As of 1 September 2015, the London Safer Lorry Scheme came into force in an attempt to protect pedestrians and cyclists in the capital.

What is the Safer Lorry Scheme?

This Scheme uses a combination of powers to ensure that only Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs) fitted with basic safety equipment are allowed on London’s roads.

What does it mean?

Under the Scheme, vehicles weighing over 3.5 tonnes are required to:

  • Be fitted with Class V and Class VI mirrors giving the driver a better view of cyclists and pedestrians around their vehicle
  • Be fitted with side guards to protect cyclists from being dragged under the wheels in the event of a collision

Why is this necessary?

One of the priorities for ‘Traffic for London’ is to reduce the number of people killed or seriously injured on London’s roads by 40% by 2020. HGVs have been involved in a disproportionate number of fatal collisions involving cyclists and pedestrians in recent times. In 2013 for example, there were 14 fatal incidents involving cyclists. nine out of the 14 fatalities involved HGVs. This year, as at 1 September 2015, seven of the eight cyclist deaths in the capital have involved HGVs.

What has been the response?

Charlie Lloyd from the London Cycling Campaign welcomed the introduction of the scheme saying “The new mirror system is really good news but most lorries already comply. What we’d like to see is a total re-design of a lorry cab.” However Natalie Chapman, of the Freight Transport Association, said funds used to launch the scheme would better be spent on targeting “a small proportion of lorries that don’t comply with existing regulation.”

So what does this mean in practice?

In practice, it means those drivers found to be in charge of a non-compliant vehicle may be issued with a GBP 50 Fixed Penalty Notice. If the matter proceeds to Court, the offence could carry a fine of up to GBP 1000. In addition, the Traffic Commissioner, who has the power to modify or even suspend Operator Licences, will be notified of those companies operating vehicles in breach of the scheme. Repeat offenders could risk losing their Operator’s Licence.