A London-based construction operator has fitted a new safety device to one of its tipper tricks in a bid to improve road safety and prevent the number of cyclist accidents.

The DawesGuard, which was created by former police motorcycle officer James Dawes, is a retractable shield designed to block the gap between the wheels of heavy trucks. This prevents vulnerable road users, including cyclists, from being dragged underneath the wheel in an accident.

The retractable shield is currently being used by construction operator Keltbray Group alongside the ‘PeoplePanel’, which is a plastic panel that runs along the gap on the side of a lorry to prevent clothing or equipment from becoming trapped.

According to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), 21,287 cyclists were injured in road accidents in 2014. RoSPA also estimates that one in five cyclist deaths in London are caused by collisions with HGVs.

Tom Jones, head of policy at Thompsons Solicitors, said: “Cyclists are one of the most vulnerable groups on the roads, a fact clearly highlighted in the number of tragic deaths many of which involve collisions with HGVs, especially in London.

“The safety guard has the potential to eliminate the risk of cyclists getting caught under the wheels of a lorry, which is often a dangerous ‘blind spot’ where the driver is unable to see other road users.

“Although new devices such as this are a step in the right direction, a comprehensive review of cyclist safety and driver awareness, both in London and across the UK, is needed to ensure that these aren’t one offs by one company that don’t ultimately lead to long term change making the roads safer for all.”