London's roads are set to become safer as Transport for London (TfL) and London Councils today began their consultation on the Safer Lorries Scheme which will see a ban on lorries that do not have safety equipment to protect cyclists and pedestrians from the capital's streets. 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 proposed ban will require every vehicle in London over 3.5 tonnes, which are involved in a disproportionate number of fatal collisions with cyclists and pedestrians, to be fitted with sideguards to protect cyclists from being dragged under the wheels in the event of a collision.
It will also require them to be fitted with mirrors giving the driver a better view of cyclists and pedestrians around their vehicles.
The ban would operate across London 24 hours a day, seven days a week, covering the same area as the London Low Emission Zone. It would be enforced 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 and action is being taken to prioritise the safety of the most vulnerable road users: pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists.
Of the 14 cyclist deaths in London in 2013, nine involved HGVs. Vehicles that would be affected by this scheme can easily be retrofitted to comply. Side guards can be fitted from approximately £500 and extended view mirrors can be fitted for approximately £300 per mirror. Subject to the outcome of the consultation and legal procedures, the ban could be in place by early 2015.
The announcement comes as Sainsbury's unveiled their new delivery vehicle for London, which is fitted with a range of safety features including extended sideguards and a 360 degree proximity camera.
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. Companies such as Sainsbury's and O'Donovan are already leading the way when it comes to cyclist safety and I urge others to follow suit."
Earlier this year, the Construction Logistics and Cyclists Safety (CLOCS) standard was developed by TfL with key construction industry partners. It sets best practice for construction vehicles in terms of safety equipment and driver training and far exceeds any regulatory requirement. Already over 40 organisations have signed up as CLOCS Champions - from major construction projects like Crossrail and Thames Tideway Tunnel, to developers, construction clients and operators who are keen to be seen as industry leaders in this field.
London's Transport Commissioner, Sir Peter Hendy CBE, said: "The proposed Safer Lorries Scheme is a further demonstration of how London is working with the freight industry to drive up safety standards. Many vehicles in London will already comply with this scheme, but by forcing the dangerous minority to follow suit, we can ensure that everyone is doing what they can to help make our roads as safe as possible."
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."
Sainsbury's Retail & Operations Director Roger Burnley said: 'We're proud to be here to support the Safer Lorry Scheme today. We've put an enormous amount of thought and research into creating a truck that we hope will be the safest on the road - for all road users.'
Jacqueline O'Donovan, Managing Director of O'Donovan Waste Disposal, said: "O'Donovan Waste Disposal operates a fleet of 75 vehicles and has made a substantial investment in vehicle safety enhancements. Our drivers and vehicles regularly participate in Exchanging Places run by the Metropolitan Police and TfL, which enables cyclists to experience a HGV driver's view of the road and get a better understanding of their challenges. Although a large number of our vehicles were exempt we felt the investment assisted our drivers in making London a safer place for all. We are doing all we can, through equipment and training, to minimise risk to cyclists and other vulnerable road users. The CLOCS standard sets clear objectives to industry and is easy to understand and implement and we welcome this consultation to try to make best practice the norm."
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.
The rising number of such vehicles in London's building boom increases the risk to the growing number of cyclists, who now make up almost a quarter of all rush hour traffic in central London. In recent years, both TfL and Crossrail have implemented contractual requirements that sideguards and safety mirrors need to be fitted to any vehicle over 3.5 tonnes working for them. Once launched, the Safer Lorries Scheme would form one part of the continuing work that is already underway across London to improve road safety involving freight vehicles, in particular construction vehicles. Regular road safety police operations continue to be carried out by the Industrial HGV Task Force across London, targeting non-compliant heavy goods vehicles, drivers and operators using the capital's roads. Since last October, this has resulted in almost 3000 vehicles being stopped, with 36 vehicles being seized, 1319 roadworthiness prohibitions given to drivers and a further 776 fixed penalty notices issued.
The six key commitments are:
1. To lead the way in achieving a 40 per cent reduction in the number of people killed or seriously injured on the capital's roads by 2020 - with a longer term ambition of freeing London's roads from death and serious injury;
2. To prioritise safety of the most vulnerable groups - pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists - which make up 80 per cent of serious and fatal collisions;
3. To provide substantial funding for road safety, invested in the most effective and innovative schemes;
4. To increase efforts with the police and enforcement agencies in tackling illegal, dangerous and careless road user behaviour that puts people at risk;
5. To campaign for changes in national and EU law to make roads, vehicles and drivers safer;
6. To work in partnership with boroughs and London's road safety stakeholders to spread best practice and share data and information