London cycle safety boosted by HGV taskforce

TfL says it has dedicated more cash for training for drivers and for crackdown on dangerous drivers
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Mayor of London Boris Johnson has today announced more funding to educate freight companies and drivers on cycle safety, as well as a police task force to clamp down on dangerous HGVs.

Johnson said 5,400 commercial drivers have already been trained on cycle safety, with thousands more scheduled to do so over the next year.

Alongside Transport for London (TfL), Johnson is to allocate additional funding for the Metropolitan Police Service Commercial Vehicle Task Force (CVTF), who aim to improve road safety in London through enforcement and educating lorry, van and other commercial vehicle operators across London. They are tasked with improving safety for cyclists by investigating drivers and operators who injure cyclists on London’s roads.

Since December, TfL has funded six additional officers in the CVTF. Two further officers have also been funded in the Road Crime Intelligence Unit, which works with agencies like VOSA and the DfT to gather information and create operations to help arrest dangerous or unlicensed operators in London.

TfL and Crossrail are also carrying out a programme of commercial driver training to educate drivers of HGVs and other vehicles in how to keep pedestrians and cyclists safe on the roads.

The Mayor is currently overseeing a record investment of more than £200 million in cycling schemes, including the provision of cycle safety programmes, new cycle lanes, advance stop lines at traffic junctions across London and blind spot safety mirrors on the Barclays Cycle Superhighways.

Johnson said: “I am determined to improve road safety and demanding the highest standards from freight companies is a key part of this. Some companies are leading the way in showing what can be achieved, but this needs to be reflected across the industry. To play our part, we are providing training for thousands of lorry and truck drivers and investing in more police officers to clamp down on shoddy, illegal drivers.”

The first eight fleet operators to achieve the Gold standard of TfL’s Fleet Operator Recognition Scheme (FORS) have been announced, with awards going to firms who regularly operate in London for demonstrating standards that make them exceptional operators. TfL said its funding has enabled FORS members to send their drivers on free bespoke training courses developed by TfL and the London boroughs to address the specific safety issues arising from driving lorries, vans and coaches around the capital.

London’s transport commissioner Peter Hendy CBE added: “I am passionate, not only as London’s transport commissioner, but also as a cyclist and a long time holder of a PSV licence, about doing whatever TfL can to make the capital’s roads even safer for vulnerable road users. To have the first Gold standard FORS members, and more than 1,000 operators now signed up, is a testament to the commitment of the haulage industry to deliver ongoing improvements to make the capital safer for all.”

Richard Turfitt, traffic commissioner for the East of England and acting traffic commissioner for the South Eastern and the Metropolitan Traffic Area, also added: “I am delighted to present these Gold standard awards today to these outstanding freight operators. The ongoing importance of the FORS scheme and its popularity, demonstrates how a significant number of regular freight operators in London are signed up to making the capital safer – something that we are all striving for and is so vitally important in an Olympic year.”

Crossrail requires that all HGVs are fitted with Fresnel lenses or front mounted rear facing CCTV, close proximity warning systems which results in an audible beep in the drivers cab when a cyclist is on the left inside space and side under-run guards to help prevent cyclists coming into contact with lorry wheels. Vehicles must also carry signs to warn cyclists and pedestrians. Any HGV not meeting Crossrail's standards will be turned away from worksites.

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