The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, has launched the start of a Safer Lorry Scheme that aims to halt the over-representation of lorries in fatal accidents with cyclists.
Currently lorries make up 5% of all traffic on the capital’s streets, but account for 50% of fatalities and seven of the eight cyclists killed on bikes this year have been in collisions with HGVs.
The Safer Lorry Scheme will be introduced in several phases. The first, launched today at Marble Arch, will see HGV operators face fines of up to £1,000 if they fail to fit side bars which stop people on bikes being dragged under the wheels, as well as mirrors which reduce a lorry’s considerable blind-spot.
The second phase of the strategy includes retro-fitting lorries with glass doors to reduce blind spots which will be open to public consultation early next year. Further stages could also see planning applications for large building projects include restrictions on the routes that HGVs making deliveries follow to reduce the number of left-turns — a particularly dangerous manoeuvre due to blind spots.
On the face of it, adding a few extra mirrors and side bars is not the panacea for an issue which, tragically, has been around for several years. Nevertheless, it signals the start of a strategy, guided by 'Cycling Czar' Andrew Gilligan, which aims to make this city easier and safer to get around under your own steam.