Khan moots controversial 2020 ban on 'off-road' lorries


London mayor Sadiq Khan has proposed banning those ‘off-road’ lorries with the worst visibility from all roads in the capital by 2020, in an attempt to improve pedestrian and cyclist safety.

The plans are based on TfL’s Direct Vision Standard, which will use a ‘star rating’ to rate HGVs according to the level of vision the driver has directly from the cab.

Under the plans, which will be consulted on shortly, ‘zero star rated’ HGVs would be banned from London’s streets entirely by January 2020. These are construction vehicles designed for off-road use with drivers high up in the cab, making blind spots larger.

Construction vehicles often have the worst visibility

By 2024 the only HGVs allowed would be those meeting the 3 stars ‘good rating’, or above, in the new standard.

A Transport for London (TfL) spokesman told Transport Network that the exact method of enforcing a ban has not been decided, but that it is likely that Traffic Regulation Orders would be used, both from the Greater London Authority (GLA) on TfL roads and either individual boroughs or London Councils on their behalf for the borough roads.

London Councils said it welcomed the plans.

Mr Khan said: ‘I’m not prepared to stand by and let dangerous lorries continue to cause further heartbreak and tragedy on London’s roads. The evidence is clear – HGVs have been directly involved in over half of cycling fatalities over the last two years, and we must take bold action to make our roads safer for both cyclists and pedestrians.’

He added that TfL and the GLA will ‘lead by example’ and will not use any zero-star lorries in their supply chains from the new financial year.

The Road Haulage Association said it has ‘strong reservations’ over the proposals and its chief executive, Richard Burnett, called for ‘urgent consultation with the mayor’s office and relevant authorities’.

He said: ‘Demonising lorries, which keep the economy and shops going, is unfair. Lorries – including construction vehicles - play a vital part in the economic life of London, without them the capital’s businesses would grind to a standstill. We want to bring balance to the argument, we’re not convinced these measures are the solution – improved visibility isn’t going to sort the problem alone.’

Mr Burnett added: ‘All too often cyclists pass buses and lorries on the inside when they are turning left – this is extremely dangerous and road users need to be reminded of basic safety rules.’

The mayor’s office said recent data shows that HGVs were involved in 22.5% of pedestrian fatalities and 58% of cyclist fatalities on London’s roads in 2014 and 2015, despite only accounting for 4% of the miles driven in the capital.

Restricted driver field of direct vision proved to have contributed to many of these fatalities.

Mr Khan’s manifesto earlier this year proposed ‘moving towards City Hall and TfL contracts specifying 'direct-vision' lorries’, but did not explicitly propose banning lorries with poor visibility.


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