How to do: Exchanging Places

3 Dec 2018

‘Exchanging places’ is a tool to help people, particularly pedestrians and cyclists see the road from the perspective of a lorry driver.  It’s a valuable experience to understand just what can and cannot be seen when you’re sitting in the cab of a lorry and how many mirrors and cameras a driver is checking continually during the whole of each journey. 

Organising ‘exchanging places ‘events is a powerful way for CLOCS Champions to demonstrate their commitment to keeping communities around developments safe. We asked Adrian Boughtflower FCILT, Associate Director how Mace Group arrange their events. He shared a simple ‘checklist’ with considerations that can be tailored appropriately to the scale and size of the event.

Audience – who are you targeting?  Is it the local community or is it more specific such as a school that is in close proximity to the construction site?  This will determine the type of set up required with the latter being less intensive.

Date – agree a date to hold the event, one that is far enough in advance to enable you to get co-sponsors and partners in place and to organise all that is needed.

Co-sponsors & partners – who wants to be involved, who needs to be involved. 

  • The minimum requirement is for a suitable lorry and an experienced driver.
  • For larger events, you could also involve the police for their obvious expertise as well as their ability to provide advice on general security and theft prevention
  • You could also invite along a cycle support organisation that can provide vehicle maintenance and general advice, and if the police can’t offer it, anti-theft marking.
  • It is also a good idea to engage with someone to provide incentives to encourage people to get involved (see below).

Location – find a suitable location that will enable you to set out your vehicle for the exchanging places and get the owner’s approval. 

  • Choose an area that is heavily utilised by pedestrians and cyclists to get as big an audience as possible.
  • You can include a mat to show where the blind spots are in the front and to the side of the vehicle.
  • You may also need space to provide for those who are supporting the event such as an area for a small gazebo or to set up trestle tables to use.

Advertising – doesn’t need to be an expensive process but it is important to let people know that it is happening in that location at that particular date in time.  You should also put signage out on the route on the day as a catch all for everyone using the route.

Incentives – whilst these are not always required it is a good idea to have some ‘bait’ with which to hook your targets.  These can be as simple as providing hi-vis slap wraps to free bike lights, to free hot drinks and snacks. The provision of free security marking and free bike servicing is also a great idea if you can get it.

Volunteers – crucial piece of the jigsaw, without them you will struggle to manage and coordinate those that come to the event.  They can also stand by the roadside to encourage people to stop and drop by.

We’d like to see a lot more Champions including 'exchanging places events' in their Implementation/Communication Plans.  We’ll have more about schools engagement next month.