Waste management firm, Veolia, is to invest £1m in an attempt to improve the cycle safety of its fleet. The money will be spent on audible and visual nearside warnings on all of its vehicles larger than 3.5 tonnes as well as cycle specific training for all its drivers. The latter will include time spent on a bike.
Veolia has over 3,000 vehicles of 3.5 tonnes or larger. Each will be fitted with an audible warning for cyclists whenever the vehicle turns left and also cautionary warning signs. The measures are already in place on each of the firm’s 18-tonne vehicles, but the decision has now been taken to extend the scheme. Upgrades will begin in London this month and should be completed nationwide by the end of 2015.
A second safety measure will be a cyclist awareness training programme, which will be completed by all drivers by September 2015. This will build on the existing scheme in London which sees drivers getting on a bike to obtain a “cyclist’s eye view” of an HGV as part of their annual CPC training.
John Matthews, fleet director for Veolia, said:
“By launching this initiative now and combining it with a comprehensive driver training scheme we are putting the onus on accident prevention. We believe there will be enforcement of a minimum cyclist standard for fleet operators in London in due course and these measures reflect the need to promote safety in a demanding operating environment.”
Although these developments are welcome, many believe that lorries could be designed to be a great deal safer for cyclists. Safety organisations recently sent a joint letter to the Transport Minister demanding progress on a law which would allow a change to EU design rules. It is said that France and Sweden are looking to have this legislation delayed by several years as it would open up Renault and Volvo to greater competition.