September 17, 2019

LGV drivers and cyclists swap wheels for road safety week

Ford’s Transport Operations team and the London Cycling Campaign (LCC) have collaborated in a ‘changing places’ initiative launched as part of Road Safety Week.

Part of Ford’s ‘Share the Road’ campaign, the collaboration has brought the company’s ‘WheelSwap’ VR experience – which allows motorists to experience a journey from a cyclist’s perspective, and vice versa – to life.

Nationally, 16 per cent of cyclist deaths are caused by LGVs. While 75 per cent of LGV mileage is on non-built up roads, over the past three years, LGVs have been involved in 70 per cent of cyclist fatalities in London, despite making up only four per cent of the capital’s road miles.

The WheelSwap activity included Tom Bogdanowicz, senior policy and development officer, LCC, swapping perspectives with three drivers and driver trainers from the Ford Transport Operations team. In the LGV, the conversation between the two road users focused on the vision of the driver – and situations where a cyclist is and is not visible, keeping the appropriate two-metre distance when passing a cyclist and ensuring LGV drivers do not enter ‘bike boxes’.

“LCC is working with TfL and industry to help new lorry designs with fewer blind spots become the norm,” said Ashok Sinha. “But even then, it remains important that LGV drivers and cyclists take simple steps to put themselves in each other’s shoes and help avoid collisions. Programmes like ‘WheelSwap’ and ‘Safer Urban Driving’ help achieve this and we encourage more drivers and cyclists to take part in them.”

When cycling, the focus turned to road position, and understanding why cyclists may be riding centrally in the road to avoid potholes or ‘dooring’ from a parked vehicle, particularly on a narrow street. Road infrastructure was also discussed, with the suggestion that routes could be appraised to reduce the incidence of collisions.

“Having a change of perspectives was certainly insightful “said Andrew Main, driver trainer, Ford Transport Operations team and DVSA instructor. “A greater understanding of the reasons behind cyclists’ actions is very helpful for an LGV driver as we decide on how to approach certain situations.”

Ford, and its Transport Operations team, will be taking these messages into local schools during Road Safety Week with the WheelSwap VR experience and a static LGV activity.