Cyclists to Enjoy Increased Protection in London with New Scheme for Lorry Safety
Road safety has always been a major concern for everyone irrespective of the country they live in. United Kingdom is no different and when it comes to the country’s capital, a new breed of danger looms there – a breed that targets specifically the cyclists! Yes, for long London cyclists have been threatened by lorries and other heavy vehicles. Sadly enough, many of the cyclists have been dragged to their deaths by these vehicles simply because the vehicles didn’t have ample safety equipment fitted on them. Not just the cyclists, this threat from heavy goods vehicles has also been a pressing concern for pedestrians.
Things are however changing now. A new scheme for safer lorry has been introduced in the capital. It is the first of its kind in Britain and it requires that all heavy goods vehicles be fitted with special types of mirrors and side guards. The mirrors will allow the vehicle drivers to have a better view of cyclists as well as pedestrians while the side guards will ensure that no one is dragged right under the wheels when a collision takes place.
Boris Johnson, mayor of the capital city openly praised the scheme. In his words, “London is leading the rest of the UK in terms of cementing loopholes that gave the heavy goods vehicles the necessary window to operate without safety equipment in place”. “A major chunk of the operators have implemented the instructions since the scheme was announced 18 months ago,” he added. According to Johnson, authorities are on their toes and are vigilantly ensuring that the scheme is implement. Those who won’t follow the scheme will be subjected to a ban.
Johnson said, “Most of the cyclists who die or are hospitalized with serious injuries are victims of lorries that do not have proper safety measures installed on them.” This is true because last year out of eight cyclists ending up dead in road accidents in the capital, seven were involved in accidents with heavy goods vehicles.
Talking further about the safer lorry scheme, Johnson said that heavy goods vehicles operators have been instructed to reduce blind spots for drivers by retrofitting all vehicles with side windows that are bigger than those that are currently in use. The mayor clarified that barring motorways, all roads of London will fall under this scheme. There will be no ‘happy hours’ as such. The rule will be enforced 24×7 and those who fail to comply will have to pay a fine of £ 1,000 max. Those who repeatedly fail to comply will run into a risk of losing their licenses for operating in London.
As it always happens, not everyone is happy about the new scheme. FTA’s (Freight Transport Association) policy head for London, Natalie Chapman appreciated the scheme and also at the same time thanked the administration for providing concessions to those vehicles which are either not legally entitled to or, do not have provisions for fitting such safety equipment. Chapman however made it clear that the funds that will be pushed in implementation of the safer lorry scheme could have been well spent attempting to enforce existing laws. Chapman said, “Not every operator violates existing regulations. There are only a handful of operators with complete disregard for existing laws”. “The money could have been used for enforcing the existing laws by identifying those operators who do not play by the rules,” she added. According to Natalie, there are far better ways to make the streets of London a safer place for everyone and that safer lorry scheme was as such not really required.