Article date: 21 April 2008
Large vehicle operators should take action to stop further increases in cyclist injuries and fatalities, according to Norwich Union.
Retrofitting close proximity mirrors to large goods vehicles (LGV) - which eliminate lorry driver blindspots - should be a priority, though not required by law until 2009.
Mike Smith, commercial motor technical manager for Norwich Union, says: "Every year in the UK over 15,000 cyclists are killed or injured in reported road accidents1, with trucks posing a significant threat to their safety.
"Apart from the moral obligation to more vulnerable road users, killing or injuring cyclists can seriously damage truck companies' reputations, leading to prosecutions and even driver absence due to the stress of an accident.
"The mirrors help to improve the exterior field of vision to the side, front and rear of LGVs - allowing the driver to see other road users and thus reducing the risk of a collision.
"The EU wide requirement affects vehicles over 3.5 tonnes, and according to the department for transport, affects over five million commercial vehicles across Europe.2
"Drivers and fleet managers alike should be looking at upgrading the type of mirrors that are fitted to their LGVs now in an effort to reduce the risk of a collision with any other road users."
Smith adds: "With some cities, especially London, encouraging more people to opt for cycling to reduce carbon emissions and to improve fitness, more cyclists are expected on Britain's roads, and LGV drivers face the ever increasing risk of a collision.
"Although it is imperative for these mirrors to be fitted, necessary risk management measures should be carried out by the driver. Norwich Union recommends the following best practices to minimise collisions with vulnerable road users."
- Ensure mirrors are free from damage and properly adjusted at all times
- Avoid placing obstructions in the window area that may obscure vision and block mirror views
- Respect cycle lanes and advance stop lines
- Always allow cyclists plenty of room when overtaking - never overtake and then turn left shortly afterwards
- Signal well in advance when approaching a junction
- Remain alert and keep checking for cyclists while stationary at a junction, then check again before moving off.
"If drivers and fleet managers breach their duty of care requirements towards cyclists, safety procedures could be the focus of an investigation by the police and/or the Health and Safety Executive should a serious accident occur. The company could also be prosecuted under the Corporate Manslaughter Act 2007 if a fatality was to happen."
For further information, please contact:
Sam Bramwell at Staniforth on 0161 919 8024/077381 96667 or Adam Cracknell at Norwich Union on 01603 684916/ 07800 699517.
2www.dft.gov.uk/consultations/closed/retrofittingdevicesmirrors/consultationletter?page=1 (Link removed as no longer active)
- Norwich Union is the UK's largest general insurer with a market share of around 15%, with a focus on insurance for individuals and small businesses.
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