9th September 2015
Earlier this week Transport for London’s Safer Lorry Scheme came into effect, effectively banning HGV’s without safety equipment to protect cyclists and pedestrians.
The scheme was developed due to a disproportionate share of deaths and serious injuries on the capital’s roads being caused by lorries. So far seven out of eight cyclist deaths in the capital have involved HGVs.
Those involved in collisions with the large goods vehicles tend to be dragged under the wheels of vehicles that turn across them.
As of the 1st September however, all vehicles weighing more than 3.5 tonnes entering London must now be fitted with sideguards to help prevent this eventuality and must also be fitted with Class V and Class VI mirrors to give the driver a better view of cyclists and pedestrians.
Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, has hailed the scheme as a life-saver, and in a Greater London Authority (GLA) press release said:
“We are ahead of any other part of the UK in closing the legal loopholes that allowed many HGVs to operate without basic safety equipment and I am delighted that, over the 18 months since we announced the safer lorry scheme, the vast majority of operators have got the message and fitted safety equipment to their vehicles in anticipation of the ban.”
“We have begun vigorous enforcement action against the laggards. A very disproportionate share of cyclist deaths and serious injuries are caused by lorries and today’s scheme will undoubtedly save lives.”
The mayor went on to explained that the introduction of these rules was just one element of his wider plan to protect London’s cyclists and pedestrians from lorries, announcing a proposal that would require the retrofitting of bigger side windows to HGVs, to further reduce driver blind spots.
According to the GLA, extensive trials are also now being undertaken at the Transport Research Laboratory of a variety of electronic sensors for lorries, aiming to alert drivers to cyclists’ presence. It says that if it is shown that any of these devices offers significant and consistent benefits, it may also be required for them to be fitted to lorries in London.
It has been identified that many of the most dangerous large vehicles in the capital are construction-related and there are proposals to control the routes that construction vehicles take through the city.
Transport for London said: “For future major construction projects, GLA planning powers will be used to strictly prescribe the routes which HGVs serving them can follow – requiring, for instance, that they avoid a road heavily used by cyclists or take a route that minimises the number of left turns, the most dangerous manoeuvre.”
The Safer Lorry Scheme was developed with London Councils and covers every road in Greater London, except motorways. It will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
It will be enforced by the police, the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency and the joint Transport for London and Department for Transport-funded Industrial HGV Taskforce (IHTF).
The Safer Lorry Scheme is part of the Mayor’s £913 million Vision for Cycling, which includes new segregated superhighways, safer junctions, and backstreet Quietway routes.
The maximum fine for each breach of the ban will be £1000. Repeat offenders may also be referred to the relevant Traffic Commissioner, who is responsible for the licensing and regulation of HGV operators.
What do you think of the new proposals, will we see a reduction in death and injury rates across London? Leave your views in the comments section below:
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