Mayor and councils say lorries without safety equipment to protect cyclists and pedestrians willl be banned from London

Cycle lane

Source: Alamy

Lorries without safety equipment to protect cyclists and pedestrians will be banned from London, mayor Boris Johnson and the capital’s councils have announced.

The proposed ban, to be enforced through CCTV and on-street checks, combines the powers of Transport for London and the capital’s councils to require every vehicle in London over 3.5 tonnes - a disproportionate cause of cyclist and pedestrian deaths - to be fitted with sideguards to protect cyclists from being dragged under the wheels.

It will also require them to be fitted with mirrors giving the driver a better view of cyclists and pedestrians around their vehicles.

However, the Freight Transport Association (FTA) attacked the scheme, saying it would cost businesses money and was not properly targeted at construction traffic.

Of the 16 cyclist deaths in London in 2011, nine involved HGVs. Of these nine, seven were construction lorries.

Under national legislation, many HGVs must already be fitted with safety equipment such as sidebars. However, construction lorries, tipper trucks, waste vehicles, cement mixers and certain other forms of HGV are exempt from these and some other requirements.

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…I am pleased to say that after negotiations with London councils, we can now combine our powers to propose a simple and comprehensive ban.”

But Christopher Snelling, FTA’s head of urban logistics policy said: “These proposals will affect anything larger than a transit van and are not targeted, as we believe they should be, at construction traffic.

“Many large vans and small HGVs would in fact fall foul of other legislation if they fitted additional mirrors as their cabs are too low and pedestrians and cyclists would be at risk of being struck by these low mirrors.

“This is the danger with politicians developing new standards without working with the industry. Safety on the roads is a complex issue and politicians often reach for the simplistic solution.”