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10 September 2014, 06:06
A new cyclist and pedestrian safety scheme has been started by Cambridge University this week.
The scheme launched this week by the University of Cambridge aims to ensure vehicles used by its contractors are fitted with safety equipment designed to reduce the risk to cyclists and pedestrians.
With almost £2bn of construction work planned by the University in the next five years it is vital vulnerable road users are made to feel as safe as possible, say those behind the scheme.
From this week, contractors working on the University of Cambridge's major projects will sign up to make the city a safer place for cyclists and pedestrians in the first scheme of its type outside of London.
Extensive development around the city is planned by the University in the next half-decade and with that comes HGV traffic.
Using the model set in London the University has asked all its contractors to sign up to the Cambridge Construction Logistics and Cycle Safety initiative (Cambridge CLOCS), which will bind them to make safety improvements to their vehicles and provide specific staff training.
The scheme is inspired by the Transport for London-led "Standard for Construction Logistics: Managing Work Related Risk" and includes asking contractors to install extra mirrors on vehicles and side panels on HGVs to prevent cyclist and pedestrians falling under wheels.
Other requirements include fitting reversing sensors and warning signs, and that contractors put their drivers through awareness training.
The initiative will run as a voluntary scheme for one year with it becoming compulsory in new contracts from the second year along with penalties for non-compliance.
It is hoped that Cambridge CLOCS will benefit the University's 9,000 employees, its students and College staff - and the Cambridge community as a whole.
Ravinder Dhillon, Head of Estate Development at the University of Cambridge, said: "We saw what was happening in London and, as many of our staff cycle to work, the benefits were obvious to us. With almost £2bn of construction work planned by the University in the next five years the issue of how HGVs interact with pedestrians and cyclists is of growing importance.
The city will become one of the biggest construction hubs in the UK outside of London. We want our construction contractors to know what we want and what we expect. We are delighted the contractors have reacted so positively to this and we will monitor its progress over the next year in the lead up to it becoming a compulsory scheme with sanctions."
All the University's major contractors have signed up to the voluntary part of the scheme as part of (this week's) announcement.
Mr Dhillon added: "The actual cost to contractors is relatively small but these changes can make a big difference to pedestrians and cyclists."
The scheme means not only the contractors but also those they sub-contract to must comply with the standards. It also stipulates contractors must keep logs of compliance and of any incidents so that the scheme's effectiveness can be measured.
It is hoped the scheme will have knock-on effects throughout the city, as University-led development is a major contributor to works in and around Cambridge.
"Our vision is that it will reduce risks to vulnerable road users, and provide a platform for others in the education sector and within the city to follow," said Mr Dhillon.
Catrin Darsley, Environmental Coordinator at the University of Cambridge, said: "With 40 per cent of staff cycling to work each day and many of our students using two wheels to get around, as well as Cambridge's reputation as a cycling city, this opportunity to further improve road safety is exceedingly relevant.
The commitment of our contractors to make these improvements to vehicle safety will also benefit the 10 per cent of staff who walk to work, as well as everyone visiting, living or working on the sites most affected by the University's exciting capital building programme."
Ongoing large University developments in the city include the West Cambridge site, North West Cambridge and the Cambridge Biomedical Campus.
Contractor, SDC assisted the University in assessing the feasibility of the standard and has already altered several vehicles.
Francis Shiner, Managing Director of SDC, said: "The measures allow us to greatly reduce the dangers presented by lorries and we believe that we should be doing everything possible to protect vulnerable road users."