RHA position on cyclists 30th June 2011
“Don’t hide on the inside”
HGV drivers are trained to pay attention to what other road users are doing around them, and particularly on their nearside when turning corners or coming off roundabouts. Improved mirrors have helped them in this regard.
The Department for Transport’s recently-published road safety policy framework highlights the need of other road users to understand how trucks manoeuvre and we welcome that – it is a point on which our members feel strongly and about which we have been lobbying the DfT. The need is particularly strong in respect of cyclists.
The key message to cyclists is to be careful around trucks. Particularly, avoid “nipping up the inside” of an HGV, particularly where it may be turning left. It seems that such manoeuvres by cyclists are sometimes part of deliberate risk-taking and sometimes because the cyclist is unaware of the risks. But it is dangerous cycling and stressful for professional drivers who look out for such dangers as part of their job.
Because of the wheelbase of the truck, there is significant “cut-in” - even with relatively short HGVs – and that is shown in the Highway Code (para 196). Note that HGVs will usually move out to the right first and then swing close to the kerb as they turn left.
As far as sensors are concerned, we have a number of concerns. Mirrors, cameras and sensors and the best training in the world will not prevent accidents when cyclists take excessive risk. The same is true if the HGV driver is being irresponsible; in one of the London fatalities, the truck driver was a) over the blood alcohol level and b) on his mobile phone at the time of the accident.
We are concerned also about excessive reliance on technology and that overloading the driver with information points in a way that could be seriously counter-productive.
RHA infrastructure manager Chrys Rampley sits on Transport for London’s Cycle Risk Group and we have been analysing data to try and better understand the causes of accidents and what further action, including awareness, is needed.
Meanwhile, we are working to maintain the industry’s already high awareness of the risks. I have attached a copy of a sticker that is now available and RHA Training includes cyclist awareness in its driver refresher courses.