France, Sweden and Italy delay introduction of safer lorries

Cyclist-friendly design may not be in use until 2025

by John Stevenson   May 6, 2014  

Safety and aerodynamic improvements to new trucks

The introduction of safer lorries to Britain’s streets is being blocked by governments acting under pressure from their domestic vehicle manufacturers, and the ringleader is a nation traditionally thought of as cycle-friendly: France.

According to Matthew Beard of the Evening Standard, France, Sweden and Italy have been pressured by Renault, Skania and Iveco to block the introduction of new rules for HGVs. The measures would make them much safer for vulnerable road users by improving vision from the cab and reducing the severity of impacts.

The new design rules were voted in last month by MEPs, though a significant number of British MEPs voted against. UKIP MEPs in particular voted in accordance with party policy of voting against all European regulatory measures regardless of how many children’s lives they might save.

Campaigners say the measure would save 1,000 cyclists lives per year, but under pressure from vehicle manufacturers the reforms may take a decade to implement. A draft paper from the European Council seen by the Standard says the new regs “shall start to apply only [7] years after” the three years EU member states are allowed to incorporate the rules into national laws, taking the total delay to 2025.

As originally drawn up, the plans would have allowed manufacturers to gradually introduce new safety features from 2018, with the full set of new design rules becoming mandatory for all new lorries in 2022.

William Todts of sustainable transport group Transport & Environment said: “That the French are trying to shield industry laggards from innovation and competition is hardly surprising. That the UK is doing nothing to stop them is indefensible, especially given the situation for London’s cyclists and pedestrians. If the British Government is serious about preventing road deaths, it needs to get its act together.”

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12 user comments

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So when is collision avoidance tech becoming mandatory on all new vehicles?

posted by Initialised [197 posts]
6th May 2014 - 16:14

13 Likes

Lets just remember, no government actually work for the people, they work for themselves and big business.
All we can do is keep rattling the cage.

posted by Mart [109 posts]
6th May 2014 - 16:35

19 Likes

This is pretty shameful. There are people working for these truck manufacturers, they are not just faceless corporations. When those people were children, if you'd told them that when they grew up, they would put corporate profits before 1,000 lives, I wonder if they would have been ashamed.

By the way, the sub-heading is wrong - there's a missing 'not'.

posted by HarrogateSpa [133 posts]
6th May 2014 - 17:00

9 Likes

The annoying part of all this is that the new vehicles can be used already. The legislation is to mandate it's introduction. The ones at biggest fault here are the manufacturers for not introducing the new designs. The politicos are just complicit.

posted by paulrbarnard [147 posts]
6th May 2014 - 17:10

8 Likes

So ze Germans and the Dutch are happy to have an opportunity to sell new models denied....or did they just manage to keep their names out of the press and let the others take the flak.

All Campag

posted by Flying Scot [682 posts]
6th May 2014 - 17:42

12 Likes

I think you meant to have your sub-heading including the word "not"?

posted by ChairRDRF [169 posts]
6th May 2014 - 18:48

6 Likes

Is the design lifecycle of a lorry really so slow?

It's not as if they've been asked to convert to hydrogen or electric, something that probably would takes many years to develop. It's just a different shape cab, and not that different.

Even when these eventually appear, it will take many, many years for the previous generations to disappear.

posted by bikebot [789 posts]
6th May 2014 - 20:16

7 Likes

Even if the article in the Evening Standard is only partly true (perhaps due to crucial omissions), its publication could turn into a PR disaster for Renault and Fiat if UK cyclists launch an internet campaign requiring these companies to clarify their position. The campaign could be extended to the whole EU. Consumers are no longer toothless...

UKIP again highlights the failure and danger of dogmatic political groupings.

The entropy of the universe increases constantly. Carpe diem.

posted by noether [89 posts]
7th May 2014 - 5:22

3 Likes

That low front end is never going to be implemented, or, there will be so many exemptions that it may as well not be included. The reason? The front approach angle is too low.

I note that the wording is "Crash box can be fitted"; notice the use of the word 'can' not 'will'.

The blind spot to the front has been reduced a little but the blind spot on the nearside has not been addressed.

The problem that as soon as an articulated vehicle starts to turn the mirrors on the inside radius are 'blind' will still be there. Could it be argued that articulated vehicle should only be allowed to enter urban areas at certain times if at all?

Everything in the new design seems geared to mitigate the results of an impact rather than prevent it happening in the first place.

One step forward: Two steps back.

posted by levermonkey [395 posts]
7th May 2014 - 5:25

3 Likes

At the end of the day, it's the DRIVER who is responsible for safe passage. No amount of "safety measures" to vehicles will help until their drivers learn to operate their vehicles in a safe manner and in consideration of other road users.

Mike S

posted by Mike Smith [7 posts]
7th May 2014 - 8:15

7 Likes

Mike Smith wrote:
At the end of the day, it's the DRIVER who is responsible for safe passage. No amount of "safety measures" to vehicles will help until their drivers learn to operate their vehicles in a safe manner and in consideration of other road users.

Totally and utterly agree.

Safest vehicle ever possible + complete twonk behind wheel
= death and destruction

posted by Yorkshie Whippet [344 posts]
7th May 2014 - 10:21

5 Likes

Mart wrote:
Lets just remember, no government actually work for the people, they work for themselves and big business.
All we can do is keep rattling the cage.

Their cage or yours? Wink

John Dewey wrote:
Government is the shadow cast by business over society.

Shepherd Book wrote:
A government is a body of people, usually, notably ungoverned.

The way to 'hurt' these companies is to push for legislation that bans all HGVs from town and city centres, specifically on the PM2.5 particulate pollution issue and that they are responsible for 60% of cyclist deaths (in London) while accounting for only 5% of traffic. Also then tax the fuck out of diesel, put VED for diesel power vehicles through the roof (although isnt this is being phased out?) and treble congestion charges for diesel vehicles to ridiculous levels.

The latter part of that would hurt taxi drivers but its about time. Wink

zanf's picture

posted by zanf [604 posts]
7th May 2014 - 15:14

3 Likes