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TfL to announce proposals to reduce HGV blind spots

Tuesday 16th August 2016

Transport for London (TfL) is set to announce a number of proposals designed to improve visibility for HGV drivers. (Evening Standard)

The new proposals, which will be announced next month, will require HGVs to have ‘direct vision’ glass panels in passenger doors, larger windscreens and a lower driver’s position.

Unveiled by Val Shawcross, London’s deputy mayor for transport, the new designs are intended to reduce the impact of blind spots and improve the safety of vulnerable road users.

The announcement follows the publication of research commissioned by TfL to identify the most dangerous cab designs.

Carried out by researchers at Loughborough University, the study analysed the cab designs of 19 of the most widely used HGVs and found that those with high cabs have the most blind spots.

The number of cyclists killed or seriously injured in London rose by 59% between 2000 and 2012. In 2015, seven of the nine cyclists killed in London involved HGVs - a key reason behind TfL’s decision to commission the Loughborough study.

In September 2014, TfL introduced a London-wide safer lorries scheme, requiring HGVs above 3.5 tonnes to have extra ‘blind spot’ mirrors and sidebars to prevent cyclists being pulled under the wheels of left-turning vehicles.

Val Shawcross told the Evening Standard: “Direct vision was one of the key commitments of Sadiq’s campaign (to be elected as mayor).

“We will be able to announce something within the next month. The question will be around how quickly can things change in the industry.”

 


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A programme called 'Inside the Factory' (about making bicycles) last night on BBC2 (Wed 17th), had a feature on this very subject and showed the latest things in HGV driver safety with respect to cyclists, including full-length glazed passenger doors, audible warnings of imminent left turns and a plethora of clever mirrors and CCTV amongst other things - worth watching on catch-up.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

Agree (8) | Disagree (0)
+8

David

The #exchangingplaces events are fantastic, I encourage every road user to give them a try. I don't know how many cycle groups promote them, but I get the hashtag when various divisions of the MPS run such events.

Pat,
As a safety/fleet manger in London, I know that despite my protests, on the implementation of the safer lorry scheme last year, all our non-compliant vehicles were farmed out to other depots until end of life. Those other depots also lost a lot of their routine replacement budget as London we needed to replace a lot of vehicles. So, not only do our other depots have our older "unsafe" vehicles, they don't have the funds to get newer "safe" ones to replace them. Each Class VI mirror required costs around £100, a complete new fleet with Dennis style low-cabs, hundreds of thousands, if not millions, especially as most of our LGVs are pretty much custom built other than chassis & cab.

Incidentally, it is almost annual safety review time, and of 14 LGV/cyclist incidents on my books, not one has been driver fault, according to both police and insurance reports. After initial doubts, our drivers now love the 360 degree and in cab CCTV systems.
steve, watford

Agree (11) | Disagree (0)
+11

I'm more interested in TfL's proposal regarding the existing lorry fleet. Will they require the vast number of existing vehicles to be retrofitted, to what degree and over what timescale? And will fleet operators then send non-compliant older vehicles to places other than London resulting in a 2 tier level of safety? Looking forward to seeing the detail.
Pat, Wales

Agree (8) | Disagree (0)
+8

TfL does a lot of work with cyclists, and by no means exclusively blames LGV drivers for the problems that occur. For example, I know they run sessions in which cyclists are invited into the cab of a truck after minor traffic transgressions, so that they can see for themselves the limitations on what drivers can see.

For the past two years I have delivered a similar thing to cyclist trainers at a conference. The feedback has been wholly positive, and their views are undoubtedly passed on to those they teach. This is done with the enthusiastic support of Lafarge Tarmac.

We need to go down any, and every, avenue that might give us a reduction in KSIs, and as far as I am aware TfL are working hard to do whatever it takes to achieve their goals.
David, Suffolk

Agree (11) | Disagree (1)
+10

So after stickers, extra indicators, including audible ones, extra skirts, extra mirrors, TFL still think the problem is purely one of drivers.

Seriously, any cyclist that needs/ignores a sticker on the back of a vehicle to remind them that the nearside of a large vehicle is a dangerous, even stupid place, to be needs to rethink their own safety, not put it all in the hands of someone else. I was taught that aged 10 in the long gone "cycling proficiency test", no stickers back then, nor talking indicators, cabs that contained enough mirrors to equip a dozen hair salons.

Wakey wakey TFL, it is not the sole responsibility of large vehicle operators/drivers to be safe, others play a part too.

Safety is a partnership, it is not something that can be made the responsibility of one particular group.
Steve, watford

Agree (25) | Disagree (5)
+20