Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Road Haulage Test Outlines Dangers to Cyclists from HGVs

Mutual Respect is the Key to Less Accidents
Shipping News Feature

UK – According to a recent survey undertaken by Crossrail, 99% of cyclists intend to change their cycling habits after getting behind the wheel of an HGV at an ‘Exchanging Places’ event at the London Bike Show. More than 850 cyclists took part in ‘Exchanging Places’ run by Crossrail and the Metropolitan Police Service, which allows them to see the road from a lorry driver’s point of view. The event allowed cyclists to get a better understanding of what drivers can and cannot see. Most were unaware of the size of blind spots from inside the driver’s cab. Chief Superintendent Sultan Taylor, Safer Transport Command said:

“Exchanging Places is an award-winning programme which addresses the most common cause of serious injury and death to cyclists, collisions involving a heavy goods vehicle. We’re very grateful to Crossrail and to the London Bike Show for giving us the opportunity to speak to many people and pass on our tips. Our feedback shows that everyone who took part will recommend our programme to their friends, that’s a great endorsement. I’d encourage anyone who couldn’t make it to the show to watch our YouTube video.”

The Mayor of London recently announced that lorries without safety equipment to protect cyclists and pedestrians will be banned from London, a move which has left many in freight and road haulage unhappy as they would prefer a targeted approach instead of the proposed blanket ban which will require every vehicle in London over 3.5 tonnes to be fitted with sideguards to protect cyclists. The ban will also require the vehicles to be fitted with mirrors giving the driver a better view of cyclists and pedestrians around their vehicles. It will be enforced by CCTV cameras and on-street checks. Steve Hails, Health and Safety Director at Crossrail, said:

“The Exchanging Places programme is an important way of engaging with cyclists to raise awareness of the hazards when sharing the roads with HGVs. These events complement Crossrail’s Lorry Driver Training Programme which also ensures that drivers on the project are aware of vulnerable road users.”

Many of the fatal accidents in the past few years have involved cyclists killed by tipper trucks and other construction related heavy goods traffic and Crossrail have endeavoured to inform cyclists of the dangers whenever possible, efforts which it seems are well worthwhile considering out of 852 cyclist surveyed on this occasion, when asked ‘Will you change your riding as a result’ 850 responded ‘Yes’ whilst only two responded ‘No’.