New THINK! campaign seeks to cut casualties among urban cyclists

12.00 | 26 September 2016 | | 6 comments

Cyclists in cities across the UK are being encouraged to ‘hang back’ from lorries as part of a new campaign by the THINK! team.

Launched today (26 September), the campaign is designed to raise awareness of safety issues among urban cyclists and help make the roads safer for those on two wheels.

The campaign has been developed on the back of statistics which show that during 2015, a fifth of crashes where cyclists were killed involved HGVs.

The campaign includes a film (featured) entitled ‘Things you shouldn’t get caught between’, and posters carrying the message: ‘Don’t get caught between a lorry and a left turn. Hang back’.

The DfT says a large proportion of deaths happen when a cyclist is at the front left of the truck, and almost a third of all crashes between cyclists and HGVs happen when the lorry is turning left.

Andrew Jones, road safety minister, said: “We are investing £300m over the next four years to help make Britain a cycling nation.

“Reducing the number of cyclists killed on our roads is a key priority. Since 2010 the number has decreased to its lowest level.

“This campaign will raise awareness among urban cyclists and help make our roads safer for those on two wheels.”

The campaign also targets HGV drivers through partnership activity with the Freight Transport Association (FTA) and includes tips for car drivers to raise awareness of cycle safety.

Christopher Snelling, FTA head of national and regional policy, said: “We need to make our busy urban roads as safe as possible for all users and it’s important that both HGV drivers and cyclists understand the risks created by sharing the limited road space and know what steps they can take to minimise them.

“This campaign highlights one of the key danger zones – the blind spot at the front left of a HGV. New design innovations such as transparent cab doors all have a part to play in improving safety in the long term but increased awareness can have immediate impact.”

A campaign toolkit is available in the ‘Local authority area’ of this website, and campaign resources can be downloaded from the THINK! asset manager website.


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    The Highway Code makes it quite clear that cyclists should not come up on the left of a turning lorry. Why do cyclists not obey the Highway Code?

    Rule 72
    On the left. When approaching a junction on the left, watch out for vehicles turning in front of you, out of or into the side road. Just before you turn, check for undertaking cyclists or motorcyclists. Do not ride on the inside of vehicles signalling or slowing down to turn left.

    Rule 73
    Pay particular attention to long vehicles which need a lot of room to manoeuvre at corners. Be aware that drivers may not see you. They may have to move over to the right before turning left. Wait until they have completed the manoeuvre because the rear wheels come very close to the kerb while turning. Do not be tempted to ride in the space between them and the kerb.

    Robert Bolt Saint Albans
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    Unfortunately it is not the best video clip as an example as the sequence of events is unclear (at least to me.) It’s not clear whether the lorry had his indicator on first (or not), whether the cyclist was undertaking the lorry as it braked (or not) or whether it was all the fault of the lorry driver (or not). I think we can all agree that the cyclist (or motorcyclist) would always come off worst whoever’s fault it was. So if you are on 2 wheels, ride with an active defensive mindset, reading the road ahead and treating all other road users with caution (suspicion) and hopefully you will live to ride for many decades whether your 2 wheels are powered by legs or an engine.

    Pat, Wales
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    The DfT statement clearly states that other elements of this campaign are directed at lorry and car drivers who of course are responsible for looking out for cyclists. Cyclists also have a responsibility not to put themselves in a known hazardous position where the lorry driver cannot see them. Shared responsibility and shared awareness is what is needed.

    Honor Byford, Chair, Road Safety GB
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    One could have the most perfect junction and cab designs but alas, we cannot apparently have the perfect road users to go with them. Most are aware and careful but some can be anti-social bullies with an attitude and no amount of well-meaning publicity campaigns can seem to get through to them.

    Hugh Jones
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    This advert is utterly misguided and wrong. The Lorry is in clear breach of the highway code and should not overtake the cyclist and then turn left on top of him. It is tantamount to saying it’s my fault if a person breaks into my house and I get killed!

    I would never go up the inside of of a vehicle, and that is good advice but time after time when fatalities are investigated in over 80% of the cases it’s lorry drivers fault for passing then turning left on top of a cyclist.

    What next? Cycle backwards…

    We need to improve junction and cab design to keep bikes and lorries apart and improve visibility, not blame the victim.

    Dr. A. J. Trickett, Hampshire
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    Can’t disagree with this one. As a motorcyclist for over 50 years I am particularly aware of the dangers faced by two wheeled vehicles motorised or not and to hang back giving a safe distance and assess what might happen to the traffic in front. So often in an urban town centre situation vehicles give little or less consideration to safe distances and that includes some cyclists who when traffic is nose to tail and travelling slower than they can they decide to filter down the inside line and can put themselves into this dangerous position. Obviously I have to say that all vehicle drivers, no matter what type of vehicle that may be, also have a responsibility, especially if intending to turn left at a junction, should always look round and at the nearside for other road users which primarily is cyclists.

    Bob Craven Lancs
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