Road safety awareness needs to improve before the trend that has seen fatalities and accidents among cyclists rise in recent years can be reversed, says the Freight Transport Association (FTA).
Last year, FTA worked with Transport for London on the London Cycle Campaign to promote cycle awareness and the use of fresnel lenses which, when used in addition to HGV side mirrors, can significantly reduce blindspots. However, there is much more work to be done.
Jo Tanner of the FTA said:
"FTA has worked with safety campaigners, police and Transport for London to improve road safety for everyone, whether they’re riding a bike or driving an HGV. This work is on-going – and gaining in importance – as the recession, and hopefully the weather, encourages people to take to two wheels over the summer."
Heavy Goods Vehicle (HGV) drivers are highly trained and the logistics industry itself spends many millions of pounds a year making sure its vehicles are safe and compliant. However, because of their size alone, lorries should be given extra consideration by other road users, especially from those that are most vulnerable.
"Blame is often apportioned to trucks because of their sheer size and, by and large, UK industry has responded by making sure its drivers are the best in Europe and that its vehicles are as safe as possible. However, part of safety is about understanding the rules of the road and we feel that cyclists must play a more active role in this to improve their own safety.
"We are not abdicating our responsibilities, but if more cyclists understood the risks of undertaking on the nearside of an HGV, or that lorries have blindspots, then lives would be saved, especially in built up areas like London where there is a much higher density of cycle couriers and commuters."