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LCC details bike-friendly Safer Urban Lorry design


March 28, 2013

The London Cycling Campaign has released details of a lorry design overhaul that helps make cyclists more visible to drivers

The London Cycling Campaign has released details of a lorry design overhaul that helps make cyclists more visible to drivers

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According to the London Cycling Campaign (LCC), though only five percent of all motor traffic in the UK's capital are lorries (trucks), they account for half of all cycling deaths in the Greater London area. Last November, the group launched its Safer Lorries, Safer Cycling campaign – which calls on councils to take a pledge that insists on cyclist-aware training for drivers and the use of the latest safety technology in all council-operated lorries and for all lorry contractors. Now LCC has released details of a lorry design overhaul that helps make cyclists more visible to drivers, while also lowering the chances of a rider being dragged underneath the wheels.

In 2011, over 10,000 Londoners signed an LCC petition calling for widespread adoption of a lorry driver training program, which includes giving drivers first-hand experience of riding a bike in London. Transport for London rallied to the call in October 2012 and introduced a strict set of safer lorries conditions for every one of its transport and freight suppliers, including compulsory driver training. While this aspect of the campaign continues to gain momentum, LCC is embarking on the next phase.

Taking inspiration from the open cab design of modern refuse (garbage) trucks, LCC has come up with a new safer lorry proposal that gives the driver improved all-round visibility, and employs a lower front bumper and sideguards to help increase the chances of a cyclist being pushed aside rather than being dragged underneath the wheels.

"Our Safer Urban Lorry design is a challenge to the construction industry to use vehicles that help reduce the terrible number of people on bikes and on foot who are killed by lorries," said LCC's haulage expert (and former lorry driver) Charlie Lloyd. "The restricted view from the cab of many of today’s construction lorries means the driver often has little or no idea who or what is in their immediate vicinity, which is totally unacceptable."

LCC points out that the most common response from lorry drivers after a fatal crash is that they didn't see the victim before the collision. To help address this, the windshield and side windows are much larger in the new design, and a lower chassis puts the driving position about 60 cm (almost two feet) lower than in a conventional construction industry lorry. The installation of a side-mounted camera could also act as an early warning system for drivers, further increasing visibility around the vehicle.

Naturally, any improvements to lorry design resulting from the LCC campaign will be beneficial to pedestrians and motorcyclists, too.

The group has produced a short video comparing the traditional lorry design with LCC's proposal, which can be seen below.

Source: London Cycling Campaign

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Paul Ridden While Paul is loath to reveal his age, he will admit to cutting his IT teeth on a TRS-80 (although he won't say which version). An obsessive fascination with computer technology blossomed from hobby into career before the desire for sunnier climes saw him wave a fond farewell to his native Blighty in favor of Bordeaux, France. He's now a dedicated newshound pursuing the latest bleeding edge tech for Gizmag. All articles by Paul Ridden

Where does the engine go?? Seems to have been overlooked.

And did anyone think to ask a truck driver whether the existing height of the cab aids visibility??


And what if the real problem is the cyclists?

Jon A.

Truck Safe bicyclists may be an option, May TFL needs to give all cyclists a Truck and Bus appreciation course. (And then they will be able to crow that only "non-truck aware licenced cyclists" are being killed. that would be deemed a successful training program.)

How about front and rear ramp angles that these low-slung Lorries have to counter.... It is ok for an airport truck to have low angle tolerance, as these always operate on flat pavement, think of the construction industry, trucks have to get off the road, and drive through rough sites (Just talking about building sites here, not rural or remote operations), or even deliveries where the truck must leave the road , never mind trying to turn a lorry around on anything but the flattest of surfaces.. SO they will have to have variable ride height to cope with anything more off-road than a speed hump...

Why not just mandate full lorry-surrounding hover-craft type inflatable skirts... lol.


While design improvements can be made in the trucks, crunchies need to take responsibility for their own safety.


Improve infrastructure by separating road and cycling lanes where the speed limit is above 30 km/h, mark cycling lanes with red asphalt, improve existing crossroads, etc. The world needs safer roads for cyclists. That's why a lot is learned by looking at the Netherlands where the least cyclist deaths occur, and yet the number of bicycles outnumber people...

Trucks do not need to be designed this way, as there is already a set of mirrors that can enable truck drivers to look in what was normally blind spots. Accidents occur due to a combination of reasons and it is not just simply cyclists not paying enough attention.

More city planners are starting to get the right idea on how to improve city traffic and mobility which is not done by adding more road lanes. Promote use of other modes of transportation other than car (how do you like those parking lots?) and you're in business.

Fretting Freddy the Ferret pressing the Fret

Looks like a fire truck


how about fitting a apron made of polyethylene to cover the sides of the lorry incl. the wheel-arches and even save fuel and keep the other road-users free of the spray in bad weather? It even woud look good.....


@steelnerves It looks like a US fire truck, but UK fire "engines" are elmost all cab-over-engine configuration.

@sstvp The engine can be located between the 2nd and 3rd axles if there is not enough room to locate it in the conventional position in front of the first axle. Very few UK trucks (lorries for English speakers of English) resemble US big rigs and they tend to built to a smaller scale, including the amount of space in the engine bay.

This reminds me of the "minimum truck" concept from the late '70s or early '80s, which proposed a truck chassis the same length as a shipping container and no higher than a semi-trailer chassis. The driver sat in a semi-reclined recumbent position. Drivers apparently hated it because they couldn't see over the tops of other vehicles. My cynical suspicion is they didn't get the same ego-boost as they did in an elevated cab.


There is already a truck like this its called Mercedes Econic

Dave GearHead
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