Safer Lorry Scheme is not the answer to solving London’s cycling safety issues
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, has launched the start of a Safer Lorry Scheme in a bid to reduce the number of HGVs involved in fatal accidents with cyclists, but many believe that it is not enough to stop accidents involving vulnerable road users.
The first phase of the Safer Lorry Scheme was launched yesterday (01 September 2015), and will see HGV operators face fines of up to £1,000 if they fail to fit mirrors to reduce a lorry’s blind spot and side bars to prevent cyclists from being dragged under the lorry’s wheels.
The second phase of safety measures will be open to public consultation next year and will include proposals to fit glass doors to lorries to reduce blind spots. Turning left is a particularly dangerous manoeuvre for lorries due to their blind spots so further proposals also include seeing planning applications for large developments containing restrictions on the routes that HGVs can take to limit the number of left-hand turns lorries make.
It is hoped that these measures will help to reduce the number of accidents involving HGVs. Currently lorries make up 5% of London’s traffic, but account for 50% of the fatalities.
Tom Jones, head of policy at Thompsons Solicitors, said: “Any scheme to reduce the number of accidents involving cyclists is welcome, however, this scheme is typical Boris puff and will be too long in coming to fruition. Meanwhile cyclists will continue to die. The Mayor is playing at the fringes when he has power to do far more.
“The reality is that the majority of HGVs already comply with the safer mirror system and the real target should be those lorry drivers who do not comply with existing regulations. Boris is not only Mayor but an MP too and could use his influence there to ensure there is a national strategy with proper funding of training for drivers and cyclists to encourage greater consideration between road users.
“Large-scale investment in improving out-dated infrastructure and making dangerous junctions safer is also desperately required not just jam tomorrow in new developments. Only with immediate action will we see a reduction in the number of accidents on London’s roads.”
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