We are being told more and more to get out of our cars and take up walking and cycling.
Whilst this has many positive outcomes, it also makes it more likely that cyclists and pedestrians will be injured or even killed in road traffic collisions.
We know there are a high number of construction vehicles involved in collisions with vulnerable road users, these are vehicles used on building sites such as cement mixers or tipper trucks.
For example between 2013 and 2015 – 477 people were killed or seriously injured by an HGV; 40% of these were pedestrians, 25% were cyclists and 35% were motorcyclists. It is believed that around 40 of these were due specifically to construction vehicles.
But there is something that can be done. We want all construction companies to become Construction Logistics and Community Safety Scheme – CLOCS – champions.
What is CLOCS?
CLOCS (Construction Logistics and Community Safety) is a scheme developed in 2013 by Transport for London (TFL) and members of the construction industry to improve the safety standards of construction vehicles on our roads.
The aim is to prevent cyclist, pedestrian and motorcyclist deaths or serious injuries, and prevent accompanying trauma for the families, the driver and the witnesses involved.
There are a number of ways in which CLOCS protects cyclists and pedestrians, including:
- ensuring that construction vehicles are driven past areas where lots of vulnerable people are walking or cycling – like schools – with even more care and attention than normally required for safe urban driving
- ensuring that vehicles have all the safety equipment required to protect cyclists, pedestrians and motorcyclists. Including audible warnings, side-under protection, warning signs, and blind spots minimised with mirrors and sensors/cameras, ensuring that vehicles are run by quality assured, responsible fleet operators and checked to ensure vehicles and drivers are compliant at construction site gates
The Impact Of Lorry Danger
Victoria Lebrec lost her leg in a collision with an HGV whilst cycling in 2014.
Cynthia Barlow’s daughter Alex was tragically killed by a left-turning cement mixer whilst cycling at the age of 26.
Belinda Baxter’s marriage broke down after a collision with an HGV in 1997 which nearly killed her.
Iris’ partner Lidia was killed by a left turning HGV in May 2013. She tells us her story in her own words:
‘The police showed up at my workplace to inform me of Lidia’s death. The whole experience was both surreal and shocking to have police show up to inform you of a loved one’s death.
Shock, denial and then pure anger, anguish and grief.
I felt total disbelief at what the police said to me, I had to ask them several times if they had the information right, and it was in fact Lidia. I felt shock and denial initially, until it finally sank in. Then pure rage and anger, mixed with grief and trauma.
Lidia was on a 50cc moped on London Road near Forest Hill. There was a HGV carrying copper pipes, making a left hand turn. She was caught in the HGV’s blind spot.
It was the all too common incident of being unseen by the driver making a left hand turn, and Lidia being caught in the blind spots of the HGV.
It completely changed my life and the person I now am. At the time I was consumed with grief and trauma, not wanting to live and wondering how I would go on in life.
I felt broken as a person, as a soul. And it changed all the plans we had for our future.
Now I have a different life, to the one I imagined. I see and treat life so differently now, my attitudes to life have changed. I don’t make plans anymore, try and live more in the moment. Life is so precious, but also so unpredictable. So now I try and live and enjoy my life to the full, while always honouring Lidia’s memory and her life by living my own to its fullest.
CLOCS And The Industry
There are now over 600 CLOCS champions from the construction industry, but with over 300,000 working across the UK, there’s still a way to go.
RoadPeace have teamed up with Cemex UK to demonstrate the benefit of CLOCS for the construction industry and to call upon other operators to follow their lead.
Why Is CLOCS Good For The Construction Industry?
Aside from the moral duty to protect other human beings, there are a number of benefits to the construction industry:
- No driver wants to be involved in a collision – be it fatal, serious or otherwise. This can have serious consequences for them mentally and physically, mean long periods of time off work and possibility even giving up driving altogether. CLOCS helps the construction industry to protect their employees.
- CLOCS future proofs vehicles. Legislation is moving to protect vulnerable road users and there are new legal requirements which operators have to adhere to. For example TFL are rating lorries with the Direct Vision Standard from 0 to 5 star based on how much drivers can see out of their vehicles. Signing up to CLOCS mitigates the risk of having to upgrade an entire fleet as new legislation comes in.
- The safety of vehicles inevitably affects insurance premiums as crashes are less likely to occur.
- Procurement departments for construction projects may increasingly feel more comfortable utilising CLOCS approved contractors as awareness of the scheme rises. For example as more Councils join the scheme they will be encouraged to only use CLOCS approved companies for their construction work