Our campaigning pays off as safer lorries start to roll off the production lines

Campaigning pays off as safer lorries start to roll off the production lines 

From an LCC mock-up of a lorry with a low entry cab and much improved direct vision just four  years ago,  to a record  twenty eight HGVs lorries with a range of improved safety features on display at the 2016 CLOCS (Construction Logistics and Cycling Safety) event.  

It’s taken four years of campaigning and the weighty backing of TfL’s Sir Peter Hendy, and now his successor Mike Brown, to put CLOCS and low-entry, high vision lorries on the priority list of manufacturers, fleet operators and the construction industry.

At Excel in March 2016 all the major European lorry makers had production or concept vehicles on display. Some like the Mercedes Econic, in various versions,  the Dennis Eagle Elite with a tipper body, and Volvo 320  low-entry are available right now. Others like the Scania Urban Tipper are at the concept stage. Most of the vehicles on show, whether low-entry or conventional had additional glass panels in the passenger doors.

Mike Brown, London’s Transport Commissioner, made it clear that TfL would be leading the way in contracting vehicles that featured the new low-entry high-vision designs. From just a handful of such vehicles in London a year ago, the number has raced up to 137 with companies like Keyline,  CCF, Riney,  Conway and O'Donovan following in the steps of early adopters like  Cemex and  Lafarge. 

 

Some of the other CLOCS ‘champions,’ like building materials giant Hanson, say they are considering low-entry high vision  vehicles for London use. Outside of London Hanson has bought a more conventional truck but with a glass door panel and a sensor system that alerts the driver to cyclists or pedestrians in close proximity.

Dennis Eagle, one of the pioneers of low-entry high-vision showed of their new longer side guards and cycle movement sensors along the side of vehicles. 

The now well established, in London at least , CLOCS standard for vehicle, driver and fleet safety was endorsed by speaker after speaker at event conference. Build UK which includes 42 trade associations and 11,000 contractors is supporting the programme. Thames Tideway, a CLOCS champion and responsible for 19 construction sites around London  says it wants contractors  to use low-entry high-vision vehicles  and well as train drivers in line with CLOCS standards. 

Volvo told delegates that 30% of its clients were now demanding glass door panels. It also emphasised the  importance of education.  Mercedes, whose Econic truck is being ordered by ever more construction companies,  is aiming to produce a gas powered Econic as well as an electric version of the smaller Canter delivery lorry. 

Glen Davies of TfL, pointed out that almost half of the high cab  off-road trucks (categorised as N3G), which pose a greater danger to pedestrians and cyclists, are not used off-road at all. He also highlighted that annual fatal  road collisions (1775 in UK) were far higher than rail (17) or air (6) yet the regulations and inspections for rail and air were far more stringent. TfL’s aim, like that of LCC, is to ensure that new lorries purchased for use London’s roads are low-entry high-vision. TfL’s expectation is that by 2025 the majority of HGVs in London will have full direct vision and minimal blind spots.  

 

Safer lorries are a key part of our Sign for Cycling Mayoral elections campaign. We want all the candidates to commit to take all possible steps to make ‘direct vision’ lorries, with minimal ‘blind spots’ the standard HGV type used in London. Have you signed for cycling yet? Please sign the petition today at www.signforcycling.org