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Cycle safety demands consistency from clients, contractors and supply chain

As construction activity picks up and the popularity of cycling increases, the MPA is working with TfL and other companies to improve cycle safety and prevent collisions between lorries and cyclists.

The Mineral Products Association launched its Cycle Safe campaign to prevent collisions between cyclists and lorries in 2011 and introduced a vulnerable road user safety policy in 2012, featuring driver training and vehicle equipment requirements.

The MPA was the first industry group to introduce such requirements and this reflected concern over the level of fatal and serious injuries to cyclists – in particular those resulting from collisions with construction HGVs.

Limiting cycling accidents

Around 120 cyclists are killed every year in the UK. Although HGVs are involved in around 15 per cent of cyclist and 10 per cent of pedestrian fatalities, 53 per cent of cyclist fatalities in London from 2008 to 2012 followed collisions with HGVs, most of which were construction HGVs.

Total cyclist fatalities and serious injuries in 2012 were 32 per cent higher than the 2005-08 average.

“This is of course an issue for all construction deliveries and there is an equivalent responsibility for all road users and cyclists to behave safely”

The construction industry in general, like the MPA, has had a strong focus on improving site safety in recent years and the aim of the Construction Logistics and Cyclist Safety (CLOCS) standard is that clients, contractors and suppliers will extend this focus to include the road safety of vulnerable road users such as cyclists and pedestrians.

Given the combination of increasing levels of cycling and improving construction markets, there is significant potential for increasing numbers of collisions between cyclists and construction materials delivery vehicles.

This is of course an issue for all construction deliveries and there is an equivalent responsibility for all road users and cyclists to behave safely.

The MPA policy is designed to ensure MPA members can take effective and proportionate action and professional drivers are supported.

Confusion over standards

VRU and cycle safety is now a key issue for many road authorities, construction clients and contractors and numerous initiatives have been introduced, in addition to the MPA policy.

Crossrail and Transport for London have both specified the Crossrail VRU safety standards in their procurement and a number of other organisations including clients and contractors have introduced variations on the theme over the past two years.

This has led to some confusion and uncertainty over VRU safety requirements.

Recognising this confusion and proliferation, TfL facilitated an initiative in 2013 to develop a single unified VRU safety standard for clients, contractors and the supply chain to work to.

“This standard is now being rolled out nationally in procurement requirements by clients and contractors such as Carillion, Lend Lease, Mace, Skanska and Vinci”

The MPA and its members have been leading contributors in the development of this Standard for Construction Logistics (known as the CLOCS standard), introduced in December 2013.

The CLOCS standard includes much of what is in the MPA policy, but also additional requirements for the supply chain and for clients and contractors.

This standard is now being rolled out nationally in procurement requirements by clients and contractors such as Carillion, Lend Lease, Mace, Skanska and Vinci.

In order to simplify and clarify the application of VRU safety standards in the construction sector, the MPA policy has now been extended to match the CLOCS standard.

Updated MPA standard

The MPA’s original policy focused on driver training and MPQC introduced a CPC-approved vulnerable road user safety course for drivers, developed with members of the MPA Transport Group.

To date more than 1,500 drivers have attended this course. In addition, extra vehicle safety equipment was required, including fitting sideguards to tippers, as well as the elimination of blindspots through the use of class VI mirrors and nearside cameras and/or sensors.

To achieve consistency with CLOCS, the MPA VRU safety policy now includes:

  • The progression of driver training requirements to include on cycle hazard awareness;
  • Management of haulage operations to meet the standard of an approved independent fleet management audit (eg the Fleet Operator Recognition Scheme);
  • Collision reporting and traffic routing requirements;
  • Clients have responsibilities to improve planning of deliveries and vehicle access to and from sites and to ensure there are safe locations for vehicle loading and unloading;
  • The scope of the policy has been extended to include all vehicles delivering on behalf of members that are more than 3.5 tonnes GVW.

The MPA and members are now engaged with TfL and other clients and contractors, as well as the Freight Transport Association, the Road Haulage Association and road safety groups in developing further guidance on the implementation of CLOCS.

Jerry McLaughlin is director of economics and public affairs at the Mineral Products Association

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