Lorries without safety equipment will be banned from London from September in the first such scheme to be implemented in Britain.
Operators could face a £1000 fine if vehicles of over 3.5 tonnes are caught without Class V and Class VI mirrors or side-guards to protect cyclists being dragged under the wheels in a collision.
Launching on 1 September, the scheme will operate on all roads in Greater London except motorways. Before then, 600 warning signs will be erected at the capital’s boundary and information sent out to drivers and hauliers.
HGVs are thought to be disproportionately represented in cyclist fatalities, with nine of the 14 cyclist deaths in London in 2013 involving lorries.
London mayor, Boris Johnson, urged HGV operators to ‘get on board’ the scheme to ensure it was a success.
‘We know that a large number of cyclist deaths and serious injuries involve a relatively small number of trucks and lorries that are not fitted with basic safety equipment. Such vehicles are not welcome in the capital and the Safer Lorry Scheme will see them effectively banned from our streets. The lives of thousands of cyclists and pedestrians will be much safer as a result,’ Mr Johnson said.
London’s transport commissioner, Sir Peter Hendy CBE, said: ‘The Safer Lorry Scheme is a fantastic example of the benefits of partnership working. 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, added: ‘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.’
The announcement was welcomed by London Assembly Labour Group transport spokesperson, Val Shawcross, who said stricter safety standards ‘could make all the difference for cyclists’.
‘Whilst the promotion and enforcement of these new rules will be important I hope that hauliers and HGV drivers will take a proactive approach and embrace these new safety standards before they come into effect in September,’ Ms Shawcross added.