Active travel organisations urge Government to support safer lorries

Organisations representing cyclists and pedestrians have written a letter to the Secretary of State for Transport urging him to support a proposed amendment to EU rules on safer lorry design.

Government ministers are due to decide this week on whether to support EU proposals to 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.

The proposed amendment, which was voted through by the EU Parliament in April, would increase the space in front of lorry cabs, allowing for bigger windscreens, 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 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.

The organisations that have co-signed the letter are CTC, the national cycling charity; British Cycling; RoadPeace; the Campaign for Better Transport; See me Save me; Living Streets; and London Cycling Campaign.

h4. Take action
Please send an email to the Transport Secretary urging him to back the proposals

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