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  • Vans – be aware of cyclists

    April 07, 2017

  • Last year the number of vans on UK roads topped four million for the first time, and demand for vans is growing at record levels. At the same time, cycling has also been increasing in popularity.

    The ONS reports that 4.2 million people now cycle at least once a week. These two groups need to share our roads, and it’s important for both that they do so safely.

    The safety challenge

    Many of Britain's city centres are based on road structures that date back to the Victorian era and earlier, so we are all regularly using routes that aren’t designed to cope with such high volumes of traffic. In this situation, van drivers and cyclists have a responsibility to consider road safety and stay on the look-out for each other.

    However, in the event of an accident it is much more likely that a cyclist will come off worse. In 2013 alone, 109 cyclists were killed on the road and 3,143 were seriously injured; almost 25% of those harmed were children. That’s not something any road user wants on their conscience.

    Protecting yourself

    Driving safely isn’t just about doing the right thing and having concern for other road users. It’s also about protecting your vehicle and reducing risks to your business. If you’re at fault for an accident, you may be liable for injuries or damages, and that could mean serious costs and penalties for you and your business.

    Some 41% of van drivers told us that other road users are one of the main causes of driving-related stress. Increasing awareness of cyclists, and knowing how to share the road with other vehicles, helps to make work driving less stressful too.

    Improving awareness

    Making minor changes to driving habits and questioning some of your routines can have a significant impact when it comes to road safety. For example:

    • Leave plenty of room. Giving cars and cyclists extra space gives them room for manoeuvre and improves your sight lines.
    • Watch the road. Potholes aren't just a problem for your suspension, cyclists may also swerve to avoid them.
    • Account for the weather. Wind and rain affect cyclists more than cars and vans, so be cautious if you need to overtake in poor weather.
    • Watch for hotspots. Junctions, roundabouts and narrow streets with parked cars are especially dangerous for cyclists; keep an eye out for vehicles and blind spots that could obscure them.
    • Rest regularly. Van drivers are 23% more likely to crash because of tiredness than other drivers. Take a break to stay alert.

    Nonetheless, accidents do happen and drivers must be prepared. For information on how to protect your van and your business, visit AXA’s van insurance page today.

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