Thursday, 26 June 2014

TfL's response to HGV concerns

TfL's responded to an e-mail about the severe dangers presented by HGVs as follows. The bold sections are my emphasis to pick out the items which might be useful for campaigning:

"Thank you for your email of 13 June 2014 about the movement of Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs) on London’s roads.

Firstly, you are absolutely right to say that HGVs are disproportionately involved in road collisions in London. 53 per cent of all pedal cycle fatalities between 2008 and 2012 involved a HGV despite only making up four per cent of London’s road miles. Both the Mayor and Transport for London are working hard to reduce the risk posed by HGVs to vulnerable road users and part of our £913m programme of investment is dedicated to this specific issue. We believe that no lorry should be allowed in London unless it is fitted with basic safety equipments to protect vulnerable road users. TfL has completed a feasibility study, Safer Lorry Scheme: the Way Forward (available here tfl.gov.uk/assets/downloads/safer-lorry-scheme-the-way-forward.pdf), which sets out the options to make this happen. TfL is working with London Councils to implement these recommendations and hope the Scheme will be in operation at the end of this year. We are also increasing enforcement activity against the most dangerous and non-compliant vehicles on London’s roads through the joint TfL/ Department for Transport (DfT) Industrial HGV Task Force. This task force comprises eight police and DfT officers who can enforce vehicle standards regulations. Between 1 October 2013 and 7 June 2014, 2577 vehicles were targeted and stopped, over 600 fixed penalty notices were issued and 35 of the most unsafe vehicles were seized. However, the Mayor is determined to go further and has been speaking to the DfT about how we can improve HGV safety across the UK and the EU. We have been lobbying the DfT to remove the exemptions for construction HGVs that are currently not required to fit basic safety equipment, such as side guards and blind spot mirrors. The Mayor and TfL recently lobbied the European Parliament about the European Commission’s proposals to amend the directive that regulates the weights and dimensions of HGVs. The European Parliament has now passed amendments that, if taken forward, will mean lower cabs and bigger windows will apply to all new HGVs. This means a drivers direct vision around his vehicle will be much better, reducing the reliance on cameras and sensors. Although this means we are unlikely to see these requirements mandatory for all new HGVs until 2022 at the earliest we will keep the pressure up to achieve change as soon as possible for the benefit of all road users. In the meantime, TfL has established an industry working group with over 30 businesses and vehicle manufacturers to encourage vehicle designs that improve direct vision for HGV drivers. While it will take time to implement those changes the group is examining what effective safety improvements could be obtained from existing equipment. The group has also started examining the range of additional safety systems such as sensors and cameras that could help. 

Since February 2012, TfL has included cycle safety requirements in its procurement contracts. Vehicles must be equipped with technology to eliminate blind spots and drivers receive on-cycle hazard awareness training. These requirements have also been included within TfL’s Construction Logistics Plan Guidance (which can be found here for planners http://www.tfl.gov.uk/cdn/static/cms/documents/construction-logistics-plan-guidance-for-planners.pdf and here for developershttp://www.tfl.gov.uk/cdn/static/cms/documents/construction-logistics-plan-guidance-for-developers.pdf). These are now included in many planning applications. To encourage other organisations to follow our lead, a guidance document on Improving Road Safety through Procurement is available which recently won the ‘Best London Cycling Initiative’ at the London Cycling Campaign awards. Crossrail, The London Legacy Development Corporation, Thames Water, MACE and a number of London boroughs have already committed to this approach.

Other practical tools to improve lorry safety include:
  • a Cycle Safety toolkit for freight operators
  • Exchanging Places events to give cyclists the opportunity to sit in the cab of a lorry to see the extent of vehicle blind spots and encourages safer cycling.

Hope this answers your query regarding our position on the issues you raised.
Thank you once again for contacting us.
Yours sincerely, Freight and Fleet Team, Transport for London"