London Mayor confirms Britain’s first “Safer Lorry Scheme”

Thinking Cities
By Thinking Cities February 9, 2015 15:25

London Mayor confirms Britain’s first “Safer Lorry Scheme”

The Mayor, Boris Johnson, Transport for London (TfL) and London Councils have given the go-ahead for a London-wide ban on any lorry not fitted with safety equipment to protect cyclists and pedestrians.

In a public consultation, the proposed “Safer Lorry Scheme” received 90 per cent support.

Traffic orders implementing the scheme are currently being published. Installation of road signs at the London boundary, training of police officers and information campaigns with drivers and hauliers have all started.

The scheme will commence operation on 1 September, as soon as all of the 600 warning signs are in place.

All roads in Greater London (except motorways) will be covered by the scheme. It will require vehicles of more than 3.5 tonnes to be fitted with sideguards to protect cyclists from being dragged under the wheels in the event of a collision, along with Class V and Class VI mirrors giving the driver a better view of cyclists and pedestrians around their vehicle.

The scheme will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and will be enforced by the police, the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency and the joint TfL and DfT-funded Industrial HGV Taskforce (IHTF). The maximum fine for each breach of the ban will be £1000. The operator will also be referred for consideration to the relevant Traffic Commissioner, who is responsible for the licensing and regulation of HGV operators.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, 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.’

Cllr Julian Bell, Chair of London Councils’ Transport and Environment Committee, said: `This scheme will save lives and London Councils is pleased to be representing the boroughs in the development of the new London Safer Lorry Scheme. 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. London Councils is determined to make London’s roads safer for drivers, cyclists and pedestrians, and as regular cyclist myself I am proud London is leading the way in introducing this scheme.’

London’s Transport Commissioner, Sir Peter Hendy CBE, said: `The essential role that freight plays in any city is vast, and none more so than London. Equally vital is ensuring that we can all safely use our roads and this is why I am pleased to announce the launch of the country’s first Safer Lorry Scheme. London’s lead in improving the safety and efficiency of freight has once again been demonstrated. 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.’

The announcement was made at the second annual London Road Safety conference on Thursday 5 February, hosted by TfL, which brought together a wide range of partners and stakeholders, including the London boroughs, to promote collaboration and knowledge sharing on road safety.

HGVs are disproportionately represented in cyclist fatalities in the capital. Of the 14 cyclist deaths in London in 2013, nine involved HGVs. Although the number of serious collisions involving cyclists and HGVs in 2014 decreased, it remains one of TfL’s key commitments to reduce the number of people killed or seriously injured in London by 40 per cent over the next five years.

Working in partnership with boroughs and stakeholders to improve best practice and share information is one of six commitments published by the Mayor and TfL to reduce the number of people killed and seriously injured on London’s roads every year.

TfL has begun a campaign of engagement across the country to ensure operators and drivers are aware of the requirements and begin adopting safety equipment before enforcement starts in September. This includes advertisements, leafleting, information being sent to businesses and police training. Through these measures and through regular IHTF operations, the minority of HGVs on London’s roads without the appropriate safety equipment will be further reduced ahead of enforcement starting.

Londoners may start to notice the Safer Lorry Scheme signs, stating ‘Safer HGV Zone’ appearing across London, although they will be covered up until operational. Last year, TfL and London Councils’ consultation on the scheme showed overwhelming support for the plans, with more than 90 per cent of respondents agreeing with the proposals. A further consultation on the traffic orders saw no significant objections raised.

The introduction of the Safer Lorry Scheme is one of the key actions of TfL’s Cycle Safety Action Plan (CSAP). The plan, which will help deliver TfL’s six key overarching commitments to road safety, includes a wide range of actions, including:

  • Delivering the major infrastructure programmes outlined in the Mayor’s Vision for Cycling, emphasising the importance of cycle safety on the capital’s roads. Last year preliminary work started on Oval Junction, the first of 33 junctions to be radically redesigned to make them safer for cyclists, and work on Elephant and Castle will begin this year
  • Working with regulators and the automotive industry to explore how improvements to HGV design could further protect cyclists, such as better and higher cabs to improve driver direct vision, and the independent evaluation of blindspot safety technology to help inform HGV operator buying decisions.
  • Extending the safety principles of the award-winning Fleet Operator; Recognition Scheme (FORS) by developing cycle safety initiatives for other operator sectors such as buses, coaches, tour buses, taxis, private hire vehicles, light goods vehicles, cycle couriers and cyclists generally, encouraging drivers to be more sympathetic to vulnerable road user needs.

Earlier this year, TfL announced that AECOM, in partnership with the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport and Fleet Source, will manage, develop and grow FORS as it expands across the country into a truly national accreditation scheme.

Thinking Cities
By Thinking Cities February 9, 2015 15:25