County Council backs scheme to make cycling safer

Oxfordshire County Council's Fire and Rescue Service are supporting construction company Earthline’s Safer Oxford Cycling Event, along with Thames Valley Police.

The event is being held to raise awareness about cycle safety and will include opportunity to sit in the cab of an Earthline HGV and view what a lorry driver can actually see.

Mick Clarke Road Safety Manager for Oxfordshire County Council Fire and Rescue Service said: “One way of reducing the risk of cyclists being killed or seriously injured is to ensure that the cyclist has a better understanding of the limited view available to the driver of a HGV.

“The most important advice we can give is for cyclists to avoid going down nearside of larger vehicles. If a heavy goods vehicle (HGV) moves to the right of the road, unlike cars, it's not because the driver is planning to turn right, it's likely to be that the HGV is actually turning LEFT and needs more room to negotiate the turn - particularly in tight, built up areas.

“Even with the additional scanners and mirrors that Earthline have on their large vehicles, there are STILL places on the road that the driver cannot see someone, the 'blind spots'.

“We are helping Earthline arrange events where cyclists (or anyone interested) can sit in the cab of an HGV and see all the various 'blind spots' - so they can avoid placing themselves there in future.

“With the Olympic legacy, Tour de France in the UK, and a constant push on greener transport, we are dealing with a greater than ever number of cyclists on our roads, and particularly in cities like Oxford. With a complex road system, and tight medieval streets, Oxford is a very challenging place to use the roads.

However, despite a continuing, long term downward casualty trend for almost all road users, cyclists continue to buck that. Cyclist road casualties remain unchanged from the high level in 2014.

Between 01/07/2012 and 30/06/2015:

  • Almost 50% of all road casualties in Oxford city area involved a cyclist.
  • There were a total of 600 pedal cycles (around 50% of all vehicles) involved in an accident in Oxford city during this time

Tom Reddy, Driver Training Manager at Earthline Ltd said: “As both a lorry driver, a keen cyclist, and a qualified instructor in both, I am able to see things from both sides, and I would like to promote, as best I can, an attitude of teamwork between drivers of heavy vehicles and those vulnerable road users that seem to come to conflict with each other, most often, I feel, through a lack of mutual understanding and nothing more”.

“If we can promote this understanding, develop a respect, and help it move both ways, then we can work towards a safer city for all of us using the roads. By developing these free events; giving cyclists and the general public an opportunity to see things from a lorry driver’s perspective, we can equip them with the knowledge to help them stay safe on our roads, and also show them that we are here to help as best we can”.