Friday, 24 May 2013

HGVs must step cycle-safety up a gear

With cyclists deaths at an all time high in London it’s hardly surprising that the London mayor has banned HGVs without cyclist safety measures such as vehicle camera systems. In fact, new statistics have shown that cyclist deaths have hit a five-year high.

A recent tragedy which brought the spate into the public eye was when a bike got caught under the wheels of a lorry when the cyclist and driver both turned left in rush hour traffic, killing the cyclist. The mid-thirties cyclist was pronounced dead at the scene.

There was a staggering 14 cyclists killed in London accidents, last year, with lorries causing over half of all cyclist deaths, despite them making up a small amount of the total traffic.

Many large companies and organisations are taking this very seriously now. Crossrail, the new £15bn rail construction project for London, are using a strict policy that all its contracted Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs) are fitted with such devices.

Andy Mitchell, Crossrail Programme Director said: “Crossrail sets high standards for lorries operating on the project and views the safety of all road users, including cyclists, as a significant priority.”

With more cyclists on the road than ever before, fleet managers are becoming increasingly aware that it’s time to step it up a gear and ensure that their vehicles are fully equipped to protect cyclists.

Mike Cavenett, from London Cycling Campaign, says: “The danger that lorries pose has to be the number one priority. We want lorries to be equipped with sensors or camera systems to help the drivers, and cyclist awareness training for every lorry driver in London.”

So what to do? The mayors proposed ‘cycle-safety measures’ for HGVs are actually quite easy to implement. It’s simple a matter of knowing what to install.

The next question is what equipment do you need to become more aware of cyclists and to make cyclists more aware of HGVs.

Well, the first thing to do is cover all the blindspots so that lorries can see all around their vehicles. 360° vehicle camera systems are the perfect way of achieving this. Some vehicle camera systems can even give drivers a bird’s eye view by merging an image (using the latest video software and four ultra wide angled cameras positioned around the vehicle).

In addition to vehicle camera systems, radars and alarms can be installed to alert the driver if cyclists get too close. Moreover visual and audible warnings can warn the cyclist as well. This is useful because cyclists also may not be concentrating or have distorted noise perception when they have headphones on.

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