Title: Construction logistics and cyclist safety (research)

Organisation: TRL & TfL
Date uploaded: 28th August 2013
Date published/launched: January 2013

This research explored the reasons for the apparent disproportionately high involvement of construction vehicles in cyclist fatalities in London.

One of the Mayor of London’s objectives is to bring about a significant increase in cycling in London, with a target that it accounts for at least 5% of modal share by 2026 (Greater London Authority, 2011).

Cycling is seen as a mode of transport to be encouraged within London because of the health and traffic congestion benefits it brings, and the number of cyclists in London is increasing. The improvement of cyclist safety is seen as a key priority for TfL, as concerns about safety are a barrier to increasing cycling levels further.

Detailed analysis of cyclist fatalities has shown that of the 16 in 2011 in London, nine involved a heavy goods vehicle (HGV), and seven of these were construction vehicles. Given that the construction industry is responsible for only a small proportion of freight traffic in Great Britain and London this suggests that construction vehicles may be overrepresented in cyclist fatalities in London.

TfL commissioned TRL to undertake research aimed at understanding the following general themes around this issue:

• Is it possible to understand the relative risk represented by construction vehicles to cyclists, when compared with general haulage vehicles? If so, what is it? What are the limitations in the data available?

• Are there features of contractual arrangements, working practices, driver behaviour, or vehicle design (or combinations of these) that contribute to the apparent over-involvement of construction vehicles in fatal collisions with cyclists in London?

The research also aimed to identify measures that could be implemented to help reduce the number of such collisions.

The key findings were that road risk tends to be viewed as less important than general health and safety risk in the construction industry, and that clients and principal contractors on construction projects tend not to take responsibility for road risk in the same way that they do for general health and safety risk. A number of more specific findings are described, along with recommendations for action.

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