With cyclist deaths spiking in London and elsewhere, politicians and activists have proposed an array of new regulations, many of them targeting the HGVs that are disproportionately involved in fatal and serious collisions. As of next year lorries will have to be fitted with sidebars or low skirts when travelling through the capital, or face stiff fines. Labour’s proposed HGV Safety Charter would go even further, requiring all HGVs be outfitted with rear-view cameras, rear warning signs for cyclists, flashing lights, and beacons by the middle of next year and audible warning systems, blind spot elimination devices, and sideguards by the end of 2017. And more high tech solutions could be coming. Lawmakers and insurers could soon require fleets embrace them.
One of these life-saving innovations is the Cycle Safety Shield, developed by Safety Shield Systems. The basis of the shield is a scanning and alert system that notifies drivers of the position of multiple cyclists and pedestrians and trains drivers to be aware of others on the road, particularly in urban environments, and to perform safety checks before executing maneuvers.
As detailed in the video above, the Cycle Safety Shield also includes a forward collision warning, alerting drivers when they are approaching vehicles ahead with too high a speed, and lane departure warning, to notify drivers when they begin drifting. Traffic Sign Recognition recognises and interprets various traffic signs and lights and keeps drivers abreast of local traffic laws and advisories, including speed limits. The programme also provides unique control of headlamps, automatically switching between high and low beams depending on the presence of oncoming or preceding traffic. Drivers avoid accidents caused by the ‘dazzle’ effect of high beams but are able to maximize their use of lights to increase visibility in other situations.
The Cycle Safety Shield also includes a black box telematics system, which monitors drivers’ maneuvering and responsiveness to the system’s alerts. As Safety Shield Systems explains, this box “stores how many late brakings, lane departures without signals, and near misses that the driver encounters.” The fleet management system collects this data in real time, relaying it directly to managers and vehicles owners, allowing them a comprehensive look into their drivers’ cabins—and blind spots. Like many telematics devices, the Cycle Safety Shield can be used to detect and punish haphazard or recalcitrant drivers but Safety Shield Systems would rather fleets use the data collected by the system to make operators aware of their bad habits and dangerous driving. The Cycle Safety Shield, from the black box to the warning systems, should be a means of training lorry drivers to more safety share the road, the company says.