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More good news for London's cyclists – unsafe lorries to be punished

After the good news about Transport for London giving the go-ahead for safer, segregated cycle superhighways, more good news has been announced this week in the form of the Safer Lorry Scheme. In a joint announcement made by Transport for London, Boris Johnson and London Councils, it has been confirmed that from 1 September this year, all vehicles weighing more than 3.5 tonnes will have to have certain safety features added to ensure greater protection for cyclists.

The main additional protections are sideguards which are barriers fitted between the front and rear sets of wheels which will help prevent cyclists being dragged under lorries where there is a collision, and also Class V and Class VI mirrors which will give lorry drivers a better view of the road around them, particularly with respect to cyclists. Class V mirrors are installed above the passenger door and improve the drivers view of the nearside blindspot. Class VI mirrors are installed on the windscreen on the front nearside of the vehicle and help a driver see if there is anything immediately in front of the vehicle. Drivers of lorries which do not have these additional features can be given a fine of up to £1000 and also be referred to the appropriate Traffic Commissioner, who has responsibility to regulate HGV drivers.

Jennifer Buchanan, solicitor with Fieldfisher says "It's another step in the right direction for reducing accidents involving cyclists and lorries, In London in 2013, there were 14 cyclist deaths, and 9 of these were attributable to HGVs. Only last month a woman was tragically killed in Stamford Hill by a lorry that had not been fitted with these features. It remains to be seen however whether a £1000 fine, and the possibility of a revoked license is enough of a deterrent for drivers who are slow to adhere to the new rules or who openly flaunt them".

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