Cycle Safety Shield technology to be rolled out on Ealing lorries

Cycle Safety Shield

Collision avoidance technology is to be rolled out on Ealing Council’s fleet of Large Goods Vehicles (LGVs), the City of London, Hackney and some council contractors are also implementing these sensors. This is a significant victory for London Cycling Campaign's ongoing Safer Lorries project. The Cycle Safety Shield system recognises pedestrians, cyclists and motorcycles and warns the driver if a collision is about to occur by way of a flashing and audio alert. By filtering out other objects, the system eliminates unnecessary distractions for the driver. 

Trials in Ealing, which began in 2013 and lasted for six months, showed positive results: 15 potential serious collisions with vulnerable road users were avoided. Charlie Lloyd, LCC’s road danger reduction campaigner, said "There have been another three tragic cyclist fatalities involving large lorries in London in the past few weeks. Preventing more deaths from these lorries is almost always the greatest concern for people cycling in London.

"The trial results we have seen suggest that the Cycle Safety Shield system will produce a step change in reducing this danger to cyclists. Providing drivers with a warning system they can trust is one of our Safer Lorry Campaign objectives."

Cycle Safety Shield on bus

Because the technology is rolled out on the vehicle itself, it’s vastly preferable to systems that rely on devices that would need to be installed on cycles. In recent years these systems have been proposed, but LCC has major concerns about the safety of such systems which could lead to drivers relying on a system that only show a minority of cyclists, and could potentially have a detrimental effect on pedestrian safety if drivers stop looking out for vulnerable road users. Cycle Safety Shield’s original originally proposed such a system, but following discussion with London Cycling Campaign the company switched technology to a system fitted only on the vehicle, not the cyclist or pedestrian. 

We’d like to see sensors like this included in the requirements for lorries under the Safer Lorry scheme, due to come into force in London in September. Sensors and vehicle manoeuvre warnings, combined with safer cab design, mandatory ‘Safer Urban Driving’ courses which include cycle training for drivers, better lorry operation and management (keeping lorries off minor roads, and consolidating freight where possible), and the redesign of our streets and junctions are all measures needed to reduce the risk from lorries to vulnerable road users.

The main objective of our Safer Lorries campaign is to introduce a large lorry suitable for use in urban areas, with a driver in a low cab with direct vision all around. In 2013 we issued a challenge to the construction industry to adopt our Safer Urban Lorry concept design. It will take time to get all the unsafe lorries off our streets but intelligent sensor systems like Cycle Safety Shield can help reduce the danger.