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Skip lorry operator bringing direct vision vehicles to London to improve cyclists' safety

Cab features panoramic windscreen and full-length glass doors

A north London waste disposal firm has bought three trucks offering drivers the kind of panoramic view recommended by cycling campaigners. O’Donovan’s Mercedes Econic vehicles are thought to be the first of their kind used in Britain.

So-called ‘direct vision cabs’ increase the driver’s field of view in front and to the sides of a lorry. CTC, the national cycling charity, is urging Transport for London (TfL) to adopt a road map for their widespread introduction and three London mayoral candidates have so far expressed their support for the proposals.

The London Evening Standard reports that the trucks were put on display at the Construction Logistics and Cyclist Safety exhibition at ExCel London on Monday. As well as offering a panoramic view, the cube-shaped cabs also feature full-length glass doors to help minimise blind spots.

There are several versions of the £100,000 Econic with O’Donovans to make use of the skip lorry. Jacqueline O’Donovan, the firm’s managing director, said: “We want to ensure our drivers have the best training and safest vehicles. The Mercedes cabs really are safer.”

O’Donovan also requested a range of additional safety features, including a side scan system, side under run protection, left hand turn audible alarm and conspicuity markings.

Last September London implemented the Safer Lorries Scheme which demands that all HGVs operating in the capital must be fitted with certain safety equipment, including sideguards and improved mirrors. Nevertheless, most campaigners would like to see further improvements.

Simon Munk of the London Cycling Campaign, said of the Mercedes Econic: “The view for the driver is much better than on a normal lorry and this is a step in the right direction.”

Mike Brown, London’s Transport Commissioner, said: “I encourage all companies to follow O’Donovan’s lead.”

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