Sainsbury's unveils safer lorry as Boris Johnson launches consultation

Mayor of London hopes to get rid of dangerous vehicles by next year - but victim's son says roads to unsafe to cycle

by Simon_MacMichael   July 30, 2014  

Sainsbury's safer lorry (source J Sainsbury plc)

Sainsbury’s has unveiled a new lorry that will make deliveries to its outlets in London – and says that the safety of cyclists and pedestrians underpins its design. The vehicle was presented yesterday as Mayor of London Boris Johnson promised to rid the capital of unsafe lorries as soon as next year. But the son of a man killed in a collision with one says that the city’s streets are too dangerous to cycle on.

Lorries were involved in nine of the 14 cyclist fatalities in London last year, and yesterday in partnership with Transport for London and London Councils, the body that represents the city’s boroughs, Mr Johnson launched a consultation into his Safer Lorries Scheme.

The consultation covers proposals to ban lorries without sideguards and safety mirror’s from the capital, and could be introduced early next year. It would apply to vehicles over 3.5 tonnes and operate around the clock, seven days a week, covering the same area as the current Low Emission Zone.

While legislation does currently require many lorries to be fitted with safety equipment, that doesn’t apply to vehicles including construction lorries, tipper trucks, waste vehicles, cement mixers or lorries registered before 2000, something that the changes that are the subject of the consultation, open until 22 September, is aimed at addressing.

Mr Johnson said: "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.

“Vehicles that would be affected by this scheme can easily be retrofitted to comply and doing so will save lives.”

Sainsbury’s new delivery lorry, which was designed in partnership with Solomon and Mercedes, incorporates features including 360 degree monitors, extra side lighting for road users at night and low side guards for cyclist safety. Seven of the vehicles have been deployed.

The retailer’s retail and operating director, Roger Burnley, said: “We're proud to be here to support the Safer Lorry Scheme today. We've put an enormous amount of thought and research into creating a truck that we hope will be the safest on the road - for all road users.”

Sainsbury’s was not the only company to present a new vehicle aimed at improving the safety of vulnerable road users at yesterday’s event – O’Donovan Waste Disposal displayed a skip lorry that it says has enhanced safety features.

Its managing director, Jacqueline O'Donovan, said: "O'Donovan Waste Disposal operates a fleet of 75 vehicles and has made a substantial investment in vehicle safety enhancements.

“Our drivers and vehicles regularly participate in Exchanging Places run by the Metropolitan Police and TfL, which enables cyclists to experience a HGV driver's view of the road and get a better understanding of their challenges.

“Although a large number of our vehicles were exempt we felt the investment assisted our drivers in making London a safer place for all.  We are doing all we can, through equipment and training, to minimise risk to cyclists and other vulnerable road users.”

Mr Johnson added: “Companies such as Sainsbury's and O'Donovan are already leading the way when it comes to cyclist safety and I urge others to follow suit." 

However, the mayor’s record on cycle safety was criticised by the son of a retired GP killed whole cycling in London

Peter Richards, aged 35, told the London Evening Standard that he regularly rode a bike prior to the death of his father last year.

His father, Dr Clive Richards, aged 67, died last August when he fell from his bike on Archway Road, Highgate, and was struck by a lorry’s back wheel.

A coroner’s inquest last week found that while “reduced proximity” between the lorry and the victim caused his death, there was not enough evidence to establish that the vehicle had knocked him from his bike.

Mr Richards said: “I don’t want any other family to go through what my family had to go through.

“When is it going to stop? It’s harrowing how many accidents there are.

“My message to Boris is if he wants to promote cycling in this city, it’s a wonderful city but for God’s sake, at the moment it is not safe. Do something about it,” he added.

23 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

just have a look at the massive sign on the back of that Sainsbury lorry

http://lcc.org.uk/articles/campaign-success-as-mayor-brings-safer-lorrie...

posted by Paul_C [183 posts]
30th July 2014 - 17:54

53 Likes

Paul_C wrote:
just have a look at the massive sign on the back of that Sainsbury lorry

http://lcc.org.uk/articles/campaign-success-as-mayor-brings-safer-lorries-for-london-one-step-closer

Oh dear!

posted by levermonkey [368 posts]
30th July 2014 - 19:51

37 Likes

That's an enormous Cyclists Beware sign. Does this lorry have big blind spots?

posted by vbvb [243 posts]
30th July 2014 - 19:54

38 Likes

Perhaps it is a reminder that cyclists also have a responsibility for their own safety.

posted by freespirit1 [171 posts]
30th July 2014 - 20:15

58 Likes

So far so good. How about enforcing the use of some active safety features? After all, mirrors and monitors are only as good at protecting other road users as the guy watching them.

posted by Initialised [120 posts]
30th July 2014 - 20:37

41 Likes

Good effort, but I don't think technology alone will solve the problem. The most important thing is proper provision for cyclists in town planning. Wherever bikes and motor vehicles share the same roads, there'll be injuries and deaths.

posted by willvousden [5 posts]
30th July 2014 - 21:50

46 Likes

If that sign on the back of the Sainsbury's lorry particularly annoys you, add your own comments in Paint. Ariel, pt. 7 seems to work.

Template here: http://imgur.com/NgMTOo1

posted by Argos74 [294 posts]
31st July 2014 - 0:45

33 Likes

"Sainsbury’s has unveiled a new lorry that will make deliveries to its outlets in London"

Has the company specifically stated that these lorries are for London? Are they comfortable with the implication that unsafe lorries are acceptable everywhere else?

posted by severs1966 [84 posts]
31st July 2014 - 2:29

24 Likes

Boris will launch a consultation. Operators will tell him it is too expensive to replace all their lorries. The consultation will end. Nothing will happen.

posted by dp24 [190 posts]
31st July 2014 - 9:39

28 Likes

I would still be VERY careful when cycling near them....

posted by Must be Mad [55 posts]
31st July 2014 - 9:56

29 Likes

freespirit1 wrote:
Perhaps it is a reminder that cyclists also have a responsibility for their own safety.

I saw a middle aged lady this morning apparently determined to get herself in bother this morning. She didn't slow down at all for a coach coming out of the coach station, just squeezing behind it while barely slowing down and pretty much going into the exit of the station to do it. I wondered if her brakes had failed, but she did slow down briefly for the red light 10 metres further while she went up the inside of the bus waiting there indicating left. She went through the red just before it changed and the bus moved off. A few seconds later and she could have been in trouble.

There might be big shortcomings in infrastructure, driving, vehicle design etc. but some people seem to be determined to get up as close as possible to big vehicles and that is never going to be a good idea.

posted by Chuck [381 posts]
31st July 2014 - 10:11

32 Likes

Classic Boris job that: That looks like a standard lorry... it doesn't look inherently any safer than any other truck with a few extra bits bolted on and the need for the driver to check the cameras to make it any safer.

Where is 180 degrees of low glass level round the driver? Where are the low mounted mirrors to see cyclists?

posted by P3t3 [50 posts]
31st July 2014 - 11:48

19 Likes

Why aren't there transparent lower panels in the doors?
There used to be on many lorries, but not any more. Why not? My guess is that the drivers didn't like them because then we could see what they were up to...

posted by alexb [49 posts]
31st July 2014 - 11:54

25 Likes

P3t3 wrote:
Classic Boris job that: That looks like a standard lorry... it doesn't look inherently any safer than any other truck with a few extra bits bolted on and the need for the driver to check the cameras to make it any safer.

Theres no mention of the most fallible part of the system: the driver.

Are they undergoing retraining? Are they being given anger management training so as to be more placid and patient when driving?

You can design the safest vehicle in the world yet put an angry frustrated (underpaid and overworked) person in the cab and its still a huge steel box that can kill vulnerable road users.

zanf's picture

posted by zanf [524 posts]
31st July 2014 - 12:01

18 Likes

Doesn't look particularly different to me either. Of course Elephant in the room or perhaps by the castle (?) is the drivers of such vehicles as I found out again yesterday: I got overtaken by a rescue truck towing a HGV tipper truck. He couldn't wait for a safe place and did so just prior to a island preventing drivers going over the centre line.

The gap got narrower and narrower as the towed vehicle cut in on me and I had to slam on the anchors and get right in the gutter where there was a gap that nearly had my tyres.

He sped off, I never got an index number - the towing vehicle's one was obscured of course. I thought I knew the livery but it turns out that company is out of business. I think whoever it was is using their old trucks.

Thank God I wasn't another sorry statistic.

posted by IHphoto [100 posts]
31st July 2014 - 12:01

23 Likes

freespirit1 wrote:
Perhaps it is a reminder that cyclists also have a responsibility for their own safety.

Couldn't agree more

posted by N3al [6 posts]
31st July 2014 - 12:28

27 Likes

Orange is obviously safer, so Tesco, Asda and Morrisons should be banned from the road.



Suffering from Low Cadence.

bikeboy76's picture

posted by bikeboy76 [1290 posts]
31st July 2014 - 13:36

18 Likes

So if it's dangerous to "undertake", could a cyclist involved in an accident sue the council for putting the cycle lane on the inside? That's a clear invitation to do something that will endanger yourself...

Not so much a six pack as a barrel!

posted by Bigfoz [63 posts]
31st July 2014 - 14:00

24 Likes

Boris and TfL seem to be making a big deal about Class V & VI mirrors as safety features.

These mirrors are close proximity mirrors and offer very little in the way of safety/protection to VRUs. Their principle roll is to aid the driver when he is manoeuvring the vehicle in a restricted space so that the he does not strike the front nearside corner against a fixed object. Their view is very limited and does not extend much more than 12" from the edge/corner of the vehicle. As a cyclist or pedestrian you are extremely unlikely to be visible in these mirrors; you would need to be almost touching the cab. Also due to the curvature and angle of these mirrors the image is quite distorted.

The clue is in the name. Close proximity is not the same as blind spot removal.

Also. Side under-run guards are a legal requirement on most types of vehicle over 3.5Te GVM already. It is enforcement that is the problem.

posted by levermonkey [368 posts]
31st July 2014 - 16:47

14 Likes

You can have all the mirrors and all the cameras in the world on these vehicles.

Just for argument there are 3 cameras on each side and 3 mirrors. That is observing what is happening for 10 seconds in each.

Everyone seems to forget that at some point it is advisable for any road user to look and see where he is going, therefore you are now down to 8.5 seconds out of every minute with a driver looking into each device.

posted by freespirit1 [171 posts]
31st July 2014 - 20:11

7 Likes

Argos74, The message I've read on the back of the Sainsburys lorries was well-judged and didn't disclaim responsibility. I don't see why we should edit to make it offensive to cyclists to just confirm some bias of our own?

This and the cameras and the vehicle body modifications aren't a solution without driver awareness too, but I don't see those things as negatives.

posted by Wrongfoot [31 posts]
31st July 2014 - 20:29

2 Likes

I'm glad to see they haven't resorted to the old; 'If you can't see my mirrors I can't see you', strapline which is used as an excuse for poor observation by so many drivers and operators. If they don't look in their mirrors they're never going to see anyone.

Did Nightrider 2013 and 2014 for Parkinson's UK. Might just have one last go in 2015.

jova54's picture

posted by jova54 [618 posts]
31st July 2014 - 20:39

10 Likes

freespirit1 wrote:
You can have all the mirrors and all the cameras in the world on these vehicles.

Just for argument there are 3 cameras on each side and 3 mirrors. That is observing what is happening for 10 seconds in each.

Everyone seems to forget that at some point it is advisable for any road user to look and see where he is going, therefore you are now down to 8.5 seconds out of every minute with a driver looking into each device.

Good observation is not about looking at units for a predetermined period of time as this can lead to seeing things that you expect to be there not the developing situation.

You need to keep your eyes and head moving covering all areas in a constantly changing pattern as it is primarily periheral vison that senses movement.

Did Nightrider 2013 and 2014 for Parkinson's UK. Might just have one last go in 2015.

jova54's picture

posted by jova54 [618 posts]
31st July 2014 - 20:47

2 Likes