Dangerous lorries without equipment to protect cyclists and pedestrians will be banned from London’s streets, Mayor of London Boris Johnson and the London boroughs announced today.

Construction and waste lorries are over represented in road fatalities in London and the proposed ban will require those over 3.5 tonnes to have European Standard mirrors to reduce blind spots, and sideguards to protect cyclists from being dragged under the wheels.

Safety campaigners have welcomed the ban, which appears to replace a previously announced lorry charging scheme, but say direct vision cabs and better driver training would do more to protect those on foot and bikes.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: “In my Cycling Vision, I said that no lorry should be allowed in London unless it is fitted with equipment to protect cyclists. Neither I nor the boroughs have the power to ban lorries without safety equipment on our own. It was for that reason that I proposed to use a power I do have, to levy a hefty charge on lorries without such equipment. But I am pleased to say that after negotiations with London Councils, we can now combine our powers to propose a simple and comprehensive ban.”

The London Cycling Campaign’s (LCC) Charlie Lloyd says: “We support the proposal to amend legislation that allows some lorries to operate in London without basic safety equipment like sideguards or a full set of safety mirrors.

“However, the Mayor should be working to ensure every lorry driver in London has cyclist-awareness training and every lorry is a ‘Direct Vision’ model, with a larger windscreen and glass doors that allow the driver to see people on foot and bicycles in close proximity to their vehicle.”

The LCC designed a safer lorry last year, with direct vision to reduce blind spot-related deaths.

Currently most lorries conform to basic safety standards but many construction, waste and container lorries are exempt from sidebars, some mirrors and MOTs and driver hour restrictions.

A traffic regulation order will allow Transport for London to ban unsafe HGVs from the network of major roads it controls in the capital, which are 5% of London’s roads but carry about 45% of its HGV traffic. London’s 32 boroughs will meet in March to start a pan-London order for the remaining roads they control. According to the Mayor’s office this process could be completed as early as September.

Chair of London Councils’ Transport and Environment Committee, Councillor Catherine West said: “London Councils is supportive of further action to improve cycle safety in London and will continue to work closely with the Mayor and Transport for London to develop the proposal for a new London-wide Safer Lorry Scheme.

“London Councils is currently consulting on plans to improve cycle safety in London by making changes to the London Lorry Control Scheme that would require all lorries weighing over 18 tonnes to have extra mirrors and side guards before being issued a permit under the scheme.”

In November, Chris Boardman wrote an open letter to Johnson appealing for the improvement of HGV safety for cyclists in London.

Related links

Crackdown on lorry danger to cyclists