Reacting today to the publication by Transport for London (TfL) of the ‘Safer Lorry Scheme – The Way Forward’ document, the Freight Transport Association (FTA) has said that this is not the most targeted or effective approach to take on this issue, and will affect a much wider audience who may be unaware that the restrictions will apply to them.
The proposed ban outlined in the TfL document states that every vehicle in London over 3.5 tonnes must be fitted with sideguards and that it will require them to be fitted with mirrors which will be enforced by CCTV cameras and on-street checks, subject to approval by the Department for Transport.
Christopher Snelling, FTA’s Head of Urban Logistics Policy commented:
"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."
The proposed scheme includes a pan-London Traffic Regulation Order which would prohibit HGVs not fitted with the required safety equipment from driving on London’s roads, and states that this should apply to all vehicles over 3.5 tonnes.
The Association noted however, that there are many vehicles performing vital functions in the capital that will have great difficulty adapting to the new requirements.
Mr Snelling said:
"This is not a cost free option, as it will cause many London businesses to incur more costs on a daily basis. There is no guarantee that these costs won’t increase in the future, and how politicians might decide to change or extend these powers at a later date."
FTA believes that the best way forward on HGVs and cyclist safety is a more targeted approach than the kind of blanket regulations outlined in the proposed TfL scheme would allow.
"FTA considers that one of the best uses of TfL’s time and money would be to maintain a higher level of enforcement against poor quality HGV operators and we will recommend that approach to them in our response."
FTA members in the freight and logistics industry continue to invest hundreds of thousands of pounds in training and equipment appropriate to their particular operations. The Association also calls on the public authorities to ensure such training and advice is available to all cyclists, and that good quality safer roads are available to all users.
Christopher Snelling concluded:
"There is no one solution to the issue of cyclist safety. Unless everyone involved takes intelligent action the problem will not improve as much as we all want."