South Lakeland District Council, which covers an area of over 1500 square kilometres and is ranked 12th largest district in England, also has one of the country’s safest waste collection fleets.
Most of the authority’s 90 plus waste and recycling vehicles are equipped with the latest safety devices and technology, designed to keep members of the public, vulnerable road users, cyclists and crew members safe.
South Lakeland features a diverse demographic and geography, combining busy towns, housing estates and tight narrow access roads, alongside a rural landscape and country lanes, all of which is challenging for collection crews. The area is also a major tourist destination and has seen a large increase in the number of local and visiting cyclists.
To ensure the safety of residents, visitors to the area and its own crew members, the council took the decision to maximise the safety of its fleet of sweepers, caged tippers, refuse and recycling collection vehicles with four-camera hard disk recording systems, the Cyclear™ cyclist safety warning device, Reverse Radar and the Reaclear reversing aid, all sourced from UK vehicle safety technology company Innovative Safety Systems Ltd (ISS).
David Thwaites, transport supervisor, South Lakeland District Council said: ‘We have a huge and diverse area to cover during our collection week. The vehicles and crews work in very busy, populated areas, often travelling along tight roads and in areas with limited visibility. The devices are invaluable to drivers and crews by providing additional visibility, warnings and alerts, as well as ensuring that nobody is behind the vehicle during reverse manoeuvres.
‘The cameras also mean we are able to investigate any accidents or reported incidents immediately. We can interrogate footage from any vehicle, at specific times of day and from any angle, which saves a lot of time. The picture is extremely clear so there is no room for doubt; we can see exactly where the vehicle was, at what speed it was travelling and what was going on around the vehicle. This is extremely helpful in the case of complaints from members of the public, such as insurance claims for damage to property. We have already been able to use footage to prove our crews were not responsible for damage.’
Cyclear™ includes an LED warning sign with audible warning speaker to alert approaching cyclists, as well as an optional sensor detection system to warn the driver as the cyclist approaches the danger zone. Widely regarded as a revolution in reversing, Reaclear was developed closely with commercial vehicle operators and uses advanced wireless technology to ensure that the reverse assistant is always in position when a reverse manouevre can’t be avoided. The Reaclear handset incorporates two-way audio communication and immediate danger notification.
Mr Thwaites commented: ‘The kit we have chosen is excellent; high quality and reliable, and the service is great too; we couldn’t ask for better. ISS engineers are always available to help with anything we might need.’