New lorry safety restrictions in London to protect cyclists and pedestrians
Heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) are disproportionately represented in cyclist deaths in London and of the 14 cyclist deaths in 2013, 9 involved HGVs. Therefore, London will introduce GB's first "Safer Lorry Scheme" by 1 September, as soon as all of the 600 warning signs are in place.
As the European Transport Safety Council reports, all roads in Greater London (except motorways) will be covered by the scheme. It will require vehicles of more than 3.5 tonnes to be fitted with sideguards to protect cyclists from being dragged under the wheels in the event of a collision, along with Class V and Class VI mirrors giving the driver a better view of cyclists and pedestrians around their vehicle. Older HGVs will have to be retrofitted with sideguards and improved mirrors, or face being banned from London streets from September it has been announced.
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: `Improving the safety of London's roads is a top priority. We know that a large number of cyclist deaths and serious injuries involve a relatively small number of trucks and lorries that are not fitted with basic safety equipment. Such vehicles are not welcome in the capital and the Safer Lorry Scheme will see them effectively banned from our streets. The lives of thousands of cyclists and pedestrians will be much safer as a result and I urge all operators of HGVs to get on board and make it a success.'
The scheme will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and will be enforced by the police, and several government agencies. The maximum fine for each breach of the ban will be £1000. Last year, a public consultation on the scheme showed overwhelming support for the plans, with more than 90 per cent of respondents agreeing with the proposals.