Have you thought about your risk assessment
July 22, 2021

Care for other road users

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Care for other road users

Our roads are becoming more and more congested but not just for road vehicles. The desire to remain fit and healthy during lockdown has seen more people regularly out walking, running and cycling. Yet with so many more people now getting around on foot, bikes and now also on e-scooters, there are concerns for increased risk to road users.

 

Latest road safety data for Great Britain shows pedestrians account for 26% of road deaths, motorcyclists 20% and cyclists 6%.

 

Who are at risk?

Pedestrians

  • Children running out into the road without looking

  • ‘Distracted walkers’ texting or talking on their mobile phones whilst walking

  • People with decreased mobility or difficulties in seeing or hearing approaching traffic

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Cyclists and motorcyclists

  • Can be difficult to see, especially at junctions and roundabouts and turning right into a road

  • Can be affected by side winds, causing them to sway or wobble

  • Children on bikes may ride out into the road

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Horse riders

  • Horses are easily frightened and can panic in traffic

  • Most accidents are due to vehicles not allowing enough space as they pass

  • Many incidents involving horses happen on minor roads and in rural areas

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E-scooter riders

The Government is currently conducting e-scooter trials in several towns and cities to assess their safety and suitability. Concerns include:

  • Small wheels can struggle with uneven surfaces and potholes

  • If the e-scooter has lights, they may be at a very low level and hard to see

  • No mirrors or indicators means it is difficult for riders to see anyone approaching from behind, as well as signalling their intentions to other people

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What are the most common risks?

As you might expect, rush hour is the most dangerous time for incidents. Around 80% of cycling accidents happen in urban areas, mainly around T-junctions and traffic islands.

 

Professional drivers and fleet operators will be familiar with the risks caused by ‘blind spots.’ These are the areas around the vehicle that a driver cannot see by looking through the windows or standard mirrors. Blind spots affect many vehicle types but are especially worrying on larger vehicles such as buses, coaches and trucks. The result could be a driver not seeing a cyclist pedalling up the inside of the vehicle.

 

Speed is also a factor

Drivers travelling at higher speeds will have less time to react, and the higher the speed, the more serious the accident can be.

  • If a vehicle hits a pedestrian at 30 miles per hour there’s a 1 in 5 chance that they will die

  • If a vehicle hits a pedestrian at 40 miles per hour there’s a 90% chance of their death

 

What can drivers and fleet operators do?

All drivers should exercise basic safety routines, including:

  • When parking, check your mirror before opening the door

  • When turning left, let a cyclist in front pass the junction first

  • When turning right, move over completely to the far right of the lane

  • Leave as much room as possible when passing cyclists

  • Don’t overtake if the road is narrowing

  • Judge cyclists’ speed carefully as they may be going faster than you think

  • At traffic lights, avoid driving into the ‘advanced stop area’ for cyclists

  • If possible, don’t drive in cycle lanes and never park in them

  • On rural roads, make sure you can stop well within the distance you can see ahead

  • On wet roads, give cyclists extra space, as slick road tyres can slip

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Commercial fleet operators can also:

  • Consider the NCAP safety ratings when buying fleet vehicles, including the new commercial van safety ratings produced by Thatcham Research.

  • If not already, investigate technology to reduce blind spot risks, such as blind spot detection, proximity sensors, wide-angle mirrors and reversing alarms

  • Fit underrun guards to prevent people and objects being dragged under the vehicle

  • Consider the use of speed-limiting systems on fleet vehicles

  • Address any potential driver distractions, such as use of mobile phones at the wheel

  • Use driver training programmes, staff briefings and fleet safety forums to raise awareness of safety issues

  • Monitor driver speed and behaviour by using telematics systems and other safety apps

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Have any questions? please don’t hesitate to contact one of our team

Stuart Belbin – Stuart.belbin@ascendbroking.co.uk  |  Office: 01245 449067