Lorries without safety equipment to protect cyclists and pedestrians will be banned from London, the Mayor, Boris Johnson, and the London boroughs have announced.
The move – a hardening of the previously-announced policy – uses a combination of powers held by Transport for London and London Councils, the umbrella body for the London boroughs, to reach a simpler, quicker and more complete solution than either body could achieve on its own.
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: "In my Cycling Vision, I said that no lorry should be allowed in London unless it is fitted with equipment to protect cyclists. Neither I nor the boroughs have the power to ban lorries without safety equipment on our own. It was for that reason that I proposed to use a power I do have, to levy a hefty charge on lorries without such equipment. But I am pleased to say that after negotiations with London Councils, we can now combine our powers to propose a simple and comprehensive ban."
TfL now proposes to make a Traffic Regulation Order to ban HGVs without pedestria and cyclist safety equipment on its own roads, the busiest main roads which carry about 45 per cent of all HGV traffic in London. London Councils’ Transport and Environment Committee (TEC), on which all 32 boroughs, the Corporation of London and TfL sit, proposes at its March meeting to start the process of making a pan-London Traffic Regulation Order for borough roads. Subject to a formal consultation and legal procedures, the process could be completed as early as September, and by the end of the year at the latest.
The proposed ban will require every vehicle in London over 3.5 tonnes – a disproportionate cause of cyclist and pedestrian deaths – to be fitted with sideguards to protect cyclists and pedestrians from being dragged under the wheels. It will also require them to be fitted with mirrors giving the driver a better view of cyclists and pedestrians around their vehicles. It will be enforced by CCTV cameras and on-street checks, subject to approval by the Department for Transport.
London’s Transport Commissioner, Sir Peter Hendy CBE said: "London has long led the way in working with the freight industry to drive up standards, especially in terms of greater road safety, better driver training and reduced vehicle emissions. TfL will work with the London boroughs to deliver this proposed Safer Lorry Scheme and further demonstrate our commitment to safer roads for all."
Chair of London Councils’ Transport and Environment Committee, Councillor Catherine West said: "London Councils is supportive of further action to improve cycle safety in London and will continue to work closely with the Mayor and Transport for London to develop the proposal for a new London-wide Safer Lorry Scheme.
"London Councils is currently consulting on plans to improve cycle safety in London by making changes to the London Lorry Control Scheme that would require all lorries weighing over 18 tonnes to have extra mirrors and side guards before being issued a permit under the scheme."
Under national legislation, many HGVs must already be fitted with this equipment. However, construction lorries, tipper trucks, waste vehicles, cement mixers and certain other forms of HGV are exempt from these and other safety requirements. The rising number of such vehicles in London’s building boom is a hazard to the growing number of cyclists, who now make up almost a quarter of all rush hour traffic in the centre.
Of the 16 cyclist deaths in London in 2011, nine involved HGVs. Of these nine, seven were construction lorries.