Boris Johnson to make HGVs retrofit larger door windows at estimated £1,000 cost to improve cycle safety

HGVs entering the capital will need to be retrofitted with larger windows in their cab doors at an estimated cost of around £1,000, if plans announced this week by London mayor Boris Johnson get the go-ahead.

Following the launch of the Safer Lorry Scheme on 1 September, which requires most HGVs entering London to be fitted with sideguards and close-proximity mirrors, the mayor outlined a further tightening of the rules he'd like to see mandated.

Proposals include the requirement for all HGVs entering London to be retrofitted with bigger side windows/panels to eliminate blind spots and give the driver better all-round visibility.

The mayor said this would cost around £1,000 and that the windows/panels could be fitted to the majority of lorries.

A consultation will take place in January on the proposal, while work will take place with freight operators, cycling groups and vehicle manufacturers to develop a technical “direct vision standard” that would enable the requirment - if adopted - to be legally enforceable.

It is hoped the work will be completed by March or April of next year.

In the meantime, the mayor’s office said “as soon as the work can be physically completed”, it will become mandatory for vehicles working on TfL, Crossrail or Greater London Authority projects to be fitted with larger windows.

Left turns

An additional proposal will also seek to ensure major construction schemes in the capital provide mandatory routes for HGVs to follow to site, which will minimise left turns and remove them from roads heavily used by cyclists.

Discussions with the London Boroughs and the construction industry are already underway.

Finally, existing trials taking place at the Transport Research Laboratory of cycle-protection equipment, such as electronic sensors, may lead to additional mandatory requirements for HGVs if significant and consistent benefits are found.

The Safer Lorry Scheme introduced this week, covers every road in Greater London, except motorways, and will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It will be enforced by the police, the DVSA and the joint TfL and DfT-funded Industrial HGV Taskforce (IHTF). Operators face a £50 fixed penalty notice, with a maximum fine for each breach of the ban of £1,000. Repeat offenders may also be referred to the relevant Traffic Commissioner for investigation.

The mayor said on the scheme's launch day: “We have, from this morning, begun vigorous enforcement action against the laggards. A very disproportionate share of cyclist deaths and serious injuries are caused by lorries, and today’s scheme will undoubtedly save lives."

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