All hauliers in London should be fitted with new, safer, direct vision cabs if they are to receive preference for publicly-funded projects, the CTC has demanded.
Responding to Transport for London’s (TfL) consultation ‘Further improving lorry safety in London’, the CTC said it supported TfL’s proposals to extend its existing Lorry Safety Scheme and has called for greater ambition through a commitment to direct vision lorries.
Transport for London launched the consultation as part of a raft of measures to tackle the disproportionate number of HGVs involved in fatal cyclist and pedestrian collisions, around 80% of which involve the lorry's left front blind spot. Seven cyclists were killed in lorry collisions last year in London.
In response, TfL’s Lorry Safety Scheme was introduced on 01 September 2015 and required lorries to fit side guards and extended side view mirrors. The latest consultation calls for further improvements with glass vision panels in the passenger side doors. This will improve drivers’ direct vision of vulnerable road users on the cab’s left hand side.
Supporting this important step towards road safety, CTC is also calling for TfL and all 33 London boroughs to express a preference towards direct vision lorries in all future bids for planning applications and publicly-funded contracts.
Direct vision lorries differ from traditional lorries, in that they give drivers a lower seating position in the cab, similar to the front of a London bus. This provides a much greater improvement in terms of driver visibility and consequently other road user safety.
CTC is therefore urging TfL to adopt a road map for the widespread introduction of direct vision lorries which would make their use a contractual requirement by 2020 for TfL and the boroughs, with a commitment to ban lorries which do not meet direct vision standards from London roads by 2025.
Duncan Dollimore, CTC’s Road Safety Officer, said: “With London lorry traffic set to increase as Crossrail comes to completion and HS2 starts in earnest, TfL’s consultation on improving lorry safety is a timely step in the right direction. However, more can and must be done to protect London’s most vulnerable road users.
“CTC wants to see TfL lay out a road map for the adoption of direct vision lorries. This will help usher the single greatest danger to cyclists off London roads and into the history books.
“We’re calling on all cyclists and vulnerable road users to back our call and show their support, which they can do via the CTC website.”
But earlier this year the Freight Transport Association (FTA) said that fitting lorries with glass door panels to increase driver visibility and reduce cycling fatalities will cost companies too much and prove expensive for Londoners.
We reported how the FTA says it could cost £280 million to fit the new panels to vehicles, however, a cost Londoners would bear.
Head of National and Regional Policy for the FTA, Christopher Snelling, is reported by the Evening Standard (link is external) as saying: “Improving visibility for HGV drivers is really important, but there are many different ways to achieve this.
“We are disappointed that the Mayor has chosen to focus on just one option without clear evidence that this is the best way to deliver the desired outcome.
"Side panels have limitations, for example if the vehicle is carrying a second crew member or equipment then the view may be obscured.”
“It is important to remember that any cost added to logistics in London will eventually get passed on to the users – the businesses and residents of London. They are the ones who will ultimately be paying this bill.” Mr Snelling added.
Supporters of these suggestions for Lorry Safety can show their agreement by writing to TfL using CTC’s online tool here.