MPA Launches Policy to Protect Vulnerable Road Users
Transport Minister, Stephen Hammond MP, has praised the Mineral Products Association (MPA) for its new Vulnerable Road User Safety Policy which was launched on Wednesday 31 October at a joint National Cycle Safe Event with the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group at Wellington Arch, Hyde Park Corner, London. The event also showcased the Metropolitan Police’s Exchanging Places initiative, supported by MPA, whereby large numbers of passing cyclists were able to experience visibility issues first hand from inside the cab of the four Large Goods Vehicles (LGVs) – provided by Hanson UK, Lafarge Aggregates, S. Walsh & Sons and Tarmac – to find out where to position themselves safely on the road in relation to lorries.
Stephen Hammond MP said, “I am pleased to support the Mineral Products Association Vulnerable Road User campaign. It is an excellent initiative, taking practical steps to reduce accidents through changing the behaviour of cyclists and drivers.
“We always need to look for new ways of protecting vulnerable road users like cyclists and that is exactly what this campaign does.”
MPA’s Policy forms part of the Association’s Cycle Safe campaign and Strategy which was launched in June 2011 to prevent collisions between cyclists and lorries. The MPA policy has three key elements:
1. All industry drivers must receive vulnerable road user training. The industry training body has developed a specific course which will be CPC approved and available shortly.
2. New industry LGVs must be fitted with additional safety equipment including blind spot elimination devices and mirrors, side under-run guards, audible left turn warnings for cyclists and pedestrians, and rear warning signs.
3. Existing industry LGVs must be fitted with similar equipment levels within an extended 5 year period with operators encouraged to consider accelerating this timing.
MPA’s position is that there is joint responsibility for road safety. National and central government must ensure that roads and junctions are designed for safety and properly maintained, LGV operators and drivers must take action to minimize the risk of collisions and Cyclists and other vulnerable road users must behave responsibly.
Nigel Jackson, Chief Executive MPA, said, “We believe that our policy is the most positive initiative taken by any sector with regard to improving vulnerable road user safety and reflects the industry’s commitment to this issue.
“This is not a campaign for a day, or a week, or a month, this is forever. This issue is not going to go away. We are going to play our part and we hope others will do likewise.
“MPA will continue to work with partners in the construction and freight industries, local and national Government and cycling and other organisations to improve safety. We believe it is essential that all interested parties must work together so that effective, consistent and proportionate strategies and measures are implemented. MPA is committed to playing its part in minimising hazards and risks for all road users and our members want to be at the forefront of helping to improve road safety.”
The background to this policy initiative is the continuing growth in the number of cyclists, particularly in urban areas, and consequently the increased risks of collisions between cyclists and motor vehicles, including lorries. MPA’s Cycle Safe campaign helps to raise awareness on both sides of how to cycle and drive as safely as possible and highlights the potential risks of undertaking lorries and getting too close to them at left-hand turns and roundabouts.
Cyclist safety is an important issue not just in London and urban areas, but nationally. In recent months, the issue has moved up the public and political agenda with Team GB’s cycling success at the Olympics encouraging more people to take to their bicycles and raising the profile of the sport; and the launch of The Times newspaper’s Cities Fit for Cycling campaign, which has galvanized action to make the roads safer for cyclists.
Following the outdoors event at Wellington Arch, a meeting with the Transport Minister was held at the House of Commons on cycle safety issues. Those in attendance at the launch event included Chief Superintendent Scott Wilson from the Metropolitan Police, cycling body representatives, road safety campaigners, LGV drivers, industry and motoring representatives, MPs, a London Assembly representative and officials from Transport for London.
The Mineral Products Association (MPA) is the trade association for the aggregates, asphalt, cement, concrete, dimension stone, lime, mortar and silica sand industries. With the recent addition of The British Precast Concrete Federation (BPCF) and the British Association of Reinforcement (BAR), it has a growing membership of 465 companies and is the sectoral voice for mineral products. MPA membership is made up of the vast majority of independent SME companies throughout the UK, as well as the 9 major international and global companies. It covers 100% of GB cement production, 90% of aggregates production, 95% of asphalt and ready-mixed concrete production and 70% of precast concrete production. Each year the industry supplies £9 billion of materials and services to the £120 billion construction and other sectors. Industry production represents the largest materials flow in the UK economy and is also one of the largest manufacturing sectors. For more information visit: www.mineralproducts.org