Published: 15th August 2018

2018 Cycle to Work Day: How safe are you?

Richard Kay Avatar

Written By:

Richard Kay

Leeds Based SM UK is working with companies across the country to make the roads safer for 2018’s Cycle to Work Day. But just how safe do you feel?

As 2018’s Cycle to Work Day on the 15th August came to a close, just how many of us actually swapped horse power for pedal power? Cycling to work has many benefits and is a fantastic way to save you money and also improve your health. Unfortunately, cyclists are also put into the category of ‘Vulnerable Road Users’ or VRU’s. Did you know that VRU’s also includes anyone who crosses a road too? It also includes:

  • Pedestrians (specifically children, elderly, disabled)
  • Motorcyclists
  • Animals
  • Other drivers (specifically inexperienced and older drivers)

But no matter what the category says, more and more people are still cycling to work. Still, the majority of us are still sceptical about the safety of this method of transport.

What are the benefits of cycling to work?

Cycling to work has a lot of health benefits from losing weight, improving mental well-being to reducing heart disease and cancer risk. The more obvious point though is you save money as you’re not forking out money for fuel, insurance, tax and general wear and tear on your car (just think of the price of a bike tyre compared to a car tyre).

You maybe saving money, but just how safe do you actually feel compared to travelling in a car, or on a train or bus?

The risk?

With all this in mind, each year on the 15th August it is Cycle to Work Day, so therefore it is expected to see an increase of cyclists on the road on this particular day. However sadly, this year a cyclist in London lost his life due to a collision with an HGV on a busy street. The fault is currently unknown, however a common excuse given by HGV drivers is that they “didn’t see them” and it raises the question of just how safe is it to cycle on the UK roads? Through a vast improvement in technology, and the development of cameras the size of a ‘GoPro style’ it is possible to reduce the number of incidents between HGV, LGV and van’s.

Just how can safety be increased?

From a cyclist’s perspective, the are methods and ways to make yourself more visible to other road users are currently quite obvious…wear a high-visibility vest; install lights to the front and rear of your bike, and to take it to the next level, wear one on your backpack/back; wear a helmet. These options seem quite simple for a cyclist, but how do you improve the safety of your fleet vehicle? Cars now are starting to have a ‘blind spot warning system’. It shows a small orange light in rear view mirror. But what about HGV’s?

Leeds based SM UK have worked with charities like Brake to help improve the relationship between cyclists and HGV/LGV/van drivers. By using products from Brigade, SM UK install safety and awareness systems onto fleet vehicles across the country. These camera and ultrasonic detection systems warn the vehicle driver of any potential obstacles or VRU’s that could be in their blind spot. On an HGV this blind spot is in front of the vehicle, on the nearside of the vehicle and to the rear.

An ultrasonic detection system operates the same way that parking sensors – alerting the driver to any obstacles that could prevent them from carrying out a manoeuvre. At SM UK we use these style sensors to alert the driver of anything that could be in their blind spot and can be installed along the front of the vehicle, or down the nearside. Coupling this with a camera located on the front wing facing down the side of the vehicle, a forward-facing camera, and a rear facing camera, the driver is now fully aware of everything that is happening around their vehicle.

Whether you are a VRU or a driver, make sure you stay safe and stay seen!

August 2018

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