Truck transport group wants headphones banned in public, cyclists to undergo training, and penalty points for poor cycling

The boss of a truck transport association has told the Oireachtas Transport Committee that headphones should be banned on public roads for pedestrians and cyclists, cyclists should wear helmets and high-vis, and that cyclists should undergo training and receive penalty points for breaking the law.

According to BreakingNews.ie, Verona Murphy, the president of the Irish Road Haulage Association, told the Oireachtas committee that all of this would be from a “road safety perspective”.
Murphy’s comments come the day after University College Dublin publicised a study which found that truck drivers often did not even known they had knocked down a pedestrian or cyclist until they were stopped.

Professor Anne Drummond of the School of Public Health, Physiotherapy and Sports Science st  University College Dublin, who led the study team, said: “The most striking depositions are those in which drivers of large vehicles were largely unaware of the collision with a pedestrian or a cyclist, until they were halted by a witness further on in their journey.”

“These situations could almost certainly be reduced by introducing measures to increase visibility in and around sections of large working vehicles traditionally known as ‘blind spots’ and improving the awareness among pedestrians and cyclists of such blind spots,” she added.

“With increasing volumes of traffic, including work related traffic, these findings should be of real concern to road safety, public health, occupational health and regulatory authorities,” said Professor Drummond.

Irish Rail have also many times in recent years highlighted how truck drivers regularly run into well-marked railway bridges. It is also unclear how helmets would help in truck/bicycle fatal collisions which often result in crushing of cyclist.

BreakingNews.ie quoted Murphy as having said: “The provisions in relation to cycling should be made around the safety of the cyclist from the perspective of protecting themselves – helmets, hi-vis jackets.”

She said: “Cyclists will take risks that we don’t encourage, we can’t do anything about them, the visibility from a truck is restricted.”

The news website also reports Murphy as stating that cyclists should have to pass a test and get  “penalty points for bad practices.”

The stance from the Irish Road Haulage Association follows the “Trucks in the City” seminar in January — an event supported by two state bodies but which included a guest speaker from London who previously written that cyclists should “stop acting the victim” and “should pay insurance to use public roads”. 

11 Comments

  1. It is unbelievable and verging on criminal that these bigotted, insensitive views are allowed to be expressed publicly and unchallenged!?

  2. **the visibility from a truck is restricted**

    Err, sounds like those trucks shouldn’t be allowed on public roads then!!!

    As president of the Irish Association for Chainsaw Juggling in Childrens’ Playgrounds, I hope to give a briefing to the Oireachtas soon, on why it’s essential for young children to properly protect themselves when our members are engaged in our god-given chainsaw juggling rights. We at the IACJCP will be insisting that all children wear one-inch thick steel plating over all their body surfaces. Failing that they should not be allowed in the playgrounds where our members will be juggling.

  3. Excellent point brilliantly made!

  4. Really self-serving guff from IRHA! Stark reality is the cab design is not suitable for operation of semi-trailers and rigid HGVs in congested urban areas. Address that road safety issue that maims and kills cyclists.
    Why were cyclists not represented at this hearing?

  5. So if I drive a truck which I know to be unsafe because of blind spots I am not responsible for damage I do. Truck drivers don’t need headphones to isolate them from the outside world,it would be hard for a cyclist to get their attention by any noise they could make. Maybe we need a lump hammer with a 1.5 metre handle to remind truckers what the passing distance is.

  6. As Verona Murphy (IHRA) put it herself “the visibility from a truck is restricted”. Quite so in an massive understatement.
    This salient fact raises a few concerns in relation to safety of cyclists and other VRUs.
    Why are road authorities permitting them to ply willy-nilly into every congested urban area in the country.
    Why is Dublin City the sole road authority with a permit system? [And why is it only for 5+-axle rigs and essentially not properly enforced?]
    Why are operators not compelled to have a co-driver present in the cab to assist the driver while making deliveries (acting as a spotter and flag-man)?

  7. I am unable to find a podcast of that presentation on Oireachtas TV. No Transport Committee meeting since 1 March! http://oireachtasdebates.oireachtas.ie/debates%20authoring/debateswebpack.nsf/committeebasebyyear/2017?opendocument

  8. When truck drivers are not aware that they have struck another road user it is clear that either the vehicle they are driving or they themselves are not fit for purpose. I attended the seminar Trucks in the City and saw that the design trend is towards vehicles with better visibility but it will be a slow process and in the meantime the trucking industry is playing for time by blaming the victim. There are behavioural issues relating to all road users which would reduce accident rate but the fact is, certainly based on the tfl presentation at the seminar, that HGVs are over represented in the accident stats and construction related HGVs particularly so.

  9. As a cyclist, what is really damning about this article is that it is talking about what other road users should be doing, whilst not looking to address the short comings of a trucks inability to be totally safe on the road and be respectful of other road users on the road. How about it being compulsory for trucks to have mirrors that give them total visability around their vehicles. Or sensors to tell them that they are too close to other road users. Or a compulsory hands free attachment for their mobile phones (I have to say doing 10000 miles a year on the road truck/lorry drivers are the most frequent abusers of using mobile phones).

    Having said all of this, I can understand and appreciate all the comments this person has made about Cyclists making themselves more safer on the road. Yes having a helmet, can’t lead to a cyclist not being knocked down, but it could possibly save th cyclists life through reduction of impact to the head. Not wearing ear phones can lead to a heightened appreciation of what is behind you, leading to a head check, and the vehicle becoming more aware of you, leading to a safer pass. (Unfortunately a deaf cyclist is robbed of that sense, but that should not be an excuse for a person who can hear making themselves like a deaf person).

    I suppose it is easy for me to say these things, as I adhere to most if not all including through CI membership, having insurance.

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