Pall-Ex's Kevin Buchanan calls for more cycling safety training

Kevin Buchanan

Kevin Buchanan, group managing director of haulage firm, Pall-Ex, has voiced concern over the number of cyclists killed by HGVs in London.

"Since the start of the year, eight cyclists have died in collisions in our capital city, all of which have involved lorries. This is completely unacceptable." he said.

Buchanan also said that the deaths are not only tragic for the family and friends of the cyclist, but are also harrowing for the HGV drivers and onlookers. 

"In this day and age, we shouldn’t fear being on our roads – regardless of how we get about. A death toll should be completely avoidable, with measures in place to keep our road users safe." he added.

Recently, various pro-cycling campaigners have rallied on the government to introduce new 24 hour safety guidelines, which Buchanan supports: "These are great ideas in theory, especially sideguards on vehicles over 3.5 tonnes, designed to protect cyclists from being dragged under the wheels in the event of a collision, and additional mirrors.

"They of course come at a financial cost to haulage firms who do not already have these measures in place (particularly to the smaller haulier), but the alternative of just banning lorries in London is completely nonsensical. Shops, hotels, hospitals, nursing homes, restaurants and many other businesses would struggle to stay open." said Buchanan.

While aknowledging that the measures were a positive move, Buchanan said that it's still important to recognise that the responsibility lies on both sides: "We’ve all seen the odd cyclist who defies danger, weaving in and out of lanes, and not taking adequate care and attention in congested traffic. I should stress that of course they are the minority of a population of cyclists who share our roads, and this small proportion does not by any means reflect the whole."

He suggested toughening up the laws surrounding cycling. "Cycle laws need to be more robust – whether that’s an insistence on protective headgear or an outright ban on wearing music headphones.

"But maybe we could go even so far as introducing cycling licenses and road tests for everyone who is using the road. One group is not more entitled than another to use our networks, so the onus must be on both parties to be as safe and knowledgeable about the dangers of using roads, particularly in busy urban centres."

He concluded by saying: "Any steps that reduce the number of fatalities and serious accidents on our roads should be embraced. But, there is not one simple solution to the problem, nor does is it exclusively the duty of the logistics firms.

"It’s an educational challenge to improve the skills, technology and equipment of all road users – rather than wholly laying the blame at the door of the HGV driver on every occasion."

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  • mike gillson - 26/06/2015 14:41

    Most of this is common sense and I agree with Kevin that all road users need to identify possible dangers around them, however it always amazes me how many do not. I was given the advice when I learnt to drive, to treat other drivers as if they didn't know what they were doing - it's worked for me. As for more cycle training, it seems only right that cycling in rush hour traffic requires specific skills which need to be taught, especially as the growing number of Boris bike users probably learnt to cycle on suburban streets and in lighter traffic.

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  • Darren - 26/06/2015 15:17

    "In this day and age, we shouldn’t fear being on our roads – regardless of how we get about" I totally agree with this statement, but where I live (West London) I often find myself terrified to the point it makes me nervous to go out, whether in my car or on my motorbike. The driving has become so aggressive these days, people no longer seem to care whether they hit you or not. I have a camera fitted in my car after a van forced his way in front of me in a single lane of slow moving traffic, clipped my mirror and refused to stop. And the amount of times I have become so close to being knocked of my motorbike because someone else was in the wrong lane and just decided to switch, I have lost count. It doesn't matter how you travel about, people need to start caring about how they drive and are perceived by others.

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  • Tony Pro driver - 26/06/2015 21:47

    London has a fair share of aggressive cyclists,both male and female,why not ban headphones,arrest and fine traffic light jumpers,and stop blaming truck drivers for cyclists deaths.They ride too close to cars and trucks.

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