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Londonwide ban on HGVs without cycle-safe equipment comes a step closer

  • 29 July 2014
  • By Hayley Pink

Transport for London (TfL) and London Councils have today put their Safer Lorries Scheme out to consultation, a move that could see HGVs without cyclist friendly equipment banned from the capital from early next year.

The proposed ban would operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, covering the same area as the London Low Emission Zone.

It would be policed by on-street enforcement to begin with, moving to CCTV cameras if approved by the Department for Transport (DfT) and London’s boroughs.

Following a feasibility study published in January, the Safer Lorries Scheme (previously Safer Lorry Scheme) would require every vehicle over 3.5-tonnnes to be fitted with Class V and VI close-proximity mirrors, as well as sideguards to protect cyclists being dragged under the wheels.

TfL estimates that vehicles can be retrofitted with sideguards for around £500, with extended view mirrors costing £300 each.

However, the Freight Transport Association expressed concern earlier this year that a blanket ban on vehicles over 3.5 tonnes could see some larger vans and small lorries fall foul of other legislation if forced to fit additional mirrors, as their cabs are too low and would pose risks to pedestrians and cyclists.

The Road Haulage Association (RHA) said it had also been in discussions about TfL’s “insistence” that the requirements start at 3.5 tonnes rather than 7.5 tonnes.

Ray Engley, RHA head of technical services, added: “The industry has moved on since the original Construction and Use exemption for tipping vehicles, especially in London. Our primary concern is to ensure that the mirror and sideguard requirements are practical and meet existing EU legislation.

“£500 may be a bit optimistic for many sideguards. £1,000 is more in the ball-park for many vehicles.”

Exemptions

However, in mitigation TfL’s consultation document states that any vehicle whereby mirrors cannot be fitted at least 2m from the ground will be exempt, with of a list of examples including Iveco Dailys, Mercedes-Benz Sprinters and VW Crafters. In addition, a small number of vehicles will remain exempt from requiring sideguards according to Individual Vehicle Approval guidelines.

State of play

A sample study carried out by the Transport Research Laboratory for TfL’s feasibility study earlier this year found that approximately 10% (up to an estimated 14,894) of vehicles registered in London and the South East are currently exempt from sideguards. These include tippers, refuse trucks, skip loaders, concrete mixers and fire engines. It also found that 30% (up to an estimated 37,476) were not fitted with Class VI mirrors and 5% (up to an estimated 6,984) would not have had Class V mirrors (wide angle) at manufacture.

However, it added that there was no knowing how many of these have been fitted since (due to contractual requirement such as Crossrail).

The consultation itself runs until 22 September and operators are encouraged to take part to ensure hauliers’ views are heard.

London Councils recently dropped its plans to enforce cyclist safety equipment regulations as part of its London Lorry Control Scheme to avoid causing confusion with the advent of the Safer Lorries Scheme.

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Article source: http://www.commercialmotor.com:80/latest-news/london-wide-safer-lorry-ban-moves-closer