An innovative retro-fit addition to truck sideguards to improve cyclist and pedestrian safety has been shown at last week’s Construction Logistics and Cycle Safety Show (CLOCS) event in London.
Transportnewsbrief.co.uk reports that the DawesGuard is designed to ensure cyclist and pedestrians cannot fall under the rear wheels, and is the brainchild of James Dawes, a keen cyclist and former Metropolitan Police motorcyclist. Dawes set up his Hampshire-based company, Dawes Highway Safety, last year with the central aim of developing products to prevent fatalities of the kind he witnessed all too frequently during his five years as a London motorcycle police officer.
The DawesGuard is made of Hypalon, an extremely tough DuPont synthetic rubber material used in inflatable boats among other things. Compressed air from the truck’s standard reservoirs is used to inflate the DawesGuard, to a working pressure of 12psi (0.8 bar), extending it down from below the base of the standard sideguard to the road surface which it touches with a line of bristles.
The device is retracted by a flick of the switch in the cab when greater ground clearance is needed (when the truck goes off-road, for example) or when it is being operated on A-roads or motorways at higher speed where there is virtually no risk of any collision with cyclists or pedestrians. On urban roads, where the truck is stationary or operating at low speed, the DawesGuard is strong and rigid enough to form a protective barrier which prevents anyone from falling under the rear wheels.
A Dennis Eagle Elite two-axle truck with Hyva skip-loading equipment was used to demonstrate the DawesGuard at the CLOCS event, and was also fitted with a Dawes “PeoplePanel” to its standard aluminium frame sideguard on the nearside. This panel, made of tough, shatterproof plastic, fits over the sideguard to lessen the risk of a cyclist’s clothing or bicycle becoming entangled in the sideguard.
Dennis Eagle is the first truck manufacturer to show interest in the DawesGuard but others are expected to follow. Dawes expects the price of retrofitting the product will start from around £3000.
A European patent for the DawesGuard has been applied for. He describes the CLOCS show as “a real landmark day” for his company.
Dawes said, “Our purpose is to find engineering solutions to push the boundaries of road safety for industry and vulnerable road-users alike.”
He added, “Dennis Eagle has been a fantastic supporter of our design from when I first introduced the concept and we are looking forward to seeing and hearing how the DawesGuard is received.”