Mercedes-Benz develops camera system to improve cyclist visibility

With the toll of road deaths amongst cyclists continuing to rise, Mercedes-Benz is leading a new push to make people on bicycles more visible to truck drivers.

The manufacturer was displaying its latest technology on the stand in an Econic truck, which is mainly used for refuse collections.

For starters the passenger side door has glass right down to the bottom, which means than any cyclist pulling up on the nearside will be visible to the driver.

The truck is also fitted with no fewer than four cameras, mounted on the front, back and wing mirrors, with images projected onto a large TV screen on the dashboard.

Philip Chance, regional manager, special projects at Mercedes-Benz Trucks, was on hand to explain the advantages of the system to visitors at the show.

He told Commercial Fleet magazine: "This new system is factory-fitted so is covered by the usual Mercedes-Benz warranty. It costs around £1,900 extra but that money is nothing compared to the value of a life it might save. We are aiming to cut down on the terrible death toll among cyclists in this country and as the Econetic is an urban vehicle – and that's where most of the deaths occur – we are hoping that this will go some way to help."

However, Chance also pointed out that cyclists had a duty to protect themselves too. He said: "They need to understand that they are responsible for their own safety. Too many of them at present don't wear high visibility vests and many of these accidents occur because they come up on the nearside of a truck at a junction when the truck is already indicating to pull left. Many of them also wear headphones and listen to music too, which is really dangerous."

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