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Edinburgh's bin lorries upgraded for cycle safety - city asks for cyclists' opinions

Driver alerted to cyclists and audio message warns of left-turning vehicles

All of Edinburgh’s rubbish lorries have been fitted with cycle safety equipment in a move to prevent deaths and injuries to vulnerable road users.

The council has upgraded its fleet with Cyclear technology, which includes an illuminated sign that lights up to alert anyone travelling towards a lorry when it is turning left, and a speaker announcing the manoeuvre for additional warning.

Many collisions occur when a cyclist becomes trapped between the kerb and a left-turning vehicle, so it is thought the additional warning should allow cyclists more time to keep back.

The system will also detect a cyclist travelling alongside the lorry even if it is in the driver’s blind spot -- and make an audio announcement in the cab.

Edinburgh council’s transport convener, councillor Lesley Hinds, said: “Cycle safety is of utmost importance to the council so it makes absolute sense to equip our own vehicles with technology that minimises risk for all road users.

“Promoting cycling as an accessible mode of transport is a key priority in Edinburgh, and developments like this are central to creating a safe and attractive atmosphere for new and experienced cyclists.”

Cyclear is already fitted in vehicles in City of London, Luton, Guildford, Midlothain councils and to Serco’s collection fleet in the London borough of Havering.

The council is now looking for feedback from cyclists who have encountered their refuse lorries fitted with Cyclear technology.

We recently reported the controversial decision to trial a different cycle safety system in Croydon.

A number of bin lorries in Croydon have been fitted with electronic alerts that tell the driver a cyclist is present - but only if they have fitted a corresponding device to their bike or helmet.

The scheme, Cycle Alert, is being trialled on four refuse lorries, but Croydon Cycle Campaign say HGV drivers will be lulled into a false sense of security, while it will be impossible to tag enough of the area’s cyclists.

Manufacturers of the £400 device are hoping to roll it out nationally after piloting, and cyclists in the area are being encouraged to pick up a free electronic tag from cycle shops in the borough, which will sound an alert in the lorry’s cab if they come within 2.5m.

An LED display shows the driver the position of the cyclist.

Danni Lapham of Cycle Alert told the Croydon Advertiser: "We believe the benefits for operators and for cyclists' safety will outweigh the costs."

The company has not yet decided whether or how much cyclists will have to pay for their equipment in the future.

Councillor Kathy Bee said: "The success of the scheme is dependent on the extent the technology is taken up and the way in which the scheme is promoted.

"It has also got to be really easy for people to get hold of the equipment."

But Kristian Gregory of the Cycling Campaign said: "We are seriously concerned about the effect Cycle Alert will have on road safety.

"We are concerned that tagging a high enough percentage of cyclists will not be viable, and that HGV drivers will be given a false sense of security by the device, when an untagged cyclist may be nearby."

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