LGV drivers and cyclists switched places recently in a road safety programme designed to demonstrate each other’s perspective from the road.
In the UK, 16 per cent of cyclist deaths are caused by drivers of large goods vehicles (LGVs), according to government figures.
Three-quarters of LGV mileage is racked up on non-built up roads, but over the past three years, these vehicles have been involved in 70 per cent of cyclist fatalities in London. This despite making up only four per cent of the capital’s road miles.
Ford’s transport operations team has partnered with the London Cycling Campaign to tackle this disproportionate ratio as part of Road Safety Week (November 19-25th).
In the LGV, the focus was on the vision of the driver and situations where a cyclist is and is not visible to the driver. There was also an element of concentration on keeping the appropriate two-metre distance when passing a cyclist and ensuring LGV drivers do not enter ‘bike boxes’.
When cycling, the focus turned to road position, with a stress on understanding why cyclists may be riding centrally in the road to avoid potholes or ‘dooring’ from a parked vehicle, especially on a narrow street.
Ashok Sinha, chief executive of the London Cycling Campaign, said his organisation was working with TfL and industry to help new lorry designs with fewer blind spots become the norm.
He commented: “Even then, it remains important that LGV drivers and cyclists take simple steps to put themselves in each other’s shoes and help avoid collisions.”
Andrew Main, a driver trainer from Ford’s transport operations team, agreed that swapping perspectives was insightful.
“A greater understanding of the reasons behind cyclists’ actions is very helpful for an LGV driver as we decide on how to approach certain situations,” he said.
Heather Stark, brand manager at The Fuelcard People, added: “LGVs are disproportionately involved in cycling fatalities so programmes that make the effort to must understand why should be applauded.”