A road safety expert has called for all lorries to have compulsory side, front and rear CCTV cameras following the 12th death of a cyclist on the roads last week.
Melvyn Hodgetts, who was in charge of safety on Royal Mail’s lorry fleet for more than 20 years, said: “These tragic cycle accidents on London‘s roads illustrate how hazardous our roads have become.
“Despite the best efforts of road designers with initiatives like the Barclays Cycle Superhighway network and early start traffic controls these latest incidents prove that more is still needed.
“One essential improvement would be to push for greater in-cab technology to reduce driver blind spots.
“CCTV has progressed enormously in the last few years and can be a vital addition for drivers and help them to be aware of cyclists and pedestrians when their attention is being competed for by all manner of distractions.
“The latest on-vehicle camera systems not only provide blind spot coverage to give the driver vital vision of moving cyclists around them, but also gather data on driving behaviour, vehicle speed and positioning.
“This data is a valuable tool for employers and can help identify the risks being faced daily by their drivers and can be used to both educate the driver and help develop practical measures to help them. Technology can make all the difference to reduce these tragic accidents.”
Nine of the 12 fatalities have involved lorries and in many cases accidents are as a result of lorry drivers who have blind spots on their vehicle and fail to see nearby cyclists in their wing mirrors.
One firm that installs safety cameras – Smart Witness – has seen huge reductions in accidents for the haulage firms that have installed them.
The Croydon-based company design and fit video systems for HGVs. They include side and back cameras, which give drivers a clear view of any cyclists or other road users, all around the lorry.
The video is relayed to a monitor in the cab so that the driver can clearly see the side, rear and forward facing views around the vehicle.
Smart Witness managing director Simon Marsh said: “The number of tragic deaths can be reduced significantly if lorries, coaches and construction trucks are fitted with safety cameras that clearly show HGV drivers if cyclists or other road users are nearby.
“Long vehicles often have several blind spots and wing mirrors are simply not effective enough for the driver to see what is on his inside or outside, which is especially important if the driver is about to make a turn.”
He added: “We have found that the haulage firms who have installed the Smart Witness video cameras have seen a significant reduction in accidents.
“Our system of cameras fitted around the lorry or coach give the driver a much better view of both the left and right-hand sides of his vehicle and can show if vehicles are directly behind as well.”