The Construction Industry Gets on its Bike

The Construction Industry Gets on its Bike

13th May 2015

Cycling to work is on the rise, especially in the larger cities here in the UK.  We’re all looking for greener ways of getting around, especially when it comes to the daily commute.  According to the latest statistics, the increase in cycling has led to an 8% increase in cycling related deaths on our roads and steps are now underway to reduce the number of construction vehicle related collisions.

The issue of urban cycling fatalities was brought to prominence following four cyclist deaths in London this year that involved a collision with a lorry.  This seems to be a growing trend and there are more than 3.500 cyclists killed or seriously injured on our roads every year.  When the figures are studied more closely, it appears that a disproportionate number of accidents involve a collision with a heavy goods vehicle of some sort.  Construction vehicles, in particular, have been found to be featuring in these accidents which is alarming news for the construction industry. 

In 2012, in a direct response to the previous year’s fatality figures, Transport for London (TfL) commissioned an independent review of the construction industry’s transport activities in order to discover what causes these collisions and what can be done to prevent them in the future.  The report titled “Construction Logistics and Cyclist Safety” (CLOCS) was published last February by the Transport Research Laboratory with the key finding that road risks are predominantly viewed as of lesser importance than general health and safety risks by the construction industry.  Both principal contractors and clients failed to take responsibility for road risk on their own sites in the same way as they do for general health and safety risks

The rise in urban cycling coupled with the increased movement of construction vehicles in coming years means that this is an issue that urgently needs addressing.  There is pressure to find solutions that will allow these two different road user groups (cyclists and construction vehicles) to use our roads safely and avoid the tragedy of road deaths.

Now, the construction logistics industry, backed by TfL, has come up with a coordinated response and a commitment to change.  Identifying three main work streams to improve road safety, the construction industry is determined to revolutionise the management of work-related road risk and embed a culture of road safety across the UK’s construction sector.

There are three main focuses on improving vehicle safety:

  • Improving vehicle safety.
  • Addressing the imbalance between the way in which on-site and on-road safety are managed.
  • Encouraging the adoption of best practice across the construction industry with common national standards.

The CLOCS standard is a recognised code of practice providing operators with information on how to best manage their road risk.  CLOCS also provides a suite of tools, initiatives and advice to enable operators to meet these standards.  The CLOCS toolkit can be used in conjunction with the CLOCS manager collision reporting tool, which is a free online database that enables fleet managers to log, report, analyse and investigate collisions in order to identify where improvements can be made.