Cycling campaigners call for safer lorry designs

Safety organisations are calling for better lorry designs to be introduced in a bid to protect cyclists on the road.

A joint letter on behalf of 11 UK organisations, including British Cycling has been sent to the Transport Minister Patrick McLoughlin calling for better  and safer lorry designs to be introduced.

The letter states:  "Today’s cab design forces the driver to sit on top of the engine in such a high position that much of what happens around the cab is invisible to them – the so-called fatal blind spots.

"Redesigning lorry cabs to reduce blind spots could save hundreds of cyclists’ and pedestrians’ lives every year, according to a study by Loughborough University which found this ‘direct vision’ lorry concept would increase the driver’s field of view in front and to the sides of the lorry by 50 per cent compared to today’s lorries."

Both the EU Parliament and Commission want the new designs introduced by 2017/2018, but, according to the Financial Times, France and Sweden have been lobbying to have them pushed back because of costs and competition.

But the letter to the Transport Minister is campaigning against such a move.

It added: "Hundreds more lives will be needlessly lost if the safer more aerodynamic HGV cab designs are delayed.

"These new HGV cab designs would reduce blind spots and add a crumple zone to protect pedestrians and cyclists from being knocked underneath the wheels in a collision, while reducing fuel costs by up to 10% through increased efficiency. If our Government is serious about improving road safety it must push for the introduction of these designs now on a voluntary basis as soon as possible."

Even if the new designs are introduced though,  William Todts, an official at Brussels-based environmental think-tank Transport & Environment, points out that the new legislation would not demand change, only allow it.

Between 2011 and 2012 lorries were involved in over half of cyclists'  deaths even though they only made up five per cent of traffic.

A recent case of this was the death of a cyclist involved in a collision with a lorry at Ludgate Circus earlier this month.

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