A “Trucks in the City” seminar — supported by two state bodies — will this morning include a guest speaker who said cyclists should “stop acting the victim” and “should pay insurance to use public roads”.
The seminar, entitled Trucks in the City, is aimed at highlighting “road safety issues surrounding trucks and the vulnerable road user in urban areas.”
Jacqueline O’Donovan, managing director of O’Donovan Waste Disposal spoke out after UK-based cycling groups were critical of “victim-blaming” safety campaigns which were viewed as putting most or all of the responsibility for safety around trucks onto cyclists.
Her comments also came after the mayor of London announced that thousands of trucks with poor visibility could be banned from London’s streets after the number of deaths of cyclists involved with collisions with trucks continued to mount last year.
In September, we reported how a study found that truck blind spots can range from “virtually none” to meters where cyclists are hidden from driver’s view.
A promo for the Dublin event — supported by both the Road Safety Authority and the Health and safety Authority — says that O’Donovan will be “providing an operator testimonial”.
Last year O’Donovan wrote an article asking “Should cyclists pay insurance to use public roads?”. In that article published on recyclingwasteworld.co.uk, she wrote: “Cyclist insurance is also paramount so that drivers are equally protected if there is a collision caused by cyclist error.”
O’Donovan said: “I would like to see bikes issued with an individual ID number, to enable behaviours to change due to repercussions of illegal acts, such as jumping red lights and allowing fines to be issued where necessary.”
Also last year, Commercial Fleet, a publication aimed at businesses with large truck and van fleets, quoted O’Donovan as saying that cycling groups are “spending too much time pointing the finger and not enough time on the issues that really matter when it comes to road safety”.
And she said: “Instead of playing the victim and moaning about the ‘Hang Back’ stickers on the back of lorries, cycling groups should be educating their members.”
Although, there are a number of things which she has said that cyclists might agree with, including the idea that cycling groups work with truck operators on safety campaigns and that cyclists should “limit headphones to one ear, so they can hear the audible warnings when a lorry is turning.” Although, truck turning audible warnings are not that common in Ireland.
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Explaining some cyclists’ annoyance at a recent UK campaigns directed towards cyclists, Duncan Dollimore, senior road safety and legal campaigns officer at Cycling UK, said: “The message appears to be that you wouldn’t intentionally put yourself in the middle of two colliding objects, so why would you put yourself on a bicycle between a turning lorry and a kerb.”
He adds: “You might not have chosen to put yourself in that position; the lorry might have overtaken you… the Department for Transport message at least implies that if you do, then it is your fault if something awful happens.”
In a promo for the event in Dublin today, Jarlath Sweeney of Fleet Transport, an Irish publication which is organising the event, said: “We have covered the Construction Logistics & Cyclists Safety (CLOCS) and the Fleet Operator Recognition Scheme (FORS) initiatives undertaken to date in London on a number of occasions and wish to outline what has been achieved in saving the lives of cyclists and pedestrians. ‘Trucks in the City’ will highlight the dangers and solutions over a series of presentations and open discussion.”
He added: “In light of recent incidents and fatalities involving vulnerable road users and trucks and with the construction industry in Dublin on the up again, I think the timing is right to raise the issue to the transport industry in general and get a feel for a similar type of implementation here. Other sectors featured include city/town distribution, parcel couriers, utilities and city and local authorities, waste removal etc.”
The event will also host a display of trucks designed to be safer in urban areas, as well as equipment aimed at reducing blind spots in trucks.
The event is to be chaired by Superintendent Con O’Donohue of the Garda Traffic Corp and is set to be presentations by the Health & Safety Authority; Road Safety Authority; Transport for London; CLOCS – (Construction Logistics & Cyclist Safety); FORS – (Fleet Operator Recognition Scheme); and Construction Industry Federation.