London Mayor Sadiq Khan is taking action to reduce the number of cycling deaths and serious injuries on London’s roads by targeting heavy lorries.
Despite accounting for only 4% of motor traffic, lorries are involved in some 58% of cycling deaths since 2014, a statistic that Mayor Khan is determined to change:
We are not prepared to stand by and let dangerous lorries continue to cause further heartbreak and tragedy on London’s roads”
A primary reason for cyclists’ vulnerability to lorry collisions is driver blind spots, meaning that cyclists can be invisible to drivers in high cabs, particularly when both are turning left at road junctions.
Under the new scheme, heavy goods vehicles operating in the capital will be given a rating based on all round driver visibility. Those with the lowest or “0” rating will be prohibited from operating in London.
Mayor Khan said:
Our ground-breaking direct vision standard will be the first of its kind in the world, directly addressing the issue of lethal driver blind spots. I am also proud that TfL will lead by example and will not use any zero star lorries in its supply chain from the new financial year”
In contrast, the Chief Executive of the Road Haulage Association, Richard Burnett, described the measures as “unnecessary”:
Demonising lorries, which keep the economy and shops going, is unfair. Lorries, including construction vehicles, play a vital part in the economic life of London. Without them, the capital’s businesses would grind to a standstill”.
We want to bring balance to the argument. We are not convinced these measures are the solution. Improved visibility isn’t going to sort the problem alone”.
The London Cycling Campaign welcomed the new measures, pointing out that all road users stood to gain if larger commercial vehicles with poor sight lines were removed from London’s roads.
The aim is for all “zero rated” vehicles under the scheme to be off London’s roads completely by year 2020.