Flag-waving crowds lining the historic route of London’s 800th Lord Mayor’s Show were given a glimpse of the very latest in cyclist- and pedestrian-friendly road transport technology, in the shape of the instantly recognisable Mercedes-Benz Econic.
The 18-tonne Econic 1830 skip-loader featured near the front of the colourful procession and was cheered as it wound its way through the rain-drenched streets of the famous Square Mile on Saturday (14th November).
With its low-height, fully glazed cab providing unparalleled visibility to the front and sides, the Econic is ideally suited to operation in busy town and city centres. The 4×2 truck’s high-tech appearance was in marked contrast to another four-wheeled vehicle, the Lord Mayor’s gold, 350-year-old state coach, as well as to the ranks of pikemen who guard it, and the Livery Companies and representatives of Her Majesty’s Forces who help to make the Show such a magnificent spectacle.
Also available in 6×2/4 26-tonne configuration, and as an 8×4 32-tonne factory conversion, the Econic was purpose-designed for municipal duties and is most commonly used as a refuse and recycling vehicle.
It is now being marketed to those working in other sectors, notably construction. Econic-based tippers, mixers and skip-loaders offer significant safety benefits for operators seeking to reduce the risk of one of their vehicles being involved in a potentially fatal collision with a cyclist or pedestrian.
The first Econic construction chassis to work on behalf of the City of London Corporation is currently in build – a 32-tonne Econic 3235 tipper-grab, it was ordered by highways contractor JB Riney, of Bow, from Dealer S & B Commercials, and is due to enter service early in the New Year.
Basil Vinnicombe, Head of Special Products at Mercedes-Benz Trucks, said: “We’re delighted that one of our Econics was chosen to take part in the 800th Lord Mayor’s Show.
“As well as offering the outstanding build quality, efficiency, environmental compatibility and comfort for which Mercedes-Benz vehicles are renowned, this ground-breaking vehicle also reinforces our reputation as a leader in the quest for road safety.”
The Econic’s relatively low seating position means drivers sit at the same level as pedestrians and cyclists and have unimpeded cross-cab vision, so they can easily make direct, eye-to-eye contact. Another advantage for urban operation is that the vehicle is fully air suspended, so quieter than steel sprung trucks.
Guildhall Yard represents the ‘start point’ for the Lord Mayor’s coach – it was here last July that an Econic-based High Visibility Safety Truck was presented at the ancient Cart Marking ceremony by the Worshipful Company of Carmen.
In 1215 King John was persuaded to issue a Royal Charter that allowed the City of London to elect its own Mayor. Since then every newly-elected Lord Mayor has left the safety of the City and travelled through the winding medieval streets of the Square Mile to Westminster to swear loyalty to the Crown. Over the centuries this journey has become London’s favourite street party, with hundreds of thousands of people lining the streets to watch.