Cyclists are amongst some of the most vulnerable road users when it comes to accidents.
Data from the Department for Transport (DfT) show that 17,550 cyclists were injured in reported road accidents in 2018. With 99 cyclists killed and 4,106 seriously injured. This factsheet from ROSPA provides further cycling accident statistics to give a real idea of the road risks cyclists face.
It is important therefore that business who employ people to driver for work take cyclist road safety seriously, looking to educate drivers and invest in technology which minimises risks in a bid to reduce cycling accident statistics.
Is cycling set to grow over the coming months and years?
The Covid-19 pandemic seems to be influencing cyclist numbers. In London alone, figures suggest large increases in cyclist numbers, peaking at an increase of 120% in May 2020, compared to May 2019. And whilst these figures fell as lockdown measures eased into the summer, figures show cyclists numbers are still much higher than in 2019.
And it seems to be a similar picture across the UK with this recent government data indicating that cycling usage is averaging around 130% of pre lockdown levels.
The government are also looking to push towards greener transport options in a bid to reduce carbon emissions. Strategies include banning the sale of new petrol, diesel and hybrid cars from 2035, pushing electric transport and announcing a £2billion package to boost alternative travel options such as cycling and walking. Electric scooter trials have also been brought forward, so in the coming months we may see more of these on UK roads, increasing numbers further.
Why fleet managers need to be aware of cycling accident statistics
If you are a fleet manager, whether you are in charge of a fleet of large HGV’s, vans or cars, it is important to be aware of cycling accident statistics so that you can educate your drivers and ensure that responsibility is placed on sharing roads safely.
Offences which drivers who kill or injure a cyclist can include:
- Causing death by dangerous driving
- Causing death by careless driving
- Serious injury by dangerous driving
- Driving without reasonable consideration
- Use of a mobile phone whilst driving
Sentencing guidelines relating to some of these offences are currently being reviewed, with tougher penalties likely to be introduced along with the introduction of a new offence of causing serious injury through careless driving.
Businesses and operators can also face additional penalties should there be deemed to be a health and safety offence. This was the case in a high-profile accident involving a cyclist and lorry driver whose view was obstructed by items placed on a tray table on the dashboard. The driver himself was jailed for 21 months and the business were given a fine and subsequently had its operator’s licence revoked, closing the business.
So not only do you need to encourage and train drivers on safe driving practices surrounding cyclists, you also need to take your duties as an employer and business seriously. Implementing effective policies and procedures relating to driver behaviours and putting safety and risk management at the heart of your business is key to fulfilling your health and safety obligations, particularly as sentencing guidelines tighten.
How can drivers and cyclists coexist safely on the roads?
Cyclists and drivers can co-exist on the roads safely together if both parties play their role and take responsibility for safety. This document from ROSPA provides a range of tips for cyclists and drivers when it comes to sharing the roads safely. It is certainly worth a read and worth educating your drivers on.
Special consideration needs to be given to HGV drivers given that cycling accident statistics indicate HGV’s are disproportionally likely to be involved in a pedal cyclist fatality. Relative size in vehicle (lorry compared to a bike) is a contributory factor in this along with other issues such as visibility and driver blind spots.
Many truck manufacturers are now investing in technology directly aimed at improving safety around cyclists, pedestrians and other vulnerable road users.
Here are some examples of the types of advances being made:
- The updated Volvo FE Low-Entry Cab has an extra low chassis and option for enlarged windows which cover most of the cab door. The benefit of which they state provides the driver with increased visibility along the side of the vehicle.
- Scania are introducing two new systems to improve side detection functionality
- Mercedes-Benz are looking to build on their side guard assist functionality, introducing an automatic braking system in addition to driver warnings. The hope is for the technology to be available from June 2021
Keeping on top of HGV and truck safety improvements and investing in the newest technology when possible will be beneficial to health and safety.
With Road Safety Week 2020 taking place from the 16th-20th November, and with the rise in cyclists expected to continue on the roads, now may be a good time to revisit your road safety policies particularly with cyclists in mind.
At Anthony Jones improving road safety and risk management is something that we focus on with our clients – we understand the importance of this to operators and how factors interlink and play into the ability of fleet operators to obtain the insurance that they need. If you are reviewing your fleet insurance or have any questions about a current policy then do get in touch with us on 020 8290 9099 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.