13 Dec 2014

Truckies not impressed by cycle report

5:03 pm on 13 December 2014

The road freight industry says it has been unfairly targeted in a new report on cycle safety.

Cycle lanes were among recommendations to boost cycling and the safety of cyclists.

The panel's recommendations include better road infrastructure, appropriate speeds and improving behaviour. Photo: AFP

An average of nine cyclists a year die on the roads, and the report noted heavy vehicles were over-represented in cycling fatalities.

It recommended cycle safety programmes for truck drivers, and also recommends the mandatory equipping of trucks with sensors, cameras and special guards to prevent cyclists from coming into contact with lorry wheels.

The Road Transport Forum which represented freight companies, said overseas research suggested these would not be effective.

Chief executive of the Road Transport Forum, Ken Shirley said his industry was not part of the group which produced the report, and it showed.

"They have targeted, in a somewhat unbalanced way, the industry which is disproportionate to the number of accidents caused by heavy motor vehicles.

"Well over 50 percent of accidents with cyclists don't actually involve any motor vehicles, it's actually cyclists crashing themselves and yet they haven't done anything to adjust their behaviour."

He said heavy vehicle drivers felt like they had been treated as scapegoats.

However, cyclists rejected the suggestion by the road freight industry they were shirking their responsibility to be safe road users.

Project manager of the Cycling Advocates Network Patrick Morgan said that was a disappointing attitude.

"I think blaming the victim is not the way forward, we need to focus on quality infrastructure rather than just blaming a few people on bikes who have bad habits.

"Let's be really clear that the greatest risk to people on bikes doesn't come from themselves, it comes from poor infrastructure and poor driving habits."

Mr Morgan said he hoped the Government would act soon on the panel's recommendations.

Read the full report (PDF 1.9MB)