SUPERMARKET CHAIN Sainbury’s is to introduce delivery lorries fitted with cameras that offer a 360-degree view around the vehicle and proximity sensors in an effort to help prevent accidents with cyclists.
The systems will help drivers see cyclists and prevent accidents; many large lorries have significant blind spots along their near sides, where most cycle lanes encourage cyclists to ride (see video from TfL below)
Sainsbury’s lorries also have side-guards to help prevent riders falling under the wheels and lights that illuminate the road around the vehicle at night.
Seven of the high-tech safety trucks are ready to start operating in London and nine are on order. Sainbury’s plans to roll them out nationwide over the next five years.
“This puts 10% on the cost of a truck, but we have invested in this as we expect these measures to be the norm in future,” a spokesperson for the supermarket told The Times.
The design from Solomon and Mercedes comes as Boris Johnson, Mayor of London said he’d be bringing into force a ban from the capitals on lorries over 3.5 tonnes that fail to meet new safety standards. Although the new rules won’t require 360-degree cameras and proximity sensors, they do stipulate compulsory fitting of side-guards and extended mirrors which reduce blind spots.
Sainbury’s truck tech
- New video technology in the cab giving 360 degree vision of the surrounding road
- New proximity sensors down the sides of the lorry that beep to alert the driver to other road users
- Side guard extensions and reflective infills to help stop cyclists from falling under the vehicle
- Extra indicators on trucks’ sides to increase awareness that the truck is turning
- More downlights along the sides that glow at night, giving the driver more visibility of road users in the dark
- A warning sticker to alert road users that they are in the driver’s blind spot
- A tail lift operation warning – so that there will be an audible sound when the tail lift is being lowered – for anyone behind the vehicle
- Further driver training on higher safety standards in the truck
Cycling groups welcomed the safety initiatives, which should help to reduce the number of cyclists that die on UK roads each year. In 2012, 25 cyclists in Britain were killed by lorries, while last year in London, nine of the 14 cyclist road deaths involved HGVs.
Martin Key, campaigns manager at British Cycling, said that many HGVs are “not fit for purpose” and welcomed news that loopholes on dangerous trucks would be closed in London.
He added: “London is showing what can be achieved with a meaningful cycling budget, the government now needs this to go nationwide, not just [in] the capital.”
The Times has started a Cities Fit for Cycling campaign, which has been joined by British Cycling and the AA in calling for a £600 million annual budget.