Driving up road safety standards – Horizon delivery vehicles CLOC up new safety features to protect cyclists
By Gary Whittaker, Operational Systems & Projects Manager
To the untrained eye, it may not be immediately apparent that Horizon’s fleet of delivery vehicles has undergone a makeover. On closer inspection, however, you may be able to spot some small but very important new road safety features designed to protect cyclists: onboard cameras, blind spot proximity sensors, side under-run guards and audible warning alarms.
All of the nine Horizon-owned fleet of delivery vehicles – which are used to transport more than 600 powered access platforms to clients throughout the UK – have been fitted with Construction Logistics and Cyclist Safety (CLOCS) adaptations; a further two leased vehicles will be replaced and upgraded next year.
The new safety features are designed to address the alarming road safety statistics related to the use of heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) – particularly construction vehicles – which were found by Transport for London to be responsible for 55 per cent of cyclist fatalities in the capital between 2008 and 2013.
In 2012, Transport for London commissioned an independent review of the construction sector’s transport activities to understand the causes of collisions and how they might be prevented. The resulting 2013 CLOCS report set out a new approach to road safety, particularly cyclist safety, and recommended a number of changes to the way the construction industry manages work related road risk (WRRR).
A key element of the CLOCS standard is improving vehicle safety through “the design and manufacture of safer new vehicles and fitting appropriate safety equipment to existing vehicles”. As Horizon already has a very young fleet of delivery vehicles, we’re concentrating our efforts on upgrading our existing trucks as our first step on the journey to achieving the standard.
Due to the sheer size and scale of HGVs, blind spots can occur due to a restriction of the driver’s direct field of view from the cab. In practice, the cyclist protection system means Horizon drivers can now get a much better picture of what’s happening directly outside the vehicle thanks to a screen installed in the cab. The camera is proving particularly useful for viewing the left hand side of the trucks – the area where most blind spots occur. If a cyclist, pedestrian or motorcyclist is detected by the vehicle’s proximity sensors, the truck automatically sounds an alarm to notify the driver of a hazard. An external alarm is also triggered to notify the cyclist of a potential collision.
It’s too soon to assess the full impact of these new road safety measures, but along with many others in the industry, I’m hopeful that ‘journey to site’ safety is now being taken as seriously as safety on-site. For me, anything that improves safety – and ultimately saves lives – must be welcomed with open arms.