Merchant role in cycling safety

Published:  16 February, 2012

LONDON: Builders' merchants have a vital role in campaign to reduce cyclist fatalities.

The Cities fit for cycling campaign's manifesto calls for all lorries entering city centres to be fitted with sensors, turning alarms, mirrors and safety bars

The UK Contractors Group (UKCG), which represents a third of the UK's construction industry, is set to produce a strategy that could include greater safety measures to protect cyclists around building sites, lorries and vans.

The Cities fit for cycling campaign's manifesto calls for all lorries entering city centres to be fitted with sensors, turning alarms, mirrors and safety bars to stop cyclists being thrown under their wheels.

Stephen Ratcliffe, a director at UKCG, said that discussions were at an early stage, but it will look at issuing guidance notes to members and crucially to builders' merchants and suppliers.

Ratcliffe said ensuring the entire construction supply chain was ensuring safety was the key.

"It may be we issue a series of guidance notes, common-sense advise, or tell builders' merchants and suppliers that they must also be aware of the risk, and make sure their vehicles have sensor bars."

MPs have scheduled a Parliamentary debate next week to discuss the campaign, backed by The Times newspaper which has collected more than 25,000 written pledges of support.

The construction industry has also begun to look into the issue following a request from Peter Hendy, Transport for London's Transport Commissioner.

Hendy said in a letter that he was concerned about how many cycle fatalities often involved a goods vehicle.

The UKCG said the response from its members had been positive and it had a "receptive ear" to how better to ensure the safety of cyclists.

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