Minister backs 'safe systems' and safer lorries

PACTS (the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety) has released a transcript of a meeting with road safety minister Andrew Jones in which he  makes clear the Government’s commitment in, its Road Safety Statement,  to  “what has come to be known as the Safe Systems Approach.” Other examples of this approach include Sustainable Safety in the Netherlands,Vision Zero in Sweden and, more recently, Sources of Danger, the approach now taken by Transport for London.  These approaches assume human fallibility and seek to reduce road danger by addressing people, vehicles and road design. 

 Jones summarised the practical application of the safe systems 

1.They mean focusing on better road management, including providing new support for police forces to fight drug driving and mobile phones at the wheel.

2.They mean making safe driving the default choice, including by helping Highways England introduce a star rating system for the strategic roads network, providing motorway lessons to learner drivers, and launching a safety campaign focussed on rural roads.

3.They mean making vehicles safer, including making changes to lorries for the benefit of cyclists

4.And they mean focussing on the post-crash response, including working with the emergency services and NHS to ensure that collisions are quickly responded to and properly investigated, and introducing a new system for police forces to record collisions.

Jones noted that’s since 2010, thanks to advocacy by bodies such as the United Nations, the World Health Organisation and the World Bank the Safe Systems Approach has become more and more common across the world.

Jones, who has driven a low-entry, panoramic vision lorry, answered specific questions about the danger posed to pedestrians and cyclists by lorries:

 Q: Concerning HGV regulations and cyclists – will the Minister be consider rolling out the stricter HGV safety regulations in London on a national scale? 

A: Several projects within the Road Safety Statement focus on cycling safety in relation to HGVs and later this year the Department for Transport (DfT) will be holding a consultation on cycling safety and releasing a new Walking & Cycling strategy. The DfT will also be focusing on testing new designs and increasing funding for Bikeability (the cycle training programme for children and adults).

Q: Is there any intention to promote uptake of low-entry, panoramic vision HGV cabs outside London and increasing the spread of safety programmes such as CLOCS (Construction Logistics and Cyclists Safety ) to improve HGV safety nationwide?

A: These are valuable schemes and we will be considering this during our cycling consultation later in the year. I urge you all to submit evidence. We need to make cycling a safer past-time as it grows in popularity: innovations, education and technology are key.

The number of companies that are operating low-entry panaoramic vision lorries in the construction sector continues to grow with Travis-Perkins recently announcing that it has bought another Mercedes Econic fitted with a crane as well as a five camera CCTV system and side-scan proximnity sensors. Cemex and O'Donovan's already operate similar vehicles. 

Safer lorries are a key part of our Sign for Cycling Mayoral elections campaign. We want all the candidates to commit to take all possible steps to make ‘direct vision’ lorries, with minimal ‘blind spots’ the standard HGV type used in London. Have you signed for cycling yet? Please sign the petitoin today at www.signforcycling.org