change their attitude towards each other. There needs to be a mutual understanding on the road.
“Cycle Alert would have saved my accident from happening. Most accidents like mine are due to a lorry turning left. The way I see it is this product might save other lives.
“I think people need to understand the impact of these accidents. I was awake during the entire thing. For some reason my brain doesn’t have the capacity for blacking out. I remember every single bone in my body breaking, and the aftermath. I was still awake when the helicopter was flying over me. Then they put me in a coma.
“Nearly 16 months on, I’m still in recovery. You really need to put so much effort into healing yourself.”
Cycle Alert comprises a tag on the bike, a sensor on the vehicle and a cab display unit. Its backers say this is superior to other warning systems as the bike tag prevents the system from being activated by items of road furniture. The system is being trialled at Elephant and Castle.
A TfL spokesman said it did not believe “tag and beacon” technology was the best way to improve safety as every cycle and vehicle had to be fitted with the devices.
Instead TfL is trialling a camera system on buses called Cycle Eye that can alert drivers to cyclists – and also pedestrians. It could also be used on HGVs.