The Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH)’s London Metropolitan Branch has hailed the result of a ballot by the European Parliament to allow mandatory safety requirements for new lorries.
This week, the European Parliament’s Transport Committee voted in favour of proposed changes to the Vehicle Weights & Dimensions Directive. This would mean lorry cabs can be redesigned to reduce blind spots, thus improving the direct vision of the driver.
Chair of the IOSH London Metropolitan Branch Nigel Burgess said: "Cycling in London should be an enjoyable and efficient way to move around our capital city. Sadly we have seen cycling-related deaths increase as more and more road users are vying for the same space."
Mr Burgess, who is both a qualified HGV driver and a cyclist, added: "The Directive is not only good news for cyclists; it is also great news for lorry drivers who have many pressures and distractions to deal with during their working day. Drivers are professionals with their own families and do not deserve to suffer the psychological stress of colliding with a cyclist or pedestrian simply because of poor vehicle design.
"Whilst mandatory implementation for new lorries may not occur immediately, this news is a major step in the right direction to reduce deaths and major injuries on the road."
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, has been pushing for amendments to the EU Directive for some time. In January the Mayor’s Cycling Commissioner, Andrew Gilligan, and Olympic gold medallist, Chris Boardman, joined forces with safety campaigners in Brussels to lobby the European Parliament on the issue.
This week’s amendments would also enable lorries to be fitted with an energy absorbing crash system at the front of the cab and allow for a more rounded cab design in order to divert vulnerable road users to the side of the vehicle in case of collision.
Lorry makers will have the possibility to improve designs straight away and the European Parliament’s Transport Committee wants these life-saving features to become mandatory for all new lorries by 2022.