Councils Launch Campaign Following Refuse Worker Near-Misses


Two Councils have launched a safety campaign by releasing CCTV footage showing cars illegally driving along pavements to get around bin trucks as people try and collect residents’ bins.

The footage from the Greater Cambridge Shared Waste Service – a partnership between South Cambridgeshire District and Cambridge City Councils – kick starts a #ConsiderTheImpact campaign aiming to encourage motorists to be patient around waste vehicles by highlighting the huge impact an accident would have on people’s lives, including for the person driving dangerously.

Cllr Neil Gough – “There’s simply no excuse for illegally driving a car on the pavement to get around one of our collection vehicles, especially just to save a few seconds on a journey.”

A six-year-old boy from Cambridge, whose dad works on bin collection rounds, is joining the campaign and calling on people to keep his dad and friends safe while they work.

The top tips from Finley Edwards (pictured below) to help keep his dad Kristian safe are contained in a short video which has just been published by South Cambridgeshire District and Cambridge City Councils, which share a waste service. The video also shows recent CCTV of cars driving on the pavement rather than waiting behind bin trucks. Finley’s tips are:

  • Be patient behind refuse collection vehicles
  • Look out for his daddy and his friends while they work
  • If you know the dustcart is expected on your street, allow extra time

Most local drivers help crews by driving safely and patiently. However, national figures from waste firm Biffa suggest there are 30,000 reports of drivers mounting pavements to get around collection trucks every month.

Since June, several similar reports have been received locally, including:

  • Hinton Avenue, Cambridge: A car mounts the pavement and drives between the fence and parked cars to navigate around a collection vehicle
  • Silver Street, Litlington: A motorcycle mounts the footpath and drives along it to get around staff collecting bins
  • Chesterton Road, Cambridge: A car drives up the pavement and between the side of a collection vehicle and a wall to get in front of a collection truck

Cars mounting the pavement to get ahead of waste collection trucks puts not only the people emptying the bins in danger, but also threatens the safety of pedestrians at a time of day when many people are walking to work or school.

The campaign will see messages on social media, the Councils’ websites and in the local press. Additionally, one waste collection vehicle has been specially sign-written with messages appealing for local motorists to look out for refuse workers while driving behind a truck.

Casualty Reduction Officer at Cambridgeshire Police, PC Jon Morris, said: “It is dangerous to pedestrians and other road users to flout the laws of the road in this way and anyone caught doing so faces a fine or prosecution. Refuse collectors have every right to go about their business, providing a service to the community, and I would urge motorists to be patient if they cause a temporary obstruction.”

Vehicle Related Incidents

Across the waste industry nationally, 600 staff were hurt and four were killed in vehicle-related incidents in 2016/17. Waste bosses are now asking the small minority of drivers who are putting others in danger to think about the potential consequences of actions they are taking to save a few seconds on their journey.

The Greater Cambridge Shared Waste Service has more than 150 frontline collection staff. Crews can empty up to 1,300 bins in a typical day, with the average bin man or woman walking up to 12 miles a day – almost the distance of a half marathon.

These crew members are staffing 50 refuse collection trucks and 18 street cleansing vehicles. All of these are out in parts of Cambridge City and South Cambridgeshire every day. A fleet of specialist, smaller trucks that steer from the rear axle are used to get to homes in narrow roads and cope with parked cars that line many streets.

Cambridge City Council’s Executive Councillor for Environmental Services and City Centre, Cllr Rosy Moore, said: “We really appreciate the patience of the vast majority of drivers who move safely and considerately around our trucks. They do a tough job in central Cambridge where roads are often narrow with cars parked against both curbs.

“It is so dangerous to pedestrians, our crews, cyclists and other motorists to be driving a car along the pavement and it absolutely should not happen. If you’re a driver, imagine how you would feel if you hit someone while driving on the pavement, just because you wanted to save a few moments on your morning commute.”

South Cambridgeshire District Council’s Lead Cabinet Member for Environmental Services, Cllr Neil Gough (pictured – above), said: “Our waste crews do a tough job in all weather conditions. I’d urge drivers to remember that our workers are someone’s son, daughter, husband, wife or partner.

“There’s simply no excuse for illegally driving a car on the pavement to get around one of our collection vehicles, especially just to save a few seconds on a journey. Please remember that our crews are emptying your bins and deserve to be able to do this without needing to constantly worry about whether they are going to be hit by a car breaking the law and being driven where it shouldn’t be.”

Darrel Moore

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