A baby grand piano descends through the air against the backdrop of an ominous grey sky. Two male boxers square up to one another inside the ring of a dimly lit studio gym. Two rams prepare to dual at the cliff edge of a snowy mountain top as the title credit reads: Things you shouldn’t get caught between.
This is the opening sequence to the new THINK! cycle safety campaign. But what does a piano, boxing and rams have to do with cycle safety you might ask? Well, nothing really. It’s what they represent that’s important: the moment before impact, being caught between two things – a place you don’t want to be.
This is the simple idea behind our cycle safety campaign. We want to remind cyclists of the dangers of getting between a lorry and a left hand turn – the area where one third of collisions between cyclists and lorries happen. Our advice to cyclists is ‘Don’t get between a lorry and a left hand turn. Hang back’.
In the last 5 years, 104 cyclists have been killed in accidents involving an HGV. Startlingly, this accounts for nearly 20% of all cycling fatalities – revealing that HGVs present one of the largest dangers to cyclists on the road. Better mirrors, proximity sensors and blind spot cameras are making driving safer, but technology improvements will never replace the judgement and expertise of you – the driver – behind the wheel.
Taking a proactive approach to improving the safety of everyone on the roads – beyond regulation requirements – is high on the agenda for the freight and haulage industry. Safe driving practices are an integral part of your professional development. Looking out for vulnerable road users is second nature to you. You might be ‘tyred’ (pun intended) of the hearing the same message, but THINK! is all about encouraging each and every one of us to think about our behaviour on the roads.
You know the drill. You know to check your vehicle before you set off. You know what to look out for in your mirrors. You know that you should never overtake a cyclist on the approach to a junction. You know to pull up behind cyclists at a junction rather than alongside them. And you know to give them space when you overtake. But knowing and doing – each and every single time – are two very different things.
So next time you’re out on the road and you see a junction approaching, take extra time to look out for cyclists. Being attuned (get it?!) to the risk of pianos falling from the sky is not something that drivers need to be aware of, but as the number of cyclists on the road increase, being vigilant to the movements of riders at junctions is the only way to avoid the potential devastating consequences of a collision. THINK! Take extra time to look out for cyclists.
(The views and opinions expressed by the authors of these blogs are theirs alone, and do not necessarily reflect those of the Freight Transport Association)