HGVs and lorries are currently involved in more than their fair share of accidents. Large vehicles are tricky to manoeuvre and even experienced drivers have difficulty maintaining a broad field of awareness at all times. In 2013, lorries were involved in 9 out of 14 incidents leading to cyclist fatalities according to Citizen Space.
Transport for London are proposing a Safer Lorries Scheme to be introduced in 2015 which aims to reduce the number of incidents involving HGVs and improve their road safety in general.
What is the Safer Lorries Scheme?
At the minute, UK law requires most HGVs to be fitted with side guards and extended view mirrors.
Side guards are fitted on the side of the vehicle in the space between the wheels. These guards prevent cyclists and pedestrians from falling under the wheels should they collide with the side of the vehicle.
Extended mirrors improve the driver’s field of vision and reduce blind spots around the vehicle. This decreases the likelihood of accidents occurring in the first place at all.
But not all HGVs are required to have these features in place. For example, older HGVs are exempt from regulations requiring them to have extended mirrors and construction vehicles are not legally obliged to have side guards in place.
Transport for London and London Councils are seeking to prevent vehicles over 3.5 tonnes from driving through London unless they are fitted with side guards, Class V extended view mirrors and Class VI front projection mirrors.
When will the Safer Lorries Scheme apply?
The ban is due to be implemented in the beginning of 2015 and will apply across Greater London on all roads except for motorways – click here to see a map of the area.
If your business takes you to London, it’s vital that your HGVs are fitted with all the necessary equipment to keep you in alignment with the new laws.
However, even if you operate outside of the boundaries of Greater London, it’s advisable to adhere to these guidelines, even though you’re not required to do so by law. This equipment reduces road accidents and can even prevent fatalities.
How can I Make My Vehicles Safer?
In the first instance, have your HGVs fitted with both Class V and Class VI extended view mirrors and side guards to make sure you comply with all the current legislation. You should also consider investing in more advanced equipment to minimise the incidence of your vehicle being involved in road accidents.
Vision Techniques offer a range of equipment to make your vehicles safer, such as the TurnSafe – Cyclist Detection System , a range of accessories which alert nearby cyclists and road users whenever the lorry makes a turn. You can also install a camera, which eliminates blind spots, wherever possible.
Citizen Space estimates that the new legislation will prevent between 3-7 cyclist and pedestrian fatalities in a five-year period and would prevent 1-5 serious cyclist and pedestrian casualties.
There are even more safety features and accessories available on our product page to help you make sure your vehicles are safe, secure and pedestrian friendly.