A prototype Large Goods Vehicle (LGV) currently under evaluation by Select Plant in London, and featuring safety features that help protect vulnerable road users such as cyclists, has been enthusiastically received at a road safety conference organised by Transport for London.
Road safety for all users in London, but particularly cyclists, is under scrutiny following a rise in the number of fatalities over recent months, many relating to traffic accidents involving LGVs.
A new concept truck demonstrated
Select demonstrated a concept Mercedes tipper truck to conference delegates, which includes a new cab design for the construction industry, allowing the driver greatly improved vision into the otherwise ‘blind’ area. The cab is also set 18 inches lower than traditional tippers, making a significant improvement to the driver’s vision of the front nearside area close to the truck, where pedestrians or cyclists cannot typically be seen easily otherwise.
Mark Starosolsky, Logistics Leader for Select – part of the Laing O’Rourke group – presented to the City Hall event, highlighting several of the safety features currently fitted to LGVs by Select, including CCTV cameras, sensors and audible alerts. These attachments and modifications are made to each vehicle after delivery, and Mark called for all LGV manufacturers to incorporate the new design, as well as simple safety attachments, into the basic truck specifications.
Industry must come together
“New LGVs represent a significant investment for operators, and it seems absurd to then immediately need to attach additional items to improve safety for vulnerable road users,” said Mr Starosolsky. “Designs have not significantly changed in many years, and there is a critical need to overhaul the basic concepts, to help ensure safety measures are not optional extras, but a fundamental part of every vehicle’s specification. Improvements will come through a combination of improved training for drivers, and the application of better designs, and technology. We intend to work collaboratively with operators and manufacturers to innovate new cab designs, that offer improved visibility”
Paul McNerney, Managing Director of Select said, “Transport Commissioner for London, Sir Peter Hendy, has personally examined our prototype, and given his strongest possible support and encouragement for our trial of this new concept vehicle. As one of the UK’s largest operators in the construction logistics sector, we are committed to continuing to invest in vehicle fleets that offer the best possible safety features for all road users. The toll of injuries and fatal accidents is a terrible price to pay, and these relatively straightforward improvements can make a significant difference. As renewals fall due, I will be ensuring that our future investment will be channelled towards vehicles of this type.”
Training for safety
In parallel with the concept vehicle, Select has been working with the Metropolitan Police in London to raise awareness of the dangers of large vehicles amongst the cycling community. The company has supported early morning events at key city centre locations where cyclists are encouraged to sit in the trucks’ cabs and see for themselves the visibility from the drivers’ point of view. All Select LGV drivers are also taking part in vulnerable user awareness courses, giving them experience of cycling in city traffic. Both groups have found the initiatives surprising and highly informative.