CEMEX UK, the building materials supplier, are fitting its 300th vehicle with nearside proximity sensors to help cyclists and pedestrians stay safe around its vehicles.
The sensors are just one of a number of additional safety measures over and above legislation that CEMEX have added to their vehicles, making them a pioneer in the field of road safety as a whole, and cycle safety in particular.
CEMEX UK own a fleet of 417 large vehicles which transport cement, aggregates and ready-mixed concrete. Over the last three years, the company have made significant investment in an on-going programme of fitting safety features.
All 417 vehicles are fitted with rear signage on the nearside corner, and additional nearside mirrors, which aid visibility all around the vehicle. Proximity sensors and under run safety bars, where appropriate, are also being added.
"There has been a big increase in the number of cyclists on our roads, particularly in London with the introduction of the Cycle Hire Scheme and the Cycle Superhighways," says Cynthia Barlow, chair of the road safety charity Roadpeace.
"It is therefore, of critical importance that companies with lorries do everything they can to help their drivers be more aware of where cyclists are in relation to their lorries when they are out and about, and understand how best to protect vulnerable road users from avoidable, preventable collisions. We call on all companies with lorries to follow the CEMEX lead."
In 2004, and following a number of incidents, CEMEX launched investigations into the driver’s field of vision, which revealed that there was a high risk of incidents at road junctions, particularly when cyclists who wanted to go straight on were on the nearside of a vehicle turning left.
The nearside proximity sensors help both the driver and the cyclist, should the cyclist move up the left hand side of the vehicle. The sensors are activated when the vehicle’s left indicator is on and a cyclist moves up the nearside of the vehicle. A message is triggered to warn the cyclist, and an alarm in the cab alerts the driver.
“Our performance in this field reflects the company’s ability to think ahead and go beyond the call of duty set by legislation," says Matt Wild, vice president of commercial cement, building products and logistics for CEMEX. "For a rigid vehicle, the sensors cost just £450, with the full set of features, including the mirrors, signage and under-run safety bars, costing approximately £800. Even with a large fleet, the time and money invested is worth every penny if it can save just one accident.”
As a leader in cyclist safety, CEMEX have been chosen by London Metropolitan Police to support their Exchanging Places programme. Cyclists have been invited to a central London venue, where they are invited to get into the cab of the vehicle to see the road from the driver’s perspective, and learn about the areas around a vehicle where a driver may not see a cyclist.
In addition, showing cyclists the safety features serves to highlight the potential dangers and create awareness of what could go wrong. To date CEMEX have taken part in 23 events in London, with an on-going programme of events outside the capital.