London’s safer lorry scheme comes into effect

12.00 | 2 September 2015 | | 4 comments

HGVs 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.


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    Robert Bolt is correct in saying that cars should not generally pass on the left, but that is accompanied by the statement “stay in your lane if traffic is moving slowly in queues. If the queue on your right is moving more slowly than you are, you may pass on the left”. The cycle lane is in effect another traffic lane for a limited selection of vehicles.

    Amanda. Cambridgeshire
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    There is much to be said for Robert’s idea. I do not regularly commute over any distance by bicycle, so there is no time pressure on me when I ride. Therefore, I do not find my self in the situation in which I need to go down the inside of stationary traffic on the approach to junctions, etc. I would not venture down the inside of trucks and buses, but as I say I don’t feel the need to.

    However, many riders do have long commutes on which a lot of time can be saved by getting to the front of tailbacks, and I have every sympathy with them going down the inside of vehicles. Most of them will be experienced road users and able to judge whether it is OK to do so. They will know the timing of lights on their route and how long they have before traffic starts to move. I want them to be able to get to the front because otherwise they might well get back into their cars and make congestion worse.

    What we need is not a ban on riders going down the inside. We need confident, competent riders who are properly trained to ride on roads with, and without, cycle lanes. We need drivers who are aware of the needs and safety of riders. We need more cyclists on our roads, so that drivers are always expecting to find riders in their mirrors, etc.

    David, Suffolk
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    I hire a van up to 3.5 and put a trailer on the tow bar and load. Weight of combined unit now 5.5 tonnes. Will it need the mirrors as van and trailer already have side guards?

    Peter, Westminster
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    Why not stop cyclists undertaking vehicles, cars are not supposed to undertake, why should bikes be allowed to do this dangerous manoeuvre? In Edinburgh buses have notices on them saying ‘Do not pass on the left’ around a sketch of a cycle. London buses and lorries should have the same notice.

    Robert Bolt, St Albans
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