While Boris Johnson licks his wounds after the rejection of his London estuary airport he can at least take comfort in the fact that his Safer Lorries Scheme is moving ahead.

Whatever your view on politicians’ ideas to tackle cyclist safety, especially in the capital (step forward “Crossrail on a bike”), the issue of fitting side guards to all trucks remains a contentiousness one. Indeed, this was explored within the scope of future vehicle design at the recent Construction Logistics and Cyclist Safety (Clocs) group meeting.

Parking the issue of cost involved in retrofitting tippers etc, The Hub had an interesting chat with Carl Milton (pictured right), northern regional logistics manager for aggregates firm Cemex.

Cemex, this year's Motor Transport Awards Safety in Operation winner, has had side-guards fitted to its road fleet since 2007. This was a decision that was not universally popular within the construction sector at the time.

“We took a lot of stick when we broke ranks,” says Milton. Initially these were fitted to the nearside of the vehicles.

Given TfL will soon make side-guards mandatory on vehicles in the capital via the Safer Lorries Scheme, what has been Cemex’s experience given the perceived view in the industry that the resulting reduced clearance will result in damage?

“Since 2007 we haven’t had any damaged operationally other than when people have generally run into things,” says Milton, who adds that with a modern vehicle if you’ve caught your side-guards on something you’ll have also likely hit something far more critical on the underside, such as the fuel tank.

“The only exception I can think of is forestry vehicles where they really go off road, subterranean almost. But these aren’t the sorts of vehicles in the middle of cities getting involved in accidents.”

Food for thought.