One step closer to ban in London for HGV’s without cycle-safe equipment
Transport for London and London Councils have recently put their Safer Lorries Scheme out to consultation, a move that could see HGV’s banned from the capital starting early next year if they don’t have cyclist friendly equipment.
The proposal of the ban would be effective 24 hours a day, seven days a week and covering the exact same area as the London Low Emission Zone.
The scheme, to begin with, would be enforced by trained police or DVSA officers, most probably via targeted checks around construction sites by the Industrial HGV Task Force, according to the Transport for London.
A £50 fixed penalty notice will be issued to offenders, which is a non-endorsable offence.
If approved by the Department for Transport and London Boroughs, within 18 months the scheme could be policed via a civil enforcement, with traffic wardens and CCTV cameras catching non-compliant vehicles.
This method would see operators receiving a £130 penalty charge notice, reduced to £65 if paid within 14 days.
Following a feasibility study, published in January, the Safter Lorries Scheme would require every vehicle over 3.5t to be fitted with Class V and VI close proximity mirrors, as well as sideguards to protect cyclists being dragged under the wheels.
Estimates given by the Transport for London showed that vehicles can be retrofitted with sideguards for approx. £500, with extended mirrors costing around £300 each.
The Freight Transport Association has raised some concern about the blanket ban on vehicles over 3.5t could see some larger or smaller vans fall foul of other legislation if forced to fit additional mirrors, as their cabs are too low and would pose a risk to the public and cyclists.
The Road Haulage Association, said that they had also been in dispute about the Transport for London’s ‘insistence’ that the requirements start at 3.5t rather than 7.5t.
Ray Engley, RHA head of technical services, added: “The industry has moved on since the original Construction and Use exemption for tipping vehicles, especially in London. Our primary concern is to ensure that the mirror and sideguard requirements are practical and meet existing EU legislation.
Road Haulage Association head of technical services, Ray Engley, added: “The industry has moved on since the original Construction and Use exemption for tipping vehicles, especially in London.
“Our primary concern is to ensure that the mirror and sideguard requirements are practical and meet existing EU legislation.”
“£500 may be a bit optimistic for many sideguards. £1,000 is more in the ball-park for many vehicles.”
In mitigation, Transport for London’s consultation document states that any vehicle whereby mirrors can’t be fitted at least 2m from the ground, will be exempt. In addition a number of smaller vehicles will also become exempt from requiring sideguards, according to Individual Vehicle Approval guidelines.
Transport Research Laboratory carried out a sample study for the Transport for London earlier this year. It showed that 10% (approx. 14,894) of vehicles registered in London and the South East are currently exempt from sidgeguards, including tippers, refuse trucks, skip loaders, concreate mixers and fire engines.
It also found that 30% (approx. 37,476) were not fitted with Class VI mirrors and 5% (approx. 6,984) would have not have had Class V mirrors at manufacture, however, it added that there was no knowing how many of these have been fitted since due to contractual requirement such as Crossrail).