Trucks without safety equipment are to be banned from London in the UK’s first ‘Safer Lorry Scheme’. The Mayor, Boris Johnson, Transport for London (TfL) and London Councils have approved a London-wide ban on any lorry (truck) not fitted with safety equipment to protect cyclists and pedestrians, following a public consultation where the proposed scheme received 90% support. Traffic orders implementing the scheme are currently being published, and the training of police officers and information campaigns with drivers and haulage operators have all started. Work has also started on the installation of the 600 roadside warning signs at the London boundary, with the scheme commencing operation on September 1.
All roads in Greater London (except motorways) will be covered by the scheme, which 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. The scheme will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and will be enforced by the police, the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency and the joint TfL and DfT-funded Industrial HGV Taskforce (IHTF). Trucks are disproportionately represented in cyclist fatalities in the capital. Of the 14 cyclist deaths in London in 2013, nine involved heavy goods vehicles (HGVs). Although the number of serious collisions involving cyclists and trucks decreased in 2014, it remains one of TfL’s key commitments to reduce the number of people killed or seriously injured on London’s roads by 40% over the next five years.
Announcing the start of the program, 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.” Julian Bell, chairman of London Councils’ Transport and Environment Committee, added, “This scheme will save lives and we are pleased to be representing the boroughs in the development of the new Safer Lorry Scheme. The scheme balances practical issues with the urgent need to address the danger lorries can pose to other users. The agreement and making of the required traffic orders for each of the 33 London Authorities’ extensive road networks is a significant achievement and now allows the scheme to be implemented as planned later this year. We are determined to make London’s roads safer for drivers, cyclists and pedestrians.”