Volker and Hackney truckers go cyclist-friendly

© VolkerHighways

IF YOU have ever ridden a bike in London, especially in Hackney, with its high cycle-injury rate, you’ll probably have thought at some time: “If only lorry drivers could be made to see the view from a bicycle.”

Behind a safety award just given to a highways contractor is a story of its coming to pass, thanks to a Hackney cyclist group.

Heavy goods vehicle (HGV) drivers and  London Cycling Campaign’s Hackney team, along with the police and the council, have been working together to prevent accidents between lorry drivers and cyclists.

VolkerHighways is the name you often see on HGVs rumbling around the borough because the firm maintains highways for Hackney. And Volker (enough of the stuck-together names) won the award in the Considerate Constructors Scheme.

The roads contractor has been working with Hackney cyclists, the council and the police on schemes

Trevor Parsons, Hackney co-ordinator of London Cycling Campaign, said that Volker had contacted Hackney LCC about trying to stop staff being injured by traffic while working on streets in the borough. Then, he explained, “we started talking to Volker about cycling, too.

Trevor Parsons playing with Cleo Sylvestre's band at Rosemary Branch Islington 270215 © DavidAltheer@gmail.com
Beating the drum for cycling: Trevor Parsons

“Soon their site inspectors were cycling – and enjoying it – and they joined us on the Hackney HGV Safety Working Group.

“One result was a new urban driving course, which includes practical experience of cycling on-street, and I’m delighted that everyone who drives large vehicles for Volker, as well as for the council, has now been through that course.”

Volker said that some employees had not been on a bike for 30 years and had a negative view of cyclists. But during training their attitude improved and they gained an understanding of cyclists’ body language and why cyclists chose certain road positions.

The award won by Volker was only a bronze, but the firm aims to do better next year. Mark Mascar, VolkerHighways project manager, adds: “We are constantly striving to improve the image of the industry… we have been encouraged to improve year on year.”

Hamish Scott 050414 

* Emboldened underscored words in most cases indicate a hyperlink, a reader service rare among websites. If a link does not work, it is probably because the site to which the URL refers has not been maintained.

* Top: VolkerHighways (yuk, that linked-word attempt to make a roads firm cool) supplied the picture but no names of those in it. 

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One thought on “Volker and Hackney truckers go cyclist-friendly

  1. Your assertion that Hackney has a “high cycle-injury rate” is incorrect and will mislead.

    The absolute number is high, but this is in large part because the number of cyclists is also high in comparison with other boroughs. If there are more cyclists, there will be more cycling casualties.

    Other boroughs have lower numbers of cycle casualties because they have lower numbers of cyclists.

    So that first sentence needs correcting.

    I do not know what you mean by “The absolute number is high” but presumably you mean that the number is high – as Scott states.

    Incidentally, the reference is hyperlinked for readers who want the source.

    Your claim about the reason seems credible, but no more than that, because you provide no proof of a link between casualties and the high cycle-injury rate. It could be caused by any of many factors, including the lack of segregated bike lanes, traffic volumes, average vehicle speeds, the fitness of cyclists, all of which vary throughout the boroughs… oh, there are myriad factors.

    And if you consider Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Munich and other cities with more cyclists per overall populations, the injury rate, far from being higher, as your logic would insist, is lower than in Hackney.

    This site last year reported the survey (at http://lovingdalston.co.uk/?p=12254), on which you base your note of high borough numbers for cyclists. You said that was because of council policies and for that too you offered no proof of a correlation.

    As a councillor you will have heard the phrase “lies damned lies and statistics”. Regardless of what you choose to do with surveys about cycling, it is obvious you are doing your best to make cycling more popular and safer, for which, I am sure, every sensible Hackney citizen will thank you. – Ed.

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