TJ continues to prioritise cycle safety

Official figures recently released have revealed a 355,000 drop in the number of regular leisure and commuter riders on the roads in the last 12 months. Sport England has highlighted this “significant” decrease in cyclists, with road safety being listed as one of the top deterrents.

TJ’s fleet of lorries are frequent road users, but all TJ’s drivers are advocates for cycle safety. As part of TJ’s commitment to managing work related road risk (WRRR), particularly regarding vulnerable road users such as cyclists, TJ created its Cycle Safe Campaign in 2016 to raise awareness of the issue and to reduce the HGV / cyclist dangers.

In 2016, 271 collisions between HGVs and cyclists resulted in 16 riders being killed, 56 seriously injured and a further 198 injured. Although only 1.5% of cyclist casualties occurred in collisions with HGVs, this still equated to 16% of cyclist deaths.

The initiatives implemented as part of the campaign are:

  • Annual driver induction
  • Annual driver assessment
  • MPQC Vulnerable Road User course
  • Toolbox Talks
  • Vehicle safety features, such as 360-degree camera systems, side under-run guards and audible left-turn warnings
  • Public interaction events, called ‘Exchanging Places’, with TJ vehicles and drivers

TJ Lorry at Cycle safety event

Since the introduction of the Cycle Safe campaign, TJ has won two awards. The first was a national award for leading the way with cycle safety. The accolade was awarded by CEMEX, a leader in the building materials industry. John Gosling, TJ’s Managing Director said: “CEMEX’s award recognises our drivers’ strong commitment to managing work-related road risk, with particular focus on cities where heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) account for a disproportionate number of road casualties.”

TJ also won the Transport for London award for reducing occupational road risk for the company’s drivers. Criteria for the award included showing how technology, management systems and behavioural initiatives can reduce road accidents.

In October 2018, TJ also gained the highly-regarded FORS silver status. The FORS (Fleet Operator Recognition Scheme) silver accreditation is awarded to operators that maintain Bronze accreditation and have developed driver licensing verification systems. To further meet the strict criteria, vehicles over 3.5 tonnes must be equipped with a left-turn audible warning system and fitted with blind-spot minimisation devices.

TJ Transport is required to ensure all drivers and line managers undergo approved progressive training and continued professional development. Dozens of its drivers took part in safe urban driving sessions, including riding bikes in Southampton and Bristol to better understand road hazards facing cyclists.

Policeman with TJ lorry at cycle safety event

TJ Fleet Engineer Bob Steele, a keen cyclist himself, was impressed by the campaign when he joined the company four months ago.

He said: “I cycle to work every day. It’s six miles and there are only cycle routes for part of the way, so the rest of the time I have to take my chances on the road. TJ’s Cycle Safe Campaign is great. Anything with the aim of improving cyclist safety has got to be a good thing.

“I’ve worked locally and cycled to work every day for the past 25 years and during that time, I’ve been knocked off twice. But I’d say there’s an occasion every other week when I feel in danger on the roads – whether it’s vehicle positioning or drivers just not being aware. Drivers need to think about cyclists more – which is why it’s fantastic that all TJ drivers receive extensive training on this.”

Moving forward, future ‘Exchanging Places’ events will be held in conjunction with Portsmouth City Council, Southampton City Council and Hampshire Constabulary. These events help raise awareness of vehicle blind spots and the dangers they pose to vulnerable road users, especially cyclists. They also provide an opportunity for cyclists to experience the driver’s perspective by getting behind the wheel of a 32-tonne HGV to see what it’s like and to understand the importance of making sure they’re visible.

Find out more about Cycle Safe and the services TJ provides.

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Luke Haskell
29 April 2019