Council's road safety work is in the spotlight

Northumberland County Council has been spreading the message about its pioneering safety work to manage the risk of collisions between HGVs and cyclists and pedestrians.

Thursday, 16th March 2017, 8:13 am
Updated Friday, 24th March 2017, 9:54 am
Councillors Kate Cairns, Heather Cairns, Ian Swithenbank and Anne Dale next to the rear mounted safety camera.

Representatives from the authority were invited to speak at a national conference on the subject in London on Tuesday.

The council is one of the first in the UK to introduce two new safety standards that have been designed to help improve driver skills and competence, as well as visibility from the vehicle cab.

This involves fitting vision aids and sensor alerts to its fleet of vehicles to eliminate blind spots and help detect the presence of cyclists, pedestrians and motorcycles.

Head of neighbourhood services, Greg Gavin, and Coun Kate Cairns, member for Longhoughton, gave the presentation to industry professionals at the Construction Logistics and Community Safety (CLOCS) Conference and Exhibition.

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Coun Cairns tragically lost her sister Eilidh in 2009 after she was knocked off her bike in London. The driver later admitted he had not seen her.

Coun Cairns and her mother Heather have lobbied and campaigned tirelessly to eliminate lorry blind spots and bring about improved HGV design at a European level with their See Me Save Me campaign.

She said: “Our message was heard by many key decision makers and people of influence and I hope that it will encourage other local authorities and companies to follow the lead of Northumberland County Council.

“With new housing construction across and around my ward, in Embleton, Longhoughton, Rennington and Beadnell, coupled with the successful operation of nearby quarries, there is a disproportionate number of HGVs on our narrow rural roads.

“The A1 widening project will hugely exacerbate this, both here and across the county.”

The authority has a fleet of 662 vehicles, 145 of which are over 3.5 tons.