HGVs without safety equipment to protect cyclists and pedestrians are now banned throughout Greater London under Britain’s first “Safer Lorry Scheme”. However, the ban on its own is not enough, according the O’Donovan Waste Disposal.
Vehicles of more than 3.5 tonnes entering London must now be fitted with sideguards to protect cyclists from being dragged under the wheels in the event of a collision, along with Class V and Class VI mirrors to give the driver a better view of cyclists and pedestrians.
Bigger side windows, in the lower panel of the cab door, give the driver direct vision of any cyclist who may be alongside them, and can be fitted to most lorries for around £1000.
It will be enforced by the police, the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency and the joint Transport for London and Department for Transport-funded Industrial HGV Taskforce. The maximum fine for each breach of the ban will be £1000.
“HGV owners need to see this ban not as a burden, but more of an opportunity to help the industry shake its reputation as the ‘bad guys’ in this situation. By combining fleet safety measures with stringent training programmes for drivers, operators can take control of their own destinies – so to speak”
Repeat offenders may also be referred to the relevant Traffic Commissioner, who is responsible for the licensing and regulation of HGV operators.
The Mayor, Boris Johnson, hailed the success of the scheme – which has already seen the vast majority of HGVs in London fitting the equipment as operators move to comply – and announced it would now go further.
While wholeheartedly backing the scheme, having been one of the fleet operators chosen to launch it, Jacqueline O’Donovan, managing director of O’Donovan Waste Disposal, thinks that the ban alone is not enough to stop accidents involving vulnerable road users.
“To ensure that everyone has the best chance of travelling safely, we need to combine the introduction of enforced HGV safety equipment with more training and education for both drivers and cyclists,” she said.
She suggests staff should also be trained to ensure they are aware of the dangers of operating a HGV and can tailor their behaviour accordingly.
The company last year launched its own driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) driver training – Waste Essentials, and also uses an operational management system to monitor driver behaviour in real time and identify training needs on a continual basis.
“It is without a doubt a huge stride in the right direction for everybody living and working in London to see the Safer Lorry Scheme come into force,” she added. “However, if real impact is to be made and more lives saved, all parties need to take a more collaborative approach to safety and well-being.
“HGV owners need to see this ban not as a burden, but more of an opportunity to help the industry shake its reputation as the ‘bad guys’ in this situation. By combining fleet safety measures with stringent training programmes for drivers, operators can take control of their own destinies – so to speak.
“Cyclists and pedestrians too could benefit from further knowledge on the challenges facing HGV drivers. If we all work together to improve awareness, we can share in the benefits of less incidents and more lives saved, a win for everybody involved.”