In July 2015 Rosamund Urwin posted an article questioning why HGV lorries are so dangerous and how the streets could be made safer for London cyclists.
She had advised that back in July the London Cycling Campaign put pressure on the Mayor to help save lives and put an end to ‘lorry danger’. David Cameron had advised MP’s that the government will review the possibility of banning lorries in the City centre.
Her main focus in the report was that a large volume of cyclist fatalities occurred at the hands of a construction vehicle and blame seems to have been placed within the industry. A number of possible arguments and reasons have been given as to the failings of the HGV drivers. One of the main concerns was based around the fact drivers are paid per load instead of per hour so they are pushed to finish the job as quickly as possible which diminishes their attention to road safety.
It has been put forward by many companies and campaigns that vehicles should be more cyclist/pedestrian friendly with blind spots being reduced, cameras and sensors with standard vehicles having a retro-fit which will cost around £1200 or new vehicles having these specifications as standard. It was also mentioned that four steps should be taken in order to prevent the death of more cyclists; better training for those who use the lorries, improved equipment, better industry practice along with a willingness to confront the problem.
The Transport for London (TFL) published statistics accounting over half of all cyclists fatalities from 2008 till 2015 involved HGV’s. They also went on to advise that HGV’s account for only 4% of London’s traffic.
So what has changed since July 2015?
TFL have put in place the Safer Lorry Scheme as of the 1st September 2015 with its main goal being to reduce the number of fatalities or serious injuries on the road by 40% in 2020.
Responsibility of enforcement of the regulations has been passed to the Metropolitan Police Service, City of London Police and the Vehicle Standards Agency. According to TFL failure to comply with the new regulations can lead to the following;
- The driver of a vehicle that is deemed non-compliant may be issued with a £50 fixed penalty notice
- They can potentially receive a £1000 fine if the matter progresses at Magistrates court
- Notice of this will be passed to the Traffic Commissioner
The two main components of the scheme are being put in place for vehicles over 3.5 tonnes (many of which are exempt under the new scheme) wo be fitted with Class V and Class VI mirrors and also side guards. The two improvements to the vehicles should give the driver better vision of cyclists and pedestrians and also will protect them from being dragged under the wheels of the HGV.
It has been stated that the scheme will be in full force 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. The scheme will be covering the exact same areas as the Low Emission Zone.
For more information about the scheme and to see if your vehicle may fall under the new legislation please refer to the TFL link – https://tfl.gov.uk/info-for/freight/safer-lorry-scheme#on-this-page-1