Archive for May, 2013

What’s behind the rise in cyclist deaths?

Friday, May 24th, 2013

More cyclists have died in recent years than ever before so it’s no wonder equipment like vehicle camera systems and radar-based solutions are becoming more popular with HGVs.

In London 50% of all cyclist deaths involve lorries, which only comprise about 5% of traffic. A high number of these occur when left turning trucks crush cyclists.

Charlie Lloyd, the campaigns officer for the London Cycling Campaign (LCC), says lorries, especially construction trucks, were also disproportionately involved in the deaths of pedestrians and motorcyclists.

He also said certain traffic was more to blame than others:

“Worst of all is the tipper companies, which tend to be smaller. A lot of them are owner-drivers, or subcontractors to subcontractors.

“It’s a problem the police are aware of but they can realistically only look at it after there’s been a crash. They don’t have the resources to stop lorries and check records against invoices.”

One solution has been to make freight companies keep to certain safety standards before they win contracts. Crossrail and, more widely, Transport for London are already doing this.

Boris Johnson, the mayor, has even called for a ban on HGVs with no cycle-safety measures in the capital.

Companies across the country should start following Crossrail’s example and fit their vehicles with cycle safety equipment to ensure cycles are being kept safe.

Crossrail requirements include that HGVs are fitted with a vehicle camera, blind spot detection, which warns the driver when a cyclist is in the near-side blind spot, and under-run guards to stop cyclists coming into contact with lorry wheels.

Vehicles must also carry warning signs to alert cyclists and pedestrians of the risks they face by getting too close to HGVs.

We recommend installing a 360° vehicle camera system around a lorry. In particular, one that uses the latest video software to merge the images of four wide angle reversing cameras together and create a single bird’s eye view of the whole vehicle.

That way, drivers can easily see cyclists coming on their monitor and blindspots will not hinder you.

Of course, it’s also important to install the radar based warning systems too, ones that warns both the driver and cyclist.