Sainsbury’s designs lorry to be safer for cyclists

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Sainsbury’s has unveiled a lorry designed to be safer for cyclists – it has 360 degree monitors, extra side lighting for road users at night and low side guards.

The move coincides with launch of a consultation by London Mayor Boris Johnson on the Safer Lorries Scheme, which would see lorries without side guards and safety mirrors banned from London’s streets from early next year.

The retailer came up with the design in collaboration with Solomon and Mercedes. Sainsbury’s retail & operations director Roger Burnley said: ‘This is an important step in our work to make London’s roads safer. We’ve put an enormous amount of thought and research into creating a truck that we hope will be the safest on the road – for all road users.”

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The truck has video technology in the cab giving 360 degree vision of the surrounding road; proximity sensors down the sides of the lorry that beep to alert the driver to other road users; side guard extensions and reflective infills to help stop cyclists from falling under the vehicle; more indicators along the sides to increase awareness that the truck is turning; and more down lights along the sides that glow at night, giving the driver more visibility of road users in the dark.

There is also a warning sticker to alert road users that they are in the driver’s blind spot; and a tail lift operation warning. There would also be further driver training on higher safety standards in the truck.

‪The Safer Lorries Scheme will use a combination of powers held by TfL and London Boroughs. Every vehicle in London over 3.5 tonnes will have to be fitted with sideguards to protect cyclists from being dragged under the wheels in the event of a collision. It will also require them to be fitted with mirrors giving the driver a better view of cyclists and pedestrians around their vehicles. ‪

The ban would operate across London 24 hours a day, seven days a week, covering the same area as the London Low Emission Zone. It would be enforced by on-street enforcement and, in the future, could move to CCTV cameras subject to further approval by the Department for Transport and London boroughs. ‪

Speaking at the launch of the consultation, which runs until 22nd September, Boris Johnson, said: “I have long been worried that a large number of cyclist deaths involve a relatively small number of problem lorries which are not fitted with safety equipment. My Safer Lorries Scheme would see those lorries effectively banned from our streets and the lives of thousands of cyclists and pedestrians would be much safer as a result.

“Vehicles that would be affected by this scheme can easily be retrofitted to comply and doing so will save lives. Companies such as Sainsbury’s and O’Donovan are already leading the way when it comes to cyclist safety and I urge others to follow suit.”

Transport commissioner Sir Peter Hendy said: “The proposed Safer Lorries Scheme is a further demonstration of how London is working with the freight industry to drive up safety standards. Many vehicles in London will already comply with this scheme, but by forcing the dangerous minority to follow suit, we can ensure that everyone is doing what they can to help make our roads as safe as possible.” ‪

Under national legislation, many HGVs must already be fitted with safety equipment. However, construction lorries, tipper trucks, waste vehicles, cement mixers and certain other forms of HGV are currently exempt from having sideguards fitted. HGVs registered before 2000 are also exempt from the requirement to have extended view mirrors fitted.

* The Freight Transport Association has welcomed the changes that have been made in improving the design of the London Safer Lorry Scheme, however it said that the blanket regulations of this type have their limitations and that other approaches would have better results in improving cyclist safety.

Christopher Snelling, FTA’s head of urban logistics policy, said: “Good progress has been made since the concept was announced last September. We have moved away from a £200 a day charging scheme and now some of the necessary exemptions have been incorporated in to the SLS proposals”.

It argues that the best use of Transport for London’s time and money as regards HGVs would be to maintain a higher level of enforcement against poor quality operators who break the existing laws.

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