Excessive speed is often a major factor in road traffic collisions. The chance of survival for a pedestrian hit by a car increases from 10% if the vehicle is travelling at 40mph to 90% if it's doing 20mph. But what are the implications for transport operators if their drivers regularly speed or cause an accident while breaking the speed limit?
Cost is one area to explore - travelling at 80mph can use up to 25% more fuel than driving at 70mph. Speeding due to the pressure of work causes driving stress and this can lead to employees being off work, either through illness or because of an road accident so effective driver management is important.
Technology can play a big part. Vans can be limited so that exceeding the speed limit is not possible, and telematics can be used to monitor and manage a driver's performance. And perhaps there's an argument for vehicles to be limited by default when they come off the production line… After all, what other piece of industrial equipment is sold equipped to break the law?
Financial penalties for speeding have recently increased and drivers could find themselves with big fines relating to their weekly earnings as a consequence. Business owners who turn a blind eye to speeding are also at risk under Health and Safety at Work legislation. New sentencing guidelines put greater emphasis on the culpability of senior managers and owners. An evidence of speed can be gathered from management systems on modern vans, even when no telematics are fitted.
A baby grand piano descends through the air against the backdrop of an ominous grey sky. Two male boxers square up to one another inside the ring of a dimly lit studio gym. Two rams prepare to dual at the cliff edge of a snowy mountain top as the title credit reads: Things you shouldn’t get caught between.
This is the opening sequence to the new THINK! cycle safety campaign. But what does a piano, boxing and rams have to do with cycle safety you might ask? Well, nothing really. It’s what they represent that’s important: the moment before impact, being caught between two things – a place you don’t want to be.
This is the simple idea behind our cycle safety campaign. We want to remind cyclists of the dangers of getting between a lorry and a left hand turn – the area where one third of collisions between cyclists and lorries happen. Our advice to cyclists is ‘Don’t get between a lorry and a left hand turn. Hang back’.
In the last 5 years, 104 cyclists have been killed in accidents involving an HGV. Startlingly, this accounts for nearly 20% of all cycling fatalities – revealing that HGVs present one of the largest dangers to cyclists on the road. Better mirrors, proximity sensors and blind spot cameras are making driving safer, but technology improvements will never replace the judgement and expertise of you – the driver – behind the wheel.
Taking a proactive approach to improving the safety of everyone on the roads – beyond regulation requirements – is high on the agenda for the freight and haulage industry. Safe driving practices are an integral part of your professional development. Looking out for vulnerable road users is second nature to you. You might be ‘tyred’ (pun intended) of the hearing the same message, but THINK! is all about encouraging each and every one of us to think about our behaviour on the roads.
You know the drill. You know to check your vehicle before you set off. You know what to look out for in your mirrors. You know that you should never overtake a cyclist on the approach to a junction. You know to pull up behind cyclists at a junction rather than alongside them. And you know to give them space when you overtake. But knowing and doing – each and every single time – are two very different things.
So next time you’re out on the road and you see a junction approaching, take extra time to look out for cyclists. Being attuned (get it?!) to the risk of pianos falling from the sky is not something that drivers need to be aware of, but as the number of cyclists on the road increase, being vigilant to the movements of riders at junctions is the only way to avoid the potential devastating consequences of a collision. THINK! Take extra time to look out for cyclists.
(The views and opinions expressed by the authors of these blogs are theirs alone, and do not necessarily reflect those of the Freight Transport Association)
Michael Howlett blogs for FTA on HGV Awareness Training this weekend...
As part of the Samsung Bike Week 2012, Hydro Cleansing’s Steve Hoad is getting behind the HGV Awareness Training for cyclists by holding demonstrations on cycle safety tomorrow between 10am and 3pm. He will be volunteering his time, alongside Megatron’s, at North End, Croydon.
The event is in relation to Hydro Cleansing's recent involvement with the London Fit for Cycling Mayoral Hustings and as part of the biggest nationwide cycling event in the UK. Hydro Cleansing is a member of FTA and is working hard to raise awareness for hgv drivers and cyclists alike. Tomorrow is being run in association with the Metropolitan Police task force, which will be on hand throughout the day to spread awareness and educate those who are keen to learn more about making a switch to cycling for their everyday journeys.
Security tagging of bikes and other attractions will also be a feature on the day.
Working together to both inform drivers and cyclists, our belief is that both can work together in harmony, especially on the roads in and around the capital. Our aim is to spread Hydro Cleansing’s knowledge and understanding on how cycling can easily become part of everyday life and to ensure the safety of all road users. Our fleet of hgvs are all Crossrail Cycle Compliant and in line with the Mayor of London’s Cycle Action Plan have been fitted with Fresnei lenses, side scan equipment, under run guards, warning signs for cyclists/pedestrians and Brigade reversing alarms which all ensure cyclist safety.
For more information about attending the event tomorrow, visit the Samsung Bike Week 2012 website.