London’s safer lorry scheme comes into effect

safer-hgv-zoneHGVs without specified safety equipment to protect cyclists and pedestrians are banned throughout Greater London as of 1 September under what the Greater London Authority (GLA) describes as “Britain’s first Safer Lorry Scheme”.

The Safer Lorry Scheme covers every road in Greater London, except motorways, and will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The maximum fine for each breach of the ban will be £1000, and repeat offenders may be referred to the relevant traffic commissioner, who is responsible for the licensing and regulation of HGV operators.

Under the scheme, vehicles of more than 3.5 tonnes must be fitted with sideguards to protect cyclists from being dragged under the wheels, and Class V and Class VI mirrors to give the driver a better view of cyclists and pedestrians.

Boris Johnson, mayor of London, said: “We are ahead of any other part of the UK in closing the legal loopholes that allowed many HGVs to operate without basic safety equipment, and I am delighted that over the 18 months since we announced the Safer Lorry Scheme the vast majority of operators have got the message and fitted safety equipment to their vehicles in anticipation of the ban.”

The GLA has also announced further safety modifications that will be required for HGVs operating in London, including the retrofitting of bigger side windows to further reduce driver blind spots. Consultation on this will take place in January 2015 with a view to having a decision by March or April.

The Transport Research Laboratory is also undertaking trials of a variety of electronic sensors for lorries, to alert drivers to cyclists’ presence.