Road safety is always a hot topic for haulage drivers, with many of them concerned by the difficulties and dangers created by the increase in cyclists on busy city streets.
Raising awareness amongst cyclists of the dangerous ‘blind spots’ which drivers have to deal with (particularly on the left side of a truck) is the best way to ensure that accidents don’t happen. Thankfully, it is this issue which the Department of Transport has put at the heart of its latest campaign.
The advice of the latest Think! road safety campaign is for cyclists to hang back at junctions if a lorry or truck is present, to avoid a collision if the vehicle turns left.
Research has shown that while cyclists believe the front, left side of a HGV vehicle is a ‘safe’ position to be, it is actually a dangerous location and one where a large number of collisions take place. Statistics show that a third of crashes occur when cyclists put themselves in this position when a HGV vehicle is turning left.
The government advice is for cyclists to be aware that this front left position is a potential ‘blind spot’ for many HGV drivers and that they should avoid it by hanging back in traffic, particularly at a junction where the vehicle might be turning left.
For optimum road safety, it has always been important that drivers and cyclists work together to understand, and therefore minimise, the dangers. This latest Think! campaign has, therefore, been welcomed by the Freight Transport Association (FTA) for encouraging cyclists to do their part in avoiding this known danger spot.
Christopher Snelling, head of national and regional policy at the FTA, said: “This DfT campaign highlights one of the key danger zones – the blind spot at the front left of a HGV. New design innovations such as transparent cab doors all have a part to play in improving safety in the long term, but increased awareness can have immediate impact.”
The Think! Campaign
The campaign by the DfT promises to do what it can to improve road safety, particularly on busy city streets. Running until the end of this month, it will include a series of dramatic videos, online films and posters to raise awareness amongst cyclists and drivers of this particularly hazardous zone on the left front side of large vehicles.
With most accidents happening on crowded city streets, the DfT has chosen to focus this campaign in and around London and Manchester. As these two cities have the highest number of collisions, it was considered important to centre the campaign in these locations.
The on-going work of the DfT to improve the awareness of cyclists of the challenges HGV drivers encounter can only help to establish greater road safety in the future.
Norman Dulwich is a Correspondent for Haulage Exchange, the leading online trade network for the road transport industry. Connecting professionals across the UK and Europe through their website, Haulage Exchange provides a valuable service, updating members with the latest information on issues affecting road safety and other news from the industry. Matching delivery work with available vehicles, over 4,000 transport exchange businesses are networked together through their website, trading jobs and capacity in a safe 'wholesale' environment.