The DfT and TfL have announced a series of measures to improve the safety of cyclists in London, including establishing a new HGV task force to take direct action against dangerous HGV drivers, vehicles and operators.
The plans were announced yesterday (4 September) by Stephen Hammond, transport minister, Boris Johnson, mayor of London Mayor and Sir Peter Hendy CBE, London’s transport commissioner.
The DfT and TfL will establish a dedicated London-based industrial HGV task force to raise awareness of safety requirements for vehicles and drivers and to take enforcement action against dangerous operators, vehicles and drivers.
Under national legislation, most HGVs must be fitted with safety equipment such as sidebars or low skirts which protect cyclists and other vulnerable road users from being dragged underneath the vehicle in the event of a collision. However, a small number of vehicle types – particularly those operating in the construction sector – are exempt from fitting certain safety equipment. DfT and TfL say that the rising number of such vehicles in London’s building boom presents a risk to the growing number of cyclists, who now make up almost a quarter of all rush hour traffic in central London.
Stephen Hammond said: "Today’s announcement of a dedicated Industrial HGV task force will target the small minority of large goods vehicle operators who are unaware of, or just wilfully non-compliant with, safety regulations for HGVs and their drivers.
"I have also committed to review vehicle regulations to ensure there are no unjustified exemptions from safety standards and, together with the Mayor, will press the EU to improve vehicle safety designs as soon as possible.
The DfT and TfL say they will also look to improve the visibility of cyclists from lorry cabs, including cyclists at the front and on the nearside of lorries. They will also work with training providers who deliver Bikeability training to promote better cyclist awareness of lorries, as well as with training providers and the road freight industry to help further improve driver training.
Boris Johnson, mayor of London, said: "I have long been worried that a large number of cyclist deaths involve a relatively small number of problem lorries which are not fitted with safety equipment.
"In my cycling vision (published) in March (2013), I said that no lorry should be allowed in London unless it is fitted with equipment to protect cyclists. After a lot of work behind the scenes, we have today taken the first steps to make this a reality."
Click here to read the full DfT news release.