Cyclist-friendly tipper trucks arrive in London

Nine cyclists were killed on London's roads during 2015. Of those incidents, seven involved lorries (many of which were being used by the construction industry).

Segregation of bicycles from other traffic would be the ideal casualty-prevention measure, but that's not going to be practicable for many of the capital's narrow streets. Therefore alternative initiatives are needed.

They include an ongoing focus on addressing behaviour and attitudes. For instance, cyclists have to understand that slipping up a lorry's nearside when it's at a red traffic light waiting to turn left isn't sensible. Likewise, certain industry practices – such as paying truckers per load completed rather than hours worked – should be curtailed if they cause poor driving standards.

Changes to vehicle design can also help. Recognising this, Transport for London introduced the Safer Lorry Scheme last year which requires side guards and extra mirrors on trucks being run in Greater London. Now, in an effort to further reduce blind-spots, Mayor of London Boris Johnson is proposing that lorries be retro-fitted with an additional lower window on the passenger-side door.

Low-entry cabs are another approach to improving driver vision, and an example of the genre is the Mercedes-Benz Econic. Its lower seating position, panoramic windscreen, fully-glazed passenger-side door and multi-mode, all-round blind-spot camera system are all intended to be more pedestrian- and cyclist-friendly.

Mercedes-Benz Econic 3235 8x4 (2016) Front Side 1

Two 3235 8x4 models have just been supplied to Dartford-based company FM Conway Limited. Plated at a gross vehicle weight of 32 tonnes, their specification includes a steered trailing rear axle for enhanced manoeuvrability, a Fruehauf tipper body and a remote-controlled Palfinger clamshell-bucket crane.

Mercedes-Benz Econic 3235 8x4 (2016) Front Side 2

However, trucks of the Econic's ilk are likely to remain a rare sight without legislation that forces operators to buy them.

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London Congestion Charge increasing

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