Thursday, January 29, 2015

Redoubled Efforts to Keep Cyclists Safe from HGVs in London

New Truck Donated to Police Whilst Registered FORS Operators Get a Free Toolkit
Shipping News Feature

UK – More than two years ago the Metropolitan Police launched its award winning ‘Exchanging Places’ programme to educate both HGV drivers and their fellow road using cyclists, giving both the chance to appreciate the problems faced by the other. An essential tool in the programme is a suitable commercial vehicle and, thanks to the generous support of Mercedes-Benz and the continued funding from Transport for London (TfL) a new Actros truck supplied by Sparshatts of Kent, will cost the Police service only the fuel needed in the course of the programme.

Exchanging Places addresses the most common cause of serious injury and death to cyclists, collisions involving a heavy goods vehicle (HGV). The programme gives cyclists the opportunity to sit in the driver’s seat of an HGV to see for themselves how difficult it can be to see a cyclist riding close to the truck. Experienced traffic police officers explain how this type of collision often happens, and talk through several ways of avoiding them. The link to the site also carries an update showing the dates of events around the capital.

More than 15,000 cyclists have taken part in the programme since 2007, run by the Cycle Safety Team, part of the MPS Roads and Transport Policing Command (RTPC). Due to the phenomenal and growing success of the programme, there was a need for a dedicated vehicle in addition to the vehicles donated to the programme from a number of hauliers who support the project. Mercedes-Benz were the winning bidder after manufacturers were invited to bid for the provision of a suitable vehicle on a one-year lease. Police Sergeant Simon Castle, Roads and Transport Policing Command, said:

"We are grateful to Mercedes-Benz and Sparshatts of Kent for supplying us with this vehicle, which is perfect for our Exchanging Places programme. The feedback from these events is overwhelmingly positive with 97% of cyclists saying they would change their riding as a result of sitting in the driver’s seat, and 99% would recommend it to a friend. I urge cyclists to watch the Exchanging Places film on the MPS Youtube website and also arrange to attend an Exchanging Places event. It is invaluable and a potential life saver."

For road haulage operators who are members of the Fleet Operators Recognition Scheme (FORS) - which will soon be managed by AECOM, the Chartered Institute fo Logistics and Transport (CILT), and Fleet Source, after the TfL found that the operation had grown beyond its remit - there are once again stocks of the ‘cycle safety toolkit’ which are available free of charge to FORS operators. The toolkit offers practical advice to help minimise the risk of collisions between vehicles and vulnerable road users, such as cyclists and pedestrians, motorcycle and scooter riders, older and disabled people.

The toolkit includes a guide for fleet managers, a copy of the ‘Sharing London's roads’ booklet, six posters highlighting safety tips for drivers and a driver briefing and record sheet. Registered FORS operators can the toolkit can be obtained here. Alternatively, the toolkit is available electronically and can be downloaded from FORS online (posters can be ordered separately via the link).

Photo: The new Actros in its Police livery.