HGVs and Cycle Safety

Transport for London (TfL) are consulting on a proposed new regulation to require lorries to have additional side windows. This is what it says: “At present, lorries are currently only required to have a window on the upper section of passenger-side door.  This makes it difficult for drivers to have a direct view of pedestrians and cyclists who are near to the front left hand side of their lorry.  

We propose that the fitting of vision panels in passenger-side doors, wherever they can be fitted, should become the mandatory standard for lorries operating in London. Fitting an additional clear window panel to the lower section of the passenger-side door gives drivers a better, direct view of adjacent cyclists and pedestrians.”

The consultation also says: “Lorries are disproportionately involved in fatal collisions with pedestrians and cyclists.  Between 2010 and 2014, lorries were almost 10 times more likely to be involved in a fatal collision than cars; Seven of the nine cyclist fatalities in London in 2015 have involved lorries; 79 per cent of fatal collisions with cyclists in the past three years have involved lorries designed to be driven off-road”.

Clearly there is a problem here that should be tackled. But it is surely wrong to propose regulations for vehicles in London that differ from the rest of the country. This should be done by national regulation, not local regulation as vehicles can obviously travel long distances and if all cities introduced different regulations it would cause enormous confusion and lead to poor compliance. However meritorious the proposal, the strident demands of cyclists in London should not dictate how this measure is implemented.

As usual with consultations from TfL of late, there is no information provided on the likely cost of these proposals (i.e. the burden on lorry operators), or a simple cost/benefit analysis.

The full consultation is here if you wish to respond yourself: https://consultations.tfl.gov.uk/roads/safer-lorries

Roger Lawson

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