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Lorry safety scheme in London aims to increase protection of cyclists


Lorries without safety equipment to protect cyclists and pedestrians will be banned from London’s roads from Tuesday.
Under Britain’s first safer lorry scheme, heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) in the capital must be fitted with side guards to help prevent cyclists being dragged under the wheels in the event of a collision. They must also have a certain type of mirror which will give the driver a better view of bicycles and pedestrians.
London mayor Boris Johnson hailed the scheme as a life-saver. Seven of the eight cyclist deaths in the capital this year have involved HGVs.
Johnson 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, from this morning, 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.”
Johnson also launched a proposal for all lorries to be retrofitted with bigger side windows to reduce driver blind spots.
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The new rules cover every road in the capital except motorways and will operate 24 hours a day. The maximum fine for each breach of the ban is £1,000. Repeat offenders risk losing their operating licence.
But hauliers claimed the funds to launch the scheme would be better spent on enforcing previous guidelines. Natalie Chapman, head of policy for London at the Freight Transport Association (FTA), said: “FTA is pleased that there are exemptions and concessions for vehicles where this equipment is either not possible or not legal.
“However, in principle we believe that this kind of blunt regulatory tool is not the best way to improve cyclist safety. We still think that the money and effort invested in this scheme would have been better spent on increased enforcement against the small proportion of lorries that don’t comply with existing regulations. There are better ways to achieve safer roads for all users.”