Trucks that fail to give drivers a full view of the road are set to be permanently removed from London from 2020, announced by mayor Sadiq Khan.
The mayor of London has told reporters he wants more lorries to come with deep windscreens and glass doors, increasing visibility of cyclists and other pedestrians using the road for any driving a HGV. This is expected to decrease the amount killed and injured in accidents occurring with HGVs in London. This means around 35,000 lorries that are currently operating in London would be banned as of 2020.
During an interview Khan stated “HGVs have been directly involved in over half of cycling fatalities over the past two years, and we must take bold action to make our roads safer for both cyclists and pedestrians,”
Transport for London, controlled by the mayor, has planned a “direct version standard” which will be ranked depending on how well a driver can see the truck along with surrounding vehicles and pedestrians. Any vehicle ranked as zero star will be banned from London’s roads as of 2020. This will rise to one and two star from 2024. TFL predict at least 18% of lorries will be among those ranked as zero.
Any truck with zero stars are typically within the percentage responsible for cyclist deaths caused by HGVs, the mayor’s office informed reports. HGVs were involved around 58% of cyclist deaths and 23% of pedestrian deaths on the road across London. 9 cyclists were killed with 378 seriously injured over the course of 2015.
Head of surface transport at TFL, Leon Daniels stated: “Lorries designed in the 1970s and for use in a quarry have no place in the streets of a 21st century city.”
The London Cycling Campaign said: “Pedestrians, cyclists and drivers and operators of HGVs all stand to gain if modern designs with minimal blind spots become the norm for on-street use – no one wants fatalities and life-changing injuries to continue to happen.”
The RHA defended hauliers, saying that the blame isn’t entirely on lorry drivers. In some cases cyclists have also been riding badly and that is not the driver’s fault.
Rod McKenzie, representing the RHA said he often views cyclists passing lorries on the inside when the lorry intends to turn left and has clearly signalled. “One of our problems is that some cyclists drive dangerously, you are dicing with death if you’re doing that. It’s not a driver’s fault if the cyclist chooses to do that.”
London buses were constructed to provide drivers with a clear view of everything surrounding them on the road, he told reports. However there were still many incidents with cyclists. Drivers are also highly trained and pass “much more rigorous tests” than any other drivers on UK roads.
Rod had his own opinion on the mayor’s actions: “My concern is that the mayor’s standpoint is, simplistically, ‘cycle deaths — it’s the lorries’ fault’.
“We have to have better education for cyclists about road use,” stated Mr McKenzie. “It clearly hasn’t got through to a lot of cyclists that you shouldn't drive on the inside of a lorry turning left. It will crush you, frankly, if you’re there at the wrong time.”
Although TfL said industry bodies “welcomed a clear direction on HGV safety”, the RHA disputed this.
The mayor of London told reports TFL and City Hall would need suppliers to use lorries with direct vision required to ensure all health and safety regulations are met.
Leon Daniels of TFL said: “By helping everyone ensure they are using, contracting or buying lorries with high levels of driver direct vision, we will increase the demand and supply of such vehicles to the point where these safer trucks are the main lorry of choice in the capital, other cities and around the world.”
Later in the month Val Shawcross, who is the Mayor of London’s current transport chief stated there will be no scrapping of the policy on taking road space from vehicles to provide for cyclists and pedestrians. Busy roads and junctions have also been restricted to be less accommodating for drivers and improved for cyclists and pedestrians.