Thursday, November 19, 2015

Freight Group Encourages Cyclists to Change Places with Road Haulage Drivers Again

Continuing Police Programme Boosted During Road Safety Week
Shipping News Feature
UK – As car and road haulage drivers travelling along one of London’s most iconic roads beat their dashboards and curse under their breath in frustration, comes a further chance for cyclists to exchange places with truck drivers as part of National Road Safety Week (23-29 November 2015). The Freight Transport Association (FTA) will be joining the road safety charity Brake and the Metropolitan Police at the launch of the annual event on Monday 23 November where an Exchanging Places exercise will be taking place at Horse Guards Parade, London, to give cyclists the chance to see the road from the driver’s seat of a large goods vehicle.

The delays currently experienced along Upper Thames Street between Northumberland Avenue and Tower Hill are due to the continuing construction of the East-West Cycle Superhighway which will eventually stretch to Lancaster Gate, as part of the capital’s Road Modernisation Plan. Unfortunately this means single contraflow in each direction along the way to and from the Embankment proper. One hopes that the finished item will perform well and not act as a permanent bottleneck.

The FTA is fully supporting the 2015 Road Safety Week which is the UK's biggest road safety event, involving thousands of schools, organisations and community groups every year. Set up in 1997, the event is coordinated annually by Brake and aims to encourage grassroots action on road safety, raising awareness about the part we can all play in preventing tragedies and making roads safer. Christopher Snelling, the FTA’s Head of National and Regional Policy, said:

“We are pleased to support this excellent initiative. Our aim is for everyone to be able to share the road safely. FTA members are investing in technology, driver training and improved vehicles to continue to improve our performance on road safety. Providing vehicles for events such as these is part of that work, reaching out to the communities that we work in.”

The FTA’s involvement in attempting to protect cyclists extends to offering a selection of cycle safety products which are available through its on line shop. Commenting on the importance of promoting road safety in the community, school and workplace, Brake’s campaigns assistant Greg Marah said:

“This year’s Road Safety Week theme of ‘drive less, live more’ makes clear the link between improving road safety, preventing casualties, protecting people and the planet, and our choice of transport. Our main aim through this November’s Road Safety Week is to help people consider the travel options which are open to them and better understand the benefits of driving less, to road safety, health, personal finances, communities and the planet.

“Road Safety Week has become the most crucial fixture in our calendar for raising public awareness of road safety, and it has also become important for many educators, road safety professionals and employers around the country too, as they spread the word of road safety to the wider community. We believe this year’s theme is a critical one for all of us, providing a chance to show how road safety is a bigger issue than many people think.”

As we have reported previously the Met Police set up ‘Exchanging Places’ events to raise awareness of cycle safety, where people sit in the driver's seat of an HGV or bus to get a better understanding of what the driver can and can’t see, especially with regard to cyclists on the nearside or directly in front of the vehicle. More than 18,000 cyclists have already taken part in the scheme, with 97% saying they will change their riding style as a result and 99% offering to recommend it to a friend. A full list of events is regularly updated on the website. The Met’s Chief Superintendent Paul Rickett said:

“The Metropolitan Police is proud to support Brake's annual Road Safety Week and delighted to host the national launch. The Met's Roads and Transport Policing Command is the largest policing command in the UK and is dedicated to reducing road traffic casualties. Every week, our work involves enforcing standards of driving and riding by all classes of road user.

“Our innovative Operation Safeway provides a highly visible presence on our streets to improve road safety. The Cycle Safety Team is the UK's first roads policing team on full-time cycle patrol and runs our award-winning Exchanging Places programme. The Motorcycle Safety Team conducts enforcement and offers the BikeSafe programme to motorcyclists and scooter riders.

“Our Commercial Vehicle Units target non-compliant companies operating the most dangerous vehicles. Together, we are resolutely focused on the safety of our most vulnerable road users - cyclists, pedestrians, motorcyclists and horse riders.”

Photo: Upper Thames Street with roadworks visible.