Monday, October 28, 2013

Cyclist Safety and Truck Emissions Go Hand in Hand Says Freight Group

EU Commission to Take Account of Other Road Users When Considering HGV Design
Shipping News Feature

UK – EUROPE – Frustration from the Freight Transport Association (FTA) this week as the organisation has complained that, whilst its members who operate road haulage fleets are spending hundreds of thousands of pounds retrofitting existing equipment to improve visibility in order to lessen the danger to cyclists, the pace of change from the relevant authorities to allow better designed HGV’s has been lamentably slow. Safety and aerodynamics are two key areas which the FTA say could be better served if regulatory barriers to their development were removed.

Last week an FTA representative participated in a meeting of the European Commission’s working group looking to amend Directive 96/53. Those taking part also included vehicle manufacturers, the UK Government, other member states, other voices from the freight industry and Transport for London (TfL). Christopher Snelling, FTA Head of Urban Logistics & Regional Policy said:

“The best way to truly eliminate blind spots in HGVs is to design them out. FTA is fully supportive and engaged in the discussions taking place with the European Commission. Manufacturers want to produce vehicles they can sell into the entire European market, not just the UK, so it’s right that this issue is being examined in Brussels.

“If the Brussels based institutions do not prioritise this initiative, or tie it in with other measures so that its introduction is delayed, a huge opportunity to radically improve safety on our roads in the most efficient fashion will be missed.” 

Improvements to both driver visibility and aerodynamics are subjects we have touched on many times before. The extension of under skirts for example is a tactic which can both improve fuel consumption and act as a safety aid for cyclists, and fitting these, plus the installation of camera systems, are typical of the way these problems are currently dealt with, but such is the danger to cyclists and the need for reduced emissions that the mandate of the EU group has now been amended to take account of other road users and what can be achieved at the design stage.