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shutterstock 64454710Transport for London (TfL) and London Councils have begun their consultation on the Safer Lorries Scheme, that will see lorries without sideguards and safety mirrors banned from London’s streets.

The proposed ban will require every vehicle in London over 3.5 tonnes to have the neccessary safety equipment to protect cyclists and pedestrians. The Safer Lorries Scheme will use a combination of powers held by TfL and London Boroughs to deliver a simple, quick and complete solution across all London roads.

The equipment needed includes:

  • Sideguards – to protect cyclists from being dragged under the wheels in the event of a collision.
  • Mirrors – giving the driver a better view of cyclists and pedestrians around their vehicles.

Operating across London 24 hours a day, seven days a week, the ban would cover the same area as the London Low Emission Zone. It would be sanctioned by on-street enforcement and, in the future, could move to CCTV cameras subject to further approval by the Department for Transport and London boroughs.

One of the Mayor and TfL’s top priorities is to reduce the number of people killed or seriously injured on London’s roads by 40 per cent by 2020. Action is being taken to prioritise the safety of the most vulnerable road users – seen to be pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists.

Nine of the 14 cyclist deaths in London in 2013 involved HGV’s, and this figue has led to the creation of the Safer Lorries Scheme. Subject to the outcome of the consultation and legal procedures, the ban could be in place by early 2015.

The cost

  • Sideguards can be fitted from approximately £500.
  • Extended view mirrors can be fitted for approximately £300 per mirror.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: “I have long been worried that a large number of cyclist deaths involve a relatively small number of problem lorries which are not fitted with safety equipment. My Safer Lorries Scheme would see those lorries effectively banned from our streets and the lives of thousands of cyclists and pedestrians would be much safer as a result. Vehicles that would be affected by this scheme can easily be retrofitted to comply and doing so will save lives.”

Under national legislation, many HGVs must already be fitted with safety equipment. However, construction lorries, tipper trucks, waste vehicles, cement mixers and certain other forms of HGV are currently exempt from having sideguards fitted. HGVs registered before 2000 are also exempt from the requirement to have extended view mirrors fitted.

Councillor Julian Bell, Chair of London Council’s Transport and Environment Committee (TEC), said: “Heavy goods vehicles play an essential role in London’s economy, so the challenge we face is ensuring hauliers’ needs are balanced with the protection of other drivers, cyclists and pedestrians. London Councils is fully supportive of TfL in developing the Safer Lorries Scheme. We encourage stakeholders from across London to contribute to this consultation, to ensure these safety measures are as effective as they can be in protecting all road users.”

The Safer Lorries Scheme consultation will remain open until 22 September. For more information please click here.

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