An electronics firm has developed a new satellite navigation device which uses Transport for London (TfL) data to warn lorry drivers of when they are approaching locations where there is an increased risk of collision with a cyclist. The company, Navevo, plans to eventually roll its system out to other cities in the UK, reports the BBC.
Lorries account for 5 per cent of London’s traffic but are involved in half of cyclist fatalities in the capital, with 28 riders killed following a collision with one between 2009 and 2012 according to TfL figures. It is believed arouhnd one in three of those fatalities involves a construction lorry.
According to Navevo, its ProNav PNN420 system “includes the world’s first HGV Cyclist Alert system to acknowledge the growing number of cyclists in the London area.
“This component generates an alert when approaching a junction or section of road that has been designated by TfL as a “HGV/Cyclist convergence area,” which are locations such as junctions where large numbers of HGVs and Cyclists converge.
“Drivers are notified with both a visual map overlay displaying a 50-metre radius hotspot zone, and an audible alert when entering this zone to remind them to take extra care.”
Other London-specific features include London Lorry Ban routing and information on Loading & Red Route bays.
The BBC reports that TfL provided Navevo on 100 separate ‘hotspots’ – locations where popular cycle routes and common lorry travel plans converge – and that it hopes the new system will improve the safety of riders.
"This is the first time that this information has been made available to a company specifically to provide additional information for HGV drivers," said a TfL spokesman.
"We are happy to work with other developers should they wish to provide similar information within their products," he added.
Navevo chief executive Nick Caesari told the BBC: "The safety of drivers, cyclists and other users of the road is a concern for everybody and we are proud to lead the navigation industry by launching this world first safety feature."
Martin Gibbs, policy and legal affairs director at British Cycling, said that technology alone could not be relied upon to improve cyclist safety and was only part of what needed to be done.
"Any technology that can help protect cyclists is welcome and we applaud TfL and Navevo for coming up with a system that can warn drivers about particularly dangerous junctions," said policy director Martin Gibbs.
"However, this issue cannot be solved by technology alone.
"Over half of cyclist deaths in London involve HGVs so we'd like to see restrictions on the times when they can enter cities as well as mandatory fitting of sensors, side-bars and better HGV education on cyclist awareness."
Last week, following the death of polar scientist Katharine Giles when she was struck by a tipper lorry in Victoria, Mayor of London Boris Johnson said he wanted to ban lorries from the city unless equipped with safety features including additional mirrors and skirts that prevent cyclists from being dragged underneath.
Besides making physical safety features on lorries compulsory – the Safer Lorries, Safer Cycling campaign from the LCC (London Cycling Campaign) urges councils to adhere to minimum standards on the vehicles they and their contractors use.
It has also released a design of a Safer Urban Lorry – there have also been calls to eliminate risks where possible simply by removing the potential for conflict.
Following the death of Dr Giles, there have been calls, including from LCC and British Cycling, to consider banning lorries from city centres, or at least restricting their movements, at peak commuting times.
Earlier this year, one of the recommendations of a report for TfL published carried out by the Transport Research Laboratory that looked at collisions between construction vehicles and cyclists was to seek to eliminate conflict at hotspots by routing construction traffic away from them.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.