CTC urges Transport Secretary to support safer lorries
In the same week that another Londoner lost their life whilst cycling in the capital - the fifth this year and the second killed in collision with a lorry - Government ministers are due to decide whether to support an amendment to an EU Directive that would introduce safer and more fuel efficient lorries.
The Financial Times reports that two member states - France and Sweden - are seeking to delay the potentially life-saving provisions of the amendment until 2025, with some manufacturers arguing that this is necessary to maintain "competitive neutrality". There are suggestions that Volvo Trucks and Renault Trucks are concerned at the implementation costs after they recently launched new model ranges.
CTC and its partners are therefore urging the Transport Secretary to give the amendment his wholehearted backing. CTC's letter has been co-signed by British Cycling, the Campaign for Better Transport, Living Streets, London Cycling Campaign, RoadPeace, See Me Save Me, and Sustrans.
CTC is urging members and supporters to email Patrick McLoughlin in person. This only takes a couple of minutes.
EU rule change could save lives
The amendment, which was approved by the EU Parliament in April, would increase the design space in the front of lorry cabs, allowing for bigger windscreens to be fitted, thereby reducing blind-spots and increasing the ability of lorry drivers to see other road users directly ('direct vision'), instead of relying on mirrors, sensors and cameras ('indirect vision').
The presence of blind-spots in the current lorry cab design makes it difficult for lorry drivers to see pedestrians or cyclists directly in front of their vehicles or cyclists near the front corner of the cab. This is particularly hazardous to cyclists when lorries make left-turning manoeuvres on urban streets.
The way lorries are currently designed is dangerous for pedestrians and cyclists. MEPs have voted for changes that would make it much easier for drivers to see them, preventing collisions and saving lives. We need the Government to stand up to industry delaying tactics and get safer, greener lorries on our roads as soon as possible.
Road Safety Campaigner, CTC
The shape of the new cab would be rounded rather than the antiquated box-shape, with a ‘crumple zone’ to prevent cyclists and pedestrians from being dragged under the vehicle’s wheels in the event of a collision. These alterations could potentially save hundreds of lives across the EU every year, where 4250 people die annually in lorry-related collisions.
The letter also urges the Transport Secretary to agree with the European Parliament not to permit further international use of mega-trucks until a full European Commission report is carried out in 2016.
CTC is asking all its members and supporters to send an email to the Secretary of State urging him to support the proposals.
Additional safety measures
As well as fitting of bigger windscreens to reduce blind-spots, CTC also believes that the seating position of lorry drivers should be lowered wherever possible. CTC’s campaigns briefing on goods vehicles also outlines other safety measures which we advocate to reduce lorry danger. These include not only the use of safety equipment (such as sensors and alarms, side guards, and external warning signals), but also lorry routing policies locating trans-shipment depots on the outskirts of urban areas (allowing loads to be transferred to smaller lorries or non-road transport), carrying more freight by rail and water, and the use of freight cycles. CTC has been participating in a pan-European Cycle Logistics project to explore the potential for cycle freight solutions.
Please join CTC in emailing Patrick McLoughlin . Some truck manufacturers are clearly more concerned about saving money than saving lives. We mustn't let them get away with it.