Firm updates 230 HGV fleet, including contractor’s vehicles, in response to spike in London collisions.
It may not have paid its taxes last year, but Thames Water has faced up to one of its problems — fitting out its truck fleet with devices designed to avoid collisions with cyclists, following a spate of incidents.
Having confirmed that its trucks have previously been involved in incidents with cyclists, the firm has now fitted its fleet with audible sensors, which warn riders to not ride on the inside when the vehicle is turning left. Frensel refractors have also been equipped to eliminate the cab driver’s blind spot. Furthermore, side bars have been fitted, making it harder for a cyclists to be pulled under the truck in the event of a coming together.
Thames Water’s head of health and safety, Karl Simons said the cost to fit each truck out was around £1,000.
Simons said: “I think we have a responsibility as Thames Water, given our impact across London, to set standards for the rest of the industry and wider. There was a serious incident last year involving one of our contractors’ lorries and a cyclist. That was the catalyst for taking the action.”
Read more about what haulage firms are doing to minimise the risks to cyclists in this piece gathered from recent TRL trials of Dutch Roundabouts, eye level signals and equipment to alert HGV drivers to cyclists.
London is seeing a boom in cycling, with well over half a million cycle-trips made every day.
To help prepare, the Dutch — who boast Amsterdam as one of the most bike friendly cities in the world — have been drafted in to advise on cycling policy and infrastructure.
So how do we compare? According to figures from the London Cycling Campaign:
Amsterdam: 600,000 cycle journeys per day in a population of 750,800 = 37% of journeys are by bike. London: About 500,000 cycle journeys per day in a population of 8.1m = 2% of journeys by bike.
MPs, Dutch representatives and London schoolchildren cycled en masse from the Dutch Embassy to the Houses of Parliament today to celebrate the start of Bike Week 2013 (15-23 June).
The ride marks a closer partnership between the two countries, with Dutch experts advising a delegation from the UK on cycling policy and infrastructure in preparation for a predicted record year for cycling.