Could this hi-tech lorry be the key to slashing death toll of cyclists?
This is the new high-tech model of lorry that has been designed to stop cyclists dying on the streets of London.
Unveiled today by Sainsbury’s, the gadget-filled heavy goods vehicle (HGV) comes in the wake of a shocking year for lorry-related traffic incidents.
Of the 14 cyclist deaths on the streets of the capital in 2013, nine involved lorries – leading the Mayor, Boris Johnson, to call for a change to the law.
Ahead of those changes – which are still at the consultation stage - Sainsbury’s has stepped in to unveil their answer to the problem, the Evening Standard reported.
It includes new proximity sensors along the sides of the lorry that alert the driver to other road-users, cameras on the front, rear and side of the vehicle and extended side and rear guards to stop cyclists getting trapped under the wheels.
Extra LED indicators will make it clearer when a lorry is planning to turn left – and a large warning sticker will tell cyclists when they are in the blind-spot that makes these manoeuvres so dangerous.
Seven of the lorries have gone into service in London today, with nine more on order. The supermarket giant told the Standard that if they prove a success they may be rolled out across the entire fleet.
Roger Burnley, Sainsbury’s retail and operations director, said: “We’ve put an enormous amount of thought and research into creating a truck that we hope will be the safest on the road.
“I expect that many of these features will become compulsory in years to come. As a London cyclist myself, I hope they do.”
Mr Johnson, who was at the launch of the new lorries today, told the Standard: “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.”