Safer Lorries Scheme begins final consultation
Transport for London (TfL) has heralded the final phase of consultation for the UK's first Safer Lorries Scheme, which would ban lorries that do not have safety equipment designed specifically to protect cyclists and pedestrians from entering the capital.
Earlier this year TfL and London Councils held a six week consultation into their plans to introduce the Safer Lorries Scheme, which would cover all roads in London (except motorways) and require vehicles more than 3.5 tonnes to be:
Fitted with side guards to protect cyclists from being dragged under the wheels in the event of a collision;
Fitted with mirrors giving the driver a better view of cyclists and pedestrians around their vehicles. The proposed scheme would operate across London, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, covering the same area as the London Low Emission Zone and be enforced by the Police. More than 6,800 people responded to the initial consultation, with 90% supporting the plans.
TfL and London Councils are now consulting on the relevant draft Traffic Regulation Orders, and subject to the outcome, the ban could be in full force by the next summer.
New analysis commissioned by TfL to improve the understanding of the factors which led to collisions between 2007 and 2011, showed that more than a third of fatal HGV-cyclist collisions involved a tipper truck. Introducing the proposed Safer Lorries Scheme would ensure lorries entering London are fitted with mirrors and sidebars to provide better protection, particularly at junctions.
The data was analysed by both the Transport Safety Research Centre, Loughborough University and the Centre for Transport Studies, University College London.
Leon Daniels, Managing Director of Surface Transport, said: 'Improving the safety of London's roads is a top priority for Transport for London. Heavy Goods Vehicles, particularly construction related vehicles, are involved in a disproportionate number of fatal collisions with cyclists and pedestrians. Of the 14 cyclist deaths in London in 2013, nine involved HGVs.
'The proposed Safer Lorries Scheme is a great partnership effort, which will ensure that the minority of HGVs that still operate on our roads without effective basic safety equipment are required to fit this. This will save lives and ensure a level playing field for operators.'
Cllr Julian Bell, Chair of London Councils' Transport and Environment Committee, said: `This scheme will save lives and London Councils is pleased to participate in the Safer Lorries Scheme by promoting this traffic order. The scheme balances practical issues with the urgent need to address the danger lorries can pose to other road users. "London Councils is determined to make London's roads safer for drivers, cyclists and pedestrians, and I am proud London is leading the way in introducing this scheme.`
The introduction of the proposed Safer Lorries Scheme is one of the key actions of TfL's new Cycle Safety Action Plan which was also published and contains 33 new actions that TfL, the police, London boroughs and all organisations involved in making cycling safer will work together to deliver between now and 2020. The plan, which will help deliver TfL's six key overarching commitments to road safety, includes a wide range of actions, including:
Delivering the major infrastructure programmes outlined in the Mayor's Vision for Cycling, emphasising the importance of cycle safety on the capital's roads. Work to remove the Elephant & Castle northern roundabout will begin in early 2015 and earlier this month TfL began installing continental-style Low Level Cycle Signals at further trial sites across London, helping to encourage their use more widely in the UK. Last week, the Mayor announced improvement work is set to start on Oval Junction, the first of 33 junctions to be radically reshaped to make them safer for cyclists.
Working with regulators and the automotive industry to explore how improvements to HGV design could further protect cyclists, such as higher vision cabs to improve driver direct vision, and the independent evaluation of blindspot safety technology to help inform HGV operator buying decisions.
Extending the safety principles of the Fleet Operator Recognition Scheme (FORS) by developing cycle safety initiatives for other operator sectors such as buses, coaches, tour buses, taxis, private hire vehicles, light goods vehicles, cycle couriers and cyclists generally, encouraging drivers to be more sympathetic to vulnerable road user needs.
Doubling the number of adult cyclists receiving advanced skills training by creating a dedicated London Virtual Skills Hub. This will allow online booking of cycle training and advanced safety skills across London to attract more commuter cyclists to take up training.
Working with the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency to incorporate more vulnerable road user awareness training in the London taxi test London is leading the UK in terms of cycling spend per head, with an average of £10 per person in the capital. For more information on the work TfL and the London boroughs are carrying out to improve cycle safety across London, visit www.tfl.gov.uk/cycling
The revised Cycle Safety Action Plan can be downloaded here: www.tfl.gov.uk/corporate/publications-and-reports/road-safety
Vehicles that would be affected by the Safer Lorries 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. Enforcement will be undertaken by the police. The Safer Lorries Scheme requirements have been a prerequisite for the FORS Bronze award since earlier this month. FORS was recognised with a Prince Michael International Road Safety Award for its continuing work to improve fleet and freight safety across the UK.
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 over 3400 vehicles being stopped, with 41 vehicles being seized, 1565 roadworthiness prohibitions given to drivers and a further 887 fixed penalty notices issued.
The Pedal Cyclist Fatalities in London: Analysis of Police Collision Files (2007-2011), by Rachel Talbot, Steve Reed, Jo Barnes, Pete Thomas of the Transport Safety Research Centre, Loughborough University, and Nicola Christie of the Centre for Transport Studies, University College London, can be downloaded here: www.tfl.gov.uk/corporate/publications-and-reports/road-safety
In March 2013, the Mayor launched his Vision for Cycling in London, which detailed his £913m programme to improve infrastructure and safety for cyclists in the capital.
In February 2014 the Mayor and TfL published six safety commitments, which supports the Safe Streets for London plan to reduce further the number of people killed or seriously injured in London by 40% by 2020; and brings focus to the range of actions needed by us and our partners to make our streets safer: http://www.tfl.gov.uk/cdn/static/cms/documents/safe-london-streets-our-six-road-safety-commitments.pdf
The six key commitments are:
- To lead the way in achieving a 40% 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;
- To prioritise safety of the most vulnerable groups - pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists - which make up 80% of serious and fatal collisions;
- To provide substantial funding for road safety, invested in the most effective and innovative schemes;
- To increase efforts with the police and enforcement agencies in tackling illegal, dangerous and careless road user behaviour that puts people at risk;
- To campaign for changes in national and EU law to make roads, vehicles and drivers safer;
- To work in partnership with boroughs and London's road safety stakeholders to spread best practice and share data and information
Earlier this year, the Mayor confirmed that regular road safety police operations, based on the original "Operation Safeway" which ran at the end of last year, will continue to operate across London for two days every month, on unannounced days.
The MPS Commercial Vehicle Unit and the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency also continue to enforce against non-compliant and dangerous commercial vehicles and drivers. Launched in 2013 as an industry response to a TfL commissioned report, the Construction Logistics and Cyclist Safety (CLOCS) programme has brought together developers, construction companies, operators, vehicle manufacturers and regulatory bodies to ensure a road safety culture is embedded across the construction industry.
Due to CLOCS, over 20 construction clients require FORS accreditation as part of their contracts to help reduce collisions between trucks and all vulnerable road users. Further information about CLOCS is available at: www.clocs.org.uk.