UK
01/09/2015 11:41 BST | Updated 01/09/2015 11:59 BST

London Cycle Safety Takes 'Big Step Forward' With New Rules To Make Lorries Less Dangerous

London on Tuesday became the first UK city to ban lorries that do not have equipment to protect cyclists and pedestrians, as plans were also announced to limit where they can drive.

All Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs) over 3.5 tons must now be fitted with guards at the side to stop cyclists being dragged under their wheels. Of the eight cyclist deaths in London so far this year, seven involved HGVs, and between 2008 and 2012 they were involved in 53 percent of cyclist fatalities.

Lorrie drivers are also required to have bigger windows to improve their lines of sight and a special mirror that helps the driver see cyclists and pedestrians.

cyclists london hgv

Under new measures heavy Goods Vehicles must be fitted with wheel guards, get bigger windows and a special mirror to help them see other road users

Drivers will be fined up to £1,000 if they don't have the equipment fitted and if they are repeatedly stopped they risk losing their operating license.

The measures came into force as the Greater London Authority announced plans to limit where HGVs can drive. It will require building firms to bring supplies in and out of their sites through routes that minimise risks to cyclists. The Independent reported lorries will have to travel routes that limit the amount of left turns they take.

A statement from Transport for London said: “For future major construction projects, GLA planning powers will be used to strictly prescribe the routes which HGVs serving them can follow – requiring, for instance, that they avoid a road heavily used by cyclists or take a route that minimises the number of left turns, the most dangerous manoeuvre."

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The newspaper quoted Mayor of London Boris Johnson as saying "today's scheme will undoubtedly save lives".

Johnson called the measures a "big step forward" but said he is also proposing further rules including making HGVs get refitted with bigger side windows. He said they would reduce driver blind spots "that contribute to so many tragic accidents."

How to phase in larger windows is to be decided next year. Trials are also being undertaken at the Transport Research Laboratory on further measures, including electronic censors to help alert drivers to people on bikes near their vehicle.

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