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

  • Bob Franklin

    “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”

    Is that laden or unladen because if it is unladen the killers (cement mixers) will still be wrecking carnage on our streets.

    Also could this process not be speeded up and be in place before summer when we will get new cyclists (and inexperienced) taking up comuting.

  • Terry

    I’m firmly in the cycling camp but how about ‘dangerous’ cyclists being banned until they’ve been properly trained ?
    No good taking the moral high ground if basic safety is being ignored by those on 2 wheels.

  • Dave H

    It is gratifying to see the small prompt of making the cycling world aware that low cab trucks could be purchased (they have been increasingly used for refuse trucks – not for the direct vision but to reduced the injuries sustained by the crew when they slip climbing up or down from the high cab designs, and making the collection round faster through ‘walk-in’ access), and a few have already been used for some other work.

    The LCC took this up with their safer truck design showing the difference in what drivers can directly see from the driving position in a high and low cab vehicle, emphasising what Robin Webb pointedly showed in his memorial film for his daughter – killed by a truck in London. The 1950’s Scammell Scarab, the basic goods transport for the typical loads transferred from a railway yard to a final destination had the driver sitting at eye level with those outside. The Dennis and Mercedes trucks (Elite and Econic) both deliver with a driver’s eye level just 2 metres above the road, and side windows deep enough to see the driver – full torso from a bike alongside.

    However there remains one detail that this move still fails to address, and this is to deliver a standard for impartial and published investigation of serious crashes, and ultimately near misses, which identify the causal factors, and deliver a listing of Learning Points (gentle hints) and Recommendations (things which have to be done). If such had been in place we might have seen the left turn that killed Wan Chen McGuinness, getting that hazard addressed before Francis Golding was killed in an identical crash, and Richard Muzira a very similar type of crash in Camberwell. Only in one case (Ellie Carey) has the pro-active move of banning left turns on the 105 degree (ie back on itself) left turn from Tower Bridge Road at that location.

    We hear that there is often an underspend on the cycling budget. Well one clear way that the money can be swiftly spent is to deliver RAIB standards for road crashes

  • Ken Evans

    When will this ban come into force ? Will it be enforced ? How ? How much will the fine be for breaking the ban ? Will vehicles that conform to the regulations be regularly tested e.g. yearly ? Will a sticker be displayed on the vehicle to show conformity ? Will conformity be a condition for receiving insurance ?