The Co-operative is trialling a fleet of new cycle-friendly trucks that come specced with camera and sensors for spotting those on two wheels.
Currently being tested in the south of England, the business has acquired ten 14-tonne Daf LF 180 vehicles, which are operating from The Co-operative’s depots in West Thurrock, Essex, and Plymouth, to distribute to its food stores across the South and South East region, and particularly in London.
The additional cyclist safety features include sensor systems, which alert the driver of the proximity of a cyclist or pedestrian, extra indicators and side-guards between the rear axle and the rear of the vehicle.
The camera system has built in infra-red LED lights and a monitor in the cab, which is activated by the nearside indicator switch at low speed that also acts as a reversing camera. The trucks also have an audio and visual left turn alarm with the message “warning Co-operative vehicle turning left”, which activates at low speed, and the usual cyclist warning stickers on the rear.
Ken Thompson, The Co-operative Food’s national transport fleet manager, worked with the vehicle body builder, Gray and Adams in Dunfermline, to implement the additional cyclist-friendly features.
He said: “Around 19,000 cyclists are killed or injured in reported road accidents in this country every year, and cycling casualties have also risen in recent years as cycling’s popularity increases.
“Our drivers work on some of the busiest roads in the country, especially in London, and we are trialling these new safety features on our delivery vehicles to help reduce the risk of accidents, and the feedback we have had so far has been extremely positive.
“We are always keen to explore any opportunities to improve our service for both our customers and colleagues, and by adding these innovative features we believe will radically improve the safety of cyclists and pedestrians.”