Banbury MP Victoria Prentis paid a visit to staff at Thames Water on Monday to see what modifications the company has made to their vehicles to protect cyclists on the road.
Thames Water operates a fleet of HGVs and also promotes cycling as part of an active lifestyle for members of staff. The initiative has been set up to help HGV lorry drivers and cyclists develop a healthy relationship on the road.
Mrs Prentis visited the Banbury sewage treatment works on Thorpe Way Industrial Estate and talked to staff about the safety initiative, who were also asked to sit the driver’s seat of a HGV to understand what a driver can and can’t see.
Mrs Prentis said: “I was so grateful to Thames Water for spending time with me and explaining their health and safety features. Thank you to the team for showing me how the awareness alarms work in the cab, and for letting me hear the very obvious warning sounds when vehicles are turning.
“I was very impressed that Thames Water have stepped above the legal requirement to ensure safety on the roads, and hope others will follow their example. I was fascinated too to learn more about how water is cleaned, and the speed at which it gets back out to our rivers. I was very impressed by the quality of health and safety abided by at all times, and thank all of the staff for their time.”
HGV lorries pose a particular danger for cyclists, especially in London where approximately 20 per cent of cyclist fatalities involve an HGV. Thames Water has implemented new safety standards, and driver training, to reduce the risk of future accidents, including installing side skirts, sensors, reversing cameras and multiple mirrors.
Thames Water has also become one of the latest businesses to support the #ChooseCycling network, which was launched by British Cycling to promote cycling as an everyday transport option and ensure it receives adequate investment at government level.
Gareth Mullen, Health and Safety Manager at Thames Water said: “We are doing all we can to improve the safety of our HGVs - we’ve installed a lot of new technology, but we’re also providing another perspective to road users, so they know what they can do to keep safe on the roads.”