WIRRAL’S street cleaning and bins collection company has launched a new road safety campaign after a “worrying” level of dangerous incidents.
Contractor Biffa says the biggest hazard is impatient motorists driving their cars onto pavements in an attempt get around bin wagons.
Managers are concerned that unless drivers modify their behaviour, a Biffa crew member could be seriously injured or killed.
Now all 200 of the borough’s bin collection staff will be wearing new high-visibility vests overprinted with the slogan “Cars stay off pavements. We are only doing our job.”
Biffa business manager Gary Robinson said there were 13 reported incidents of cars being driven on Wirral pavements to get around collection crews in the past year - with three drivers reported to police.
He said: “One such incident involved a manager from Wirral Council who was participating in a ‘back to the floor’ day on one of our collection vehicles.
“A car mounted the pavement and nearly ran him over. We didn’t hesitate to report that to the police.”
In February, a Biffa loader was struck on the arm by a car driven on a pavement. Fortunately, he did not need hospital treatment.
Mr Robinson added: “Every near-miss, as we call them, is a brush with death.
“It’s really not acceptable for impatient drivers to drive recklessly around our vehicles and crews. My teams are only doing the job that residents want them to do, and it’s tough enough without having to worry about bad driving.”
Biffa’s collection vehicles will also be sporting two new bold slogans: "The safety of our staff is important: you will be reported to the police if you put them in danger."
And "Please drive carefully around this vehicle."
The campaign is fully endorsed and supported by Wirral Council.
In 2013, Biffa’s municipal division, which services nearly 40 local authorities across Britain, recorded more than 700 incidents of cars being driven on pavements.
Several Biffa staff were actually struck by vehicles, resulting in serious injuries, and Biffa’s managers are extremely concerned someone could be killed.