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Protecting Vulnerable Road Users (Cyclists) (Hardfacts)

Introduction:

Vulnerable Road Users (VRUs) is a collective term usually used to describe cyclists, motor cyclists and pedestrians. This document is relevant to incidents involving all VRU types, but in particular focuses on cyclists.

Every year, cyclists are involved in collisions with other vehicles resulting in fatalities and life-changing injuries. The impact also extends to their loved ones and the consequences are felt by drivers, their families, as well as the organisations they work for, which may suffer both financial and reputational damage.

Whilst the Government is already taking steps to improve road user segregation and technological advancements are bringing the prospect of 'driverless' vehicles ever closer, a more immediate solution to the issue is proving elusive.

Collectively, VRUs account for almost 50 per cent of all deaths and 60 per cent of all seriously injured casualties. Generally, for most road user types in the UK, the number of Killed and Seriously Injured has fallen steadily over recent years. Unfortunately though, the statistics relating to cyclists, do not make such good reading, with the number killed up 10% in 2012 and the numbers seriously injured rising every year since 2004.

No doubt part of the problem stems from the increasing number of cyclists on the roads, perhaps looking to get fitter, or to save some money, but whatever the reason, it must be borne in mind that some will be relatively inexperienced riders, often returning after many years absence.

Large Goods Vehicles (LGVs) account for nearly 1 in 5 of cyclist fatalities, but the dangers are noticeably more apparent in city centres, especially in London, where in recent years goods vehicles have been involved in about 60% of cyclist fatalities,

Certain manoeuvers / situations are clearly high risk (e.g. drivers turning left at a junction / cyclist on the inside) and very sadly, many of the contributory factors crop up time and again (including passing too closely, being in a hurry, and fundamentally failing to look properly).

Cyclists do of course have responsibilities of their own. At the very least, they should abide by the rules of law and heed the Highway Code, but it is extremely rare for a cyclist to come out best following a scrape with a LGV and thus a greater duty rests with the driver.

Actions / Tips:

The following guidance is primarily formulated with cyclists in mind and is aimed at LGV drivers (and Operators to incorporate into the company's VRU Policy document).

GENERAL

  • Ensure that your driver CPC training includes a specific focus on Vulnerable Road Users.
  • Employ technologies such as blind spot cameras, proximity sensors and audible warning systems to alert for dangers - checking regularly to ensure they are operating correctly.
  • Fit side under-run protection if your vehicle doesn't have any.
  • Use a Fresnel lens to improve your range of vision on nearside (see illustration of 'Enlightener' Fresnel lens below).

Image                   Image                          

  • Affix cyclist warning decals (example below) in a prominent position.

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BEFORE YOU START

  • Check that your lights and indicators are functioning, that your mirrors are properly adjusted to minimise blind spots and that these, as well as any warning messaging, are all kept clean.
  • Set your phone to voicemail, or at the very least 'hands free'.
  • If possible, plan your journey to avoid routes that are popular with cyclists, or if you can't avoid cyclist commuter routes, try to travel at quieter times.

DURING YOUR JOURNEY

  • Respect all road users, but never lose sight of how extremely vulnerable pedestrians, cyclists and motor cyclists really are.
  • Generally be vigilant and look out for cyclists, making sure to check you near-side blind spot every time you turn left.
  • Remain altert even in stationary traffic. Both pedestrians and cyclists may weave through queues of traffic and/or psotion themselves in your blind spots, oblivious of the dangers.
  • Indicate in good time before a junction, or when changing lanes to allow others time to react. Make sure that your indicator stays on, but only until the manoeuvre is complete.
  • Leave room in front of you when stopped at traffic lights or junctions, to allow cyclists/motor cyclists a margin of safety. Do not cross stop lines or encroach on an Advanced Stop Line.
  • Before pulling away at junctions or traffic lights, be sure to look over the dashboard, even if you have a Class VI mirror fitted.
  • At junctions, try to make eye contact with cyclists to achieve mutual acknowledgement of each other's presence.  
  • Be mindful that things such as high winds, puddles and pot holes may suddenly cause a cyclist to shift direction. Wait for the right moment to pass cyclists and give them plenty of space when overtaking.
  • Understand and observe the rules pertaining to designated cycle lanes.
  • Always be cautious of passing cyclists when opening doors.

References

HSE INDG 382 - Driving at work

The Highway Code

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Next Steps:

  • Source discounted products, available to Aviva insured customers and brokers only, via our Specialist Partners - click here to find out more about the savings you could make
  • View our Tools and Templates
  • Call our Risk Helpline on 0345 366 66 66
  •  Email us at riskadvice@aviva.com

Please Note
This document contains general information and guidance and is not and should not be relied on as specific advice. The document may not cover every risk, exposure or hazard that may arise and Aviva recommend that you obtain specific advice relevant to the circumstances. AVIVA accepts no responsibility or liability towards any person who may rely upon this document.

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