London to ban HGVs without cyclist safety equipment as the ‘Safer Lorry Scheme
’ comes into play this September.
Any HGVs that weighs more than 3.5 tonnes that are found to be without mirrors that give the driver a sufficient view of cyclists and pedestrians around their vehicle and sufficient side guards will be banned from the roads in the capital when London’s ‘Safer Lorry Scheme’ comes into play in September this year.
TfL made the announcement yesterday following a public consultation in which 90% of respondents were in favour of the scheme. No figures have been releases as to how many of the respondents were from within the transport or haulage industry.
The ‘Safer Lorry Scheme’ is another measure that has been introduced by the Mayor of London along with TfL to do something about the number of cyclists and pedestrians being killed or injured in London by HGVs.
It was only a couple or weeks ago when figures were released showing how many fines were issues to HGV operators from the IHTF
for having un-roadworthy vehicles.
Last year Boris alongside TfL committed to a ‘6 point road safety plan’ which included targets to cut the number of deaths and serious injuries on London’s roads by 40% by 2020. The plan also included cutting the number of deaths and serious injuries amongst pedestrians, cyclists and bikers who make up 80% of those killed or seriously injured every year on London’s roads.
9 of the 14 cyclists killed in Greater London in 2013 involved HGVs.
While HGVs are more dangerous than other vehicles, construction vehicles are being viewed as more dangerous than any other type of HGV by the Mayor and TfL and although they do not say so, this new scheme will target construction vehicles, tippers and skip trucks in particular.
Most HGV’s are already required to have side guards fitted, however those involved in the construction industry are exempt from that requirement. Older HGVs are also exempt from the requirement to fit extended view mirrors where new HGVs already have them fitted.
So if you run your construction vehicles through London be prepared to add side guards to your vehicles the same goes for vintage haulage vehicles that do not have the extended mirrors.
The Mayor and TfL have come under scrutiny from cyclists and safety campaigners for encouraging more people to cycle in London without providing them the necessary infrastructure to do so safely.
Everything always seems to be the blame of HGV drivers. Perhaps this blame along with all the added legislation and poor working conditions is the reason why the industry cannot attract any new younger generation drivers.
All these deaths and serious injuries along with these safety measures wouldn’t be necessary if the EU didn’t delay the introduction of new, longer, safer designed HGVs
. If these new safer designed HGVs, that were originally going to be introduced in 2017, were not put back to 2022 by the EU we would see instant results in the reduction of deaths and serious injuries caused by HGVs as the driver’s line of sight would be greatly increased.
Safer designed HGV plans put back by the EU.
The new ‘Safer Lorry Scheme’ will cover the 32 boroughs of Greater London and the City of London, except for the motorways, and will come into affect on the 1st September this year. 600 warning signs will be put up on roads leading into the ‘Safer Lorry Zone’.
The scheme will be in place permanently, 24 hours a day, 7 days a day and 365 days a year (or 366 days on a leap year). It will be enforced by the IHTF who are already stopping unsafe HGVs across London issuing fines.
The maximum penalty for a breach of the ban will be £1000. It will be viewed that failure to fit side guards will be treated as a separate breach to not having the appropriate mirrors meaning operators could face fines up to £3000 for one vehicle.
As well as the hefty fines any operators who breach the ban will also be referred to the Traffic Commissioner
who is responsible for the licensing and regulation of HGV operators. There is a possibility that repeat offenders could lose their licence for operating all together.
When commenting on the decision to launch the scheme the Mayor said “Improving the safety of London’s roads is a top priority. 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 and I urge all operators of HGVs to get on board and make it a success.”
While the ‘Safer Lorry Scheme’ represents a step forward when it comes to the safety of cyclists and other road users it is again another scheme aimed at HGV drivers and Operators. When you consider how many HGVs pass through London everyday it is a very small proportion who have been found to have un-roadworthy vehicles.
With all these fines getting dished out along with the increase in operating costs due to accreditation's, training and safety equipment it is no surprise that a) no one wants to become a HGV driver and b) more and more haulage companies are closing their doors.