With six cycling-related deaths in thirteen days in London it is clear that something is fundamentally wrong with cycling in the capital. Jacqueline O’Donovan, managing director of waste disposal company, O’Donovan Waste Disposal, which controls a fleet of London-based HGV vehicles, gives advice on how to make London safer for everybody.
“As the first independent company to win the Transport for London FORS Gold Standard accreditation O’Donovan is aware of the issues surrounding cycling in London. Although it is important not to point the blame when a tragedy occurs, it is imperative that solutions are devised to stop the same thing happening again. In order to make cycling safer in London, and throughout the UK, there needs to be a combined effort from cyclists and drivers to take necessary safety precautions.
“Cyclists need to be aware that being easily seen is the best form of prevention. HGV’s and buses often have very poor visibility around their vehicle so it is important that cyclists wear high visibility clothing and have both front and rear lights. In the event of an accident a helmet can also be life saving.
“However the responsibility also falls to drivers and businesses. HGV’s are a major cause of cyclists’ deaths and HGV fleets need to ensure their drivers and vehicles are as safe as possible. As a company, O’Donovan has invested in excess of £5,000 per vehicle on safety items, going far beyond the industry norm.
“The HGV industry needs to work in conjunction with Transport for London (TFL) to improve the safety of vulnerable road users, like cyclists. O’Donovan has implemented a company driver training plan and regularly runs exchanging places events which allow cyclists and drivers to gain an understanding of the difficulties facing one another.
“The message is clear; the responsibility of making London a safe place falls to everyone. HGV and bus companies need to work in conjunction with the TFL to ensure they are taking all of the necessary safety precautions, whilst at the same time; cyclists need to make sure that they too are not putting themselves in harm’s way.”