New rules banning HGVs from London unless they’re fitted with safety measures to protect cyclists and pedestrians will come into effect from September 1st.
From that date no vehicle over 3.5 tonnes will be allowed to operate in the capital unless fitted with side guards and proximity mirrors.
The ban applies to all roads, except motorways, and is being introduced by London’s 33 local authorities and Transport for London in order to reduce the number of collisions and accidents involving HGVs.
According to TfL, the vehicles “are disproportionately represented in cyclist fatalities in the capital,” with 9 of the 14 cyclist deaths in London in 2013 involving HGVs.
The scheme will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and will be enforced by the police, officers from the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency and the joint TfL and DfT-funded Industrial HGV Taskforce.
Drivers and companies found operating unsafe vehicles will be liable for a fine of up to £1,000.
Mayor Boris Johnson said “thousands of cyclists and pedestrians will be much safer as a result” of the new rules and urged “all operators of HGVs to get on board and make it a success.”
On Wednesday Transport commissioner Sir Peter Hendy told the TfL board the organisation had made good progress in winning industry-backing for the safety measures and that, due to TfL’s lobbying, all construction sites in the capital now require lorries to be fitted with them.
Speaking today, Sir Peter said: “The essential role that freight plays in any city is vast, and none more so than London. Equally vital is ensuring that we can all safely use our roads and this is why I am pleased to announce the launch of the country’s first Safer Lorry Scheme.
“The rogue minority of HGVs that operate on our roads without effective basic safety equipment will be forced to improve or be banned. This will save lives and ensure a level playing field for operators.”
Cllr Julian Bell, Chair of London Councils’ Transport and Environment Committee, said: “The scheme balances practical issues with the urgent need to address the danger lorries can pose to other users.
“The agreement and making of the required traffic orders for each of the 33 London Authorities’ extensive road networks is a significant achievement and now allows the scheme to be implemented as planned later this year.”
Natalie Chapman, head of policy at the Freight Transport Association, said: “FTA is pleased to see that the necessary exemptions and concessions for the vehicles for which this equipment is either not possible or not legal have been included within the requirements of the London Safer Lorry Scheme.
“However, in principle we believe that this kind of blunt regulatory tool is not the best way to improve cyclist safety. We still think that the money and effort spent on this scheme would have been better spent on increased enforcement against the small proportion of lorries that don’t comply with existing regulations.”