British Cycling has welcomed proposals by the Mayor of London, London councils and Transport for London to close the loopholes in national regulations which would ban HGVs without basic safety equipment from London’s streets.
The proposals, formally published in a consultation document, will extend the requirement for HGVs to be fitted with Class V (left side of cab) and VI (front of cab) mirrors which improve the driver’s visibility of the road next to the vehicle.
They will also require nearly all HGVs to be fitted with sideguards which, in the event of a collision, push the other vehicle away from its wheels.
Martin Key British Cycling’s campaigns manager said:
“Boris Johnson is showing real leadership on this issue. He has looked at the evidence and is now taking action to help reduce these terrible collisions. However, he will not have to do this if the Department for Transport amend the national regulations which would see dangerous lorries banned from roads nationwide.
“This is a crucial step to make large vehicles fit for purpose to be able to share the road safely with people walking and cycling.”
At the moment, the EU Directive 2005/27/EC only requires vehicles registered after 2000 to be fitted with Class IV and V mirrors, and only vehicles over 7.5 tonnes registered after 2007 are required to be fitted with a Class VI mirror.
Sideguards are mandated by the Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986, however there are numerous exemptions. Any vehicle used ‘off-road’ is not required to fit sideguards which effectively allows any type of construction truck on the road without this most basic of safety equipment.
Transport for London estimate that if the ban was introduced, between three and seven cyclist and pedestrian fatalities would be prevented in a five year period. In addition, between one and five serious cyclist and pedestrian casualties would be prevented.
British Cycling has long called on national government to close the loopholes in the regulation which allow dangerous vehicles on the road without basic safety equipment which helps drivers see the road and reduce the chances of fatal collisions.
Chris Boardman also accompanied Boris Johnson on a trip to Brussels to press for new regulations to ensure all new HGVs are built with cabs which allow the driver a direct view of the road around the cab.
The proposed ban would be across London within the same area as the London Low Emission Zone. This broadly covers the Greater London Authority Boundary.
The ban would apply to all roads within the zone apart from motorways and would commence in early 2015 and operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It would be enforced by a criminal process but TfL is seeking approval from government to allow enforcement by civil enforcement officers and CCTV.
The deadline for response to the consultation is 22 September 2014 and can be accessed via the TfL’s consultation hub.