Ban on 'unsafe' lorries comes into effect in London

Will Green is news editor of Supply Management
2 September 2015

Heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) without safety equipment to protect pedestrians and cyclists have been banned in London.

From 1 September HGVs of more than 3.5 tonnes entering Greater London must have sideguards to stop cyclists getting dragged under their wheels and mirrors giving the driver a better view of other road users.

The move was announced by London mayor Boris Johnson as part of his Safer Lorry Scheme, which will see the introduction of further measures such as the fitting of windows in the lower panels of cab doors to improve visibility.

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 begun vigorous enforcement action against the laggards. A very disproportionate share of cyclist deaths and serious injuries are caused by lorries, and this scheme will undoubtedly save lives.

“But this big step forward is only one element of my work to protect cyclists and pedestrians from lorries. I propose to require further safety modifications to all HGVs in London, including the retrofitting of bigger side windows to further reduce the driver blind spots that contribute to so many tragic accidents.”

He said of the eight cyclist deaths so far this year in London, seven have involved HGVs.

A consultation on the best way to introduce the new window requirement will begin in January, while trials are taking place on sensors that alert lorry drivers to the presence of cyclists.

Greater London Authority planning powers will also be used to prescribe the routes HGVs can use in relation to major building projects because many of the most dangerous vehicles are involved in construction.

Lorries breaching the ban, which is applicable at all times, face a £1,000 fine.

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