If Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGV) arrived on the scene today they would be banned from urban roads due to the danger they pose to vulnerable road users like cyclists as a result of their ‘enormous’ blind spots, a professor of transport has claimed.
John Parkin, professor of transport engineering at the centre for transport and society at UWE, said the position of the driver’s cab made them too dangerous by modern standards and argued they were being granted ‘grandfather rights’.
He added that safety add-ons such as Class V and Class VI mirrors and side guards to protect cyclists from being dragged under the wheels in the event of a collision were not enough to bring about meaningful safety improvements.
A European Union resolution to change the design of HGV drivers’ cabs to help prevent their blind spots was a badly needed change Mr Parkin said, however it will not come into force for another eight years as a result of being held up by France and Sweden.
Speakign at Traffex in Birmingham, Mr Parkin promoted the industry-led Construction Logistics & Cycle Safety (CLOCS) scheme, which was prompted by Transport for London after 55% of cycling fatalities in the capital between 2008 and 2013 involved an HGV.
The scheme has three work streams to improve safety including an enhanced reporting system, meaning whenever a near miss or collision happens it will be investigated to help the construction industry learn any necessary lessons.
From 1 September a Safer Lorry Scheme scheme brought in by mayor Boris Johnson will also impose a London-wide ban across all roads except motorways on any lorry over 3.5 tonnes not fitted with safety equipment.
Mr Parkin pointed out that this is having an impact across the rest of the country due to the amount of work HGVs have in the capital.