HGVs driving in London face being banned from turning left in tough new measures to help prevent cyclists deaths.
Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, has unveiled plans that will force HGV drivers who are bringing building supplies into the city to follow safer routes that minimise left turns which should help drivers avoid accidents involving cyclists.
Lorries turning left are one of the biggest dangers on city roads. Left-turning lorries are particularly dangerous for cyclists and pedestrians crossing the road due to the potential blind-spots for drivers.
People involved in collisions with lorries tend to be dragged under the wheels of the vehicles that turn across them.
Seven of the eight cyclists killed in London this year have been as a result of a collision with a HGV. Between 2008 and 2012 HGVs were involved in 53% of London cyclist deaths
“For future major construction projects, GLA planning powers will be used to strictly prescribe the routes which HGVs serving them can follow – requiring, for instance, that they avoid a road heavily used by cyclists or take a route that minimises the number of left turns, the most dangerous manoeuvre,” a press statement from Transport for London said.
The radical new pledge came as the first phase of the Mayor of London’s ‘Safer Lorry Scheme’ came into force.
This requires all vehicles weighing 3.5 tonnes or more to be fitted with side guards to prevent cyclists being dragged under their wheels, and also have additional mirrors to help drivers spot pedestrians and cyclists on the inside of their vehicles.
The second stage of the Safer Lorry Scheme will require HGVs to be retro-fitted with glass doors to reduce blind spots and increase the driver’s field of view. Consultation begins in January and Boris has vowed to make a final decision on glass doors before he steps down as mayor in May.
New safer lorry designs
were due to come in to affect in 2017, which would help reduce collisions by increasing the field of view, but the EU put the plans back after pressure from manufactures.
Boris Johnson said: “A very disproportionate share of cyclist deaths and serious injuries are caused by lorries, and today’s scheme will undoubtedly save lives,”
“But this big step forward is only one element of my work to protect cyclists and pedestrians from lorries. I announce today that I propose to require further safety modifications to all HGVs in London, including the retrofitting of bigger side windows to further reduce the driver blind spots that contribute to so many tragic accidents.
“Bigger side windows, in the lower panel of the cab door, give the driver direct vision of any cyclist who may be alongside them, and can be fitted to most lorries for around £1,000.”
In the meanwhile, glass doors will be fitted as priority to all HGVs working for the Greater London Authority, TfL and Crossrail.
Mayor of London plans to make city safer for cyclists
The third stage of the Safer Lorry Scheme will aim to take advantage of the Mayor’s planning powers over London’s largest developments to dictate delivery routes for HGVs.
This could require HGV drivers to avoid certain roads that are heavily used by cyclists, or to take a route that gets rid of the need for left turns. Discussions with London boroughs and the construction industry have begun to ensure this all happens “as quick as possible”. Any developers found breaching planning conditions risk their sites being shut down by local authorities.
TfL have trials underway at the Transport Research Laboratory of electronic sensors that would alert a driver if a cyclist or pedestrian is in a blind spot. These electronic sensors could be introduced if the trials are deemed a success.
City Hall said many haulage operators
had already fitted their vehicles with side guards and Class V and Class VI mirrors after being given 18 months’ warning of today’s changes.
Boris promised “vigorous enforcement action” against any “laggards”. Vehicles found breaching the new rules face £1000 fines, with repeat offenders at risk of losing their operating licences.