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Putting the Spoke Into Cyclists Blamed For Collisions With HGVS

Cyclists on a busy road
13th September 2013

Recycling “it’s all the cyclist’s fault” myth – isn’t it time that we put the brakes on that one for good? In an act of remarkably bad timing, the Freight Transport Association (FTA) issued a statement, in which the blame was placed on cyclists for the deaths and injuries they suffer in collisions with lorries on the same day a young female cyclist was killed in collision with a lorry, and as the Department of Transport announced that lorry drivers in London are to be fined £200 if their vehicles are not fitted with basic safety equipment.

Changing awareness and attitude

Just when we thought that a new “inclusive” road safety culture was finally to be ushered in by the government’s £77 million road cycling infrastructure investment about to be rolled out across Britain. Changing car and lorry driver awareness and attitudes towards other road users has always been at the centre of transforming cycling safety and reducing bike accident claims. Ultimately, the cycling community know that only a complete segregation of cyclist from vehicle on separate cycle routes will prevent needless collisions and tragic fatalities. 

According to The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), most collisions involving cyclists and other vehicle drivers tend to involve HGV lorry drivers, especially  in built-up areas where the HGV is either  overtaking or more frequently, turning left across the path of the cyclist. While HGVs account for just 5 per cent of traffic on the roads they cause 16 per cent of cyclist deaths and together, lorries and vans are responsible for 26 per cent of all cyclist fatalities.

High number of cyclists killed by lorries

Transport for London (TfL) has also repeatedly reported  that drivers working in the construction industry were responsible for “the disproportionately high number of cyclists killed by its lorries”. In 2012, cycling deaths hit a five-year high, with 122 killed on Britain’s roads and cycling injuries increased by 4 per cent to 3,222 for the eighth consecutive year. 

The introduction of fines for lorries who fail to install safety equipment and increase driver awareness of a cyclist in close proximity is in response to the fatal risk they have consistently posed to cyclists when manoeuvering at  junctions and road entrances.

Cyclist-awareness training for lorry drivers

Further evidence pointing to lorry driver culpability in a cyclist accident is provided when in April 2013, Lambeth became the latest of a number of London councils to sign up to the ‘Safer Lorries, Safer Cycling’ initiative. The stated aim is to provide cyclist-awareness training for all lorry drivers by the riding of bicycles themselves on the road so they can better understand the dangers, which make cyclists vulnerable to accidents and injury. 

Maybe the scheme might be of help to the Freight Transport Association, too?