Lorries driving into London told not to make any left turns to make roads safer

Left-turns are the most dangerous move a lorry can make

Jon Stone
Tuesday 01 September 2015 10:29 BST
Between 2008 and 2012 lorries were involved in 53 per cent of London cyclist deaths
Between 2008 and 2012 lorries were involved in 53 per cent of London cyclist deaths (Getty Images)

Construction lorries driving into London will be made to travel routes that minimise the number of left turns they take to improve road safety, it has been announced.

The Great London Authority will use planning powers to require building firms to bring supplies in and out of through safer routes that minimise risk to people on bikes.

A disproportionate share of deaths and serious injuries to pedestrians and cyclists in London are dealt out by lorries.

People involved in collisions with the huge vehicles tend to be dragged under the wheels of vehicles that turn across them.

“For future major construction projects, GLA planning powers will be used to strictly prescribe the routes which HGVs serving them can follow – requiring, for instance, that they avoid a road heavily used by cyclists or take a route that minimises the number of left turns, the most dangerous manoeuvre,” a press statement from Transport for London said.

Transport for London is today implementing the first part of a new programme to make lorries that travel on the capital’s streets safer.

Large vehicles in central London will be required to have bigger windows to improve their lines of sight and side guards to stop people being dragged to their deaths in the event of a collision.

Left-turning lorries are particularly dangerous for people riding bikes and crossing roads because of potential blind-spots for drivers.

“A very disproportionate share of cyclist deaths and serious injuries are caused by lorries, and today’s scheme will undoubtedly save lives,” Mayor of London Boris Johnson said.

“But this big step forward is only one element of my work to protect cyclists and pedestrians from lorries. I announce today that I propose to require further safety modifications to all HGVs in London, including the retrofitting of bigger side windows to further reduce the driver blind spots that contribute to so many tragic accidents.

“Bigger side windows, in the lower panel of the cab door, give the driver direct vision of any cyclist who may be alongside them, and can be fitted to most lorries for around £1,000.”

Between 2008 and 2012 lorries were involved in 53 per cent of London cyclist deaths

The side-guards regulation is now in force as of September, with a consultation on how best to phase in larger windows due in the new year.

Trials are being undertaken at the Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) on further measures, including electronic censors to help alert drivers to people on bikes near their vehicle.

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