Published: 30 January 2014
British Cycling policy advisor Chris Boardman has joined forces with the mayors of London, Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Madrid and leaders of 130 other European cities to call for tighter EU rules on HGV safety.
In Brussels, the Mayor’s cycling commissioner, Andrew Gilligan, will back new amendments to EU directives which will allow and require safer HGVs.
Currently many HGVs suffer from blind spots, with drivers often unable to see cyclists close to their vehicles, often with tragic consequences. HGVs were involved in over 50% of London cycling deaths between 2008 and 2012, despite representing only 3% of traffic.
The call for tighter regulations comes as the EU’s weights and dimensions directive is coming up for revision for the first time in years. London has been working with other cities and campaigners to lobby MEPs to introduce stronger safety requirements.
Amendments tabled by the chair of the European Parliament‘s transport committee, Brian Simpson MEP, would require cabs to be produced with better driver sightlines, including larger side windows and a lower front windscreen.
The amendments will be voted on at the European Parliament on 11 February 2014.
British Cycling’s policy advisor, Chris Boardman said: “HGVs are involved in more than 50% of cycling fatalities on our roads despite making up less than 5% of the traffic.
“One of the largest reasons for this disproportionate statistic is the poor visibility afforded to the drivers by current cab designs and it would be ludicrous for us to know this and do nothing about it.
“The measures that we are urging the EU to take today will demonstrably improve the safety of both pedestrians and cyclists, making these environmentally friendly forms of transport more appealing.
"By adopting these recommendations the EU could play an important role in changing our transport habits to benefit us all. It would be criminal for us to know how to save lives and then choose not to take action."
The mayor of London, Boris Johnson added: “This is a once in a decade opportunity for the EU to remove some of the blockages which prevent us from requiring safer lorries in our cities.
"If these amendments, supported by dozens of cities across Europe, can succeed, we can save literally hundreds of lives across the EU in years to come. I have also urged the British government, who currently oppose new safety requirements, to be more enthusiastic about this vital issue.”