9 July 2015

Safer Lorry Scheme for London

London Mayor Boris Johnson and Transport for London have announced new laws to combat the number of accidents involving lorries and cyclists on the capital’s roads. Under the new Safer Lorry Scheme introduced from 1 September 2015, HGVs must be fitted with upgraded mirrors and side bars before being allowed on London’s roads.

Construction vehicles are a key target of the new scheme and companies operating vehicles over 3.5 tonnes must ensure their vehicles are:

• Fitted with Class V and Class VI mirrors giving the driver a better view of cyclists around their vehicles
• Fitted with side guards to protect cyclists from being dragged under the wheels in the event of a collision.

Operating 24 hours a day, 7 days a week across London and covering the same area as the Low Emission Zone, the scheme will be enforced by the police and Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency. Drivers or companies (operators) found in breach could face the following penalties:

• Drivers found to be in charge of a non-compliant vehicle may be issued with a £50 Fixed Penalty Notice
• Failure to pay the Fixed Penalty Notice could result in a potential fine of £1,000 at Magistrate's court
• Companies operating vehicles in breach of the scheme will be reported to the Traffic Commissioner, which has the power to modify or suspend operator licenses.

The Mayor is also exploring additional measures to protect vulnerable road users and there will be a consultation in January 2016 on requiring HGVs to have additional windows in the lower panel of the cab door to eliminate blind spots and provide direct vision of cyclists and pedestrians. Another measure may include using GLA planning powers to prescribe routes that HGVs must take to London’s major construction sites to ensure they avoid roads which are heavily used by cyclists or to minimise the number of dangerous left turns.

In addition to the minimum compulsory standards for London, there are two national voluntary schemes for vehicle operators:

CLOCS – a common set of contractual requirements implemented by construction clients which looks specifically at reducing collisions involving construction vehicles and vulnerable road users. Covering fleet operations (e.g. traffic routing), vehicle safety measures and driver training, it goes beyond the requirements on mirrors and side-guards announced within the Safer Lorry Scheme.

FORS – an accreditation scheme for vehicle operators to demonstrate they meet the safety aspects of CLOCS, which also covers fuel efficiency, economical operations and vehicle emissions.

Build UK will be working with members over the coming months to provide greater clarity on the various requirements on cycle safety and the details of the various schemes.