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Freight Transport Association says fitting glass doors to lorries will be costly and "without clear evidence"...

Fitting lorries with glass door panels to increase driver visibility and reduce cycling fatalities will cost companies too much and prove expensive for Londoners, according to the Freight Transport Association (FTA).

In January a consultation on stricter safety measures for HGVs operating in London was launched, sounding out public opinion on replacing the lower section of a lorry’s cab doors with glass to give drivers ‘direct vision’ of the road. The FTA says it could cost £280 million to fit the new panels to vehicles, however, a cost Londoners would bear.

Transport for London launched the consultation as part of a raft of measures to tackle the disproportionate number of HGVs involved in fatal cyclist and pedestrian collisions, around 80% of which involve the lorry's left front blind spot. Seven cyclists were killed in lorry collisions last year in London.

London safer lorry scheme comes into effect in bid to protect cyclists

Head of National and Regional Policy for the FTA, Christopher Snelling, is reported by the Evening Standard as saying: “Improving visibility for HGV drivers is really important, but there are many different ways to achieve this.

“We are disappointed that the Mayor has chosen to focus on just one option without clear evidence that this is the best way to deliver the desired outcome.

"Side panels have limitations, for example if the vehicle is carrying a second crew member or equipment then the view may be obscured.”

“It is important to remember that any cost added to logistics in London will eventually get passed on to the users – the businesses and residents of London. They are the ones who will ultimately be paying this bill.” Mr Snelling added.

TfL Lorry exterior with panel.png

TfL Lorry exterior with panel

Exterior of lorry with glass panel

Transport for London (TfL) has offered two options for operation of the scheme, which involve either charging higher fees, or banning entirely, non-compliant vehicles, i.e. those without glass door panels.

TfL says: “The Mayor and TfL's ambition is a city with roads free from death and serious injury. Reducing the danger posed by lorries to other road users, and ensuring only the safest vehicles operate on London's streets, is critical in achieving this goal.”

“Lorries are currently only required to have a window on the upper section of passenger-side door.  This makes it difficult for drivers to have a direct view of pedestrians and cyclists who are near to the front left hand side of their lorry.”

According to TfL between 2012 and 2014 lorries were almost ten times more likely to be involved in a fatal collision than cars, with seven of the nine fatal collisions with cyclists in London in 2015 involving lorries.

In 2015 London’s Safer Lorry Scheme was launched, banning lorries weighing more than 3.5 tonnes from the capital’s streets unless they are fitted with mirrors and side guards to improve cyclist and pedestrian safety. Following its launch calls were made to extend the scheme nationwide.

When the scheme was launched London Mayor, Boris Johnson, said: "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."

Some lorry companies have begun designing HGVs with “direct vision”, including the Mercedes Benz Econic, which was trialled in London last year on a cement mixer. Meanwhile, students at Nottingham Trent University are working to redesign dumper trucks in a bid to improve cycle safety. The project involves retrofitting vehicles to reduce blind spots, especially in construction vehicles, which can be big enough to conceal an entire car.

John McGee, director of McGee, told the Nottingham Post: "We're excited to be embarking on this project with Nottingham Trent University as we look to further enhance our fleet of tippers above and beyond minimum compliance.

"By working with the BSc Product Design students it is our goal to seek fresh new ideas and lead the way with construction vehicle safety.

The consultation runs until 4 March. You can have your say by clicking here

11 comments

Avatar
patto583 [55 posts] 1 year ago
13 likes

So when a lorry runs over a cyclist the FTA blames blind spots, yet when someone suggests taking action to minimise these blind spots they claim there's no evidence that it will help.  Make up your mind, it's one or the other.

Avatar
Mungecrundle [866 posts] 1 year ago
1 like

Not just cyclists who get caught in that nearside blindspot. I wonder how many pedestrians, motorcyclists and even small car drivers have come to grief on account of a left turning HGV where the driver just could not see into that zone.

If you can be dispassionate enough to separate the financial cost from the very real tragedy of people losing their lives or suffering injury, it breaks down to about £620 per vehicle (£280 Million / 450,000 registered UK HGV), though I doubt even 5% of those are likely to operate in central London and require the modification. Ultimately RHA members can save any expense by not operating in London and it could even be argued that requiring this modification reduces the ability of foreign vehicles to compete with UK hauliers who do comply.

Avatar
don simon [1536 posts] 1 year ago
1 like
Quote:

Freight Transport Association says fitting glass doors to lorries will be costly and "without clear evidence"...

I find myself agreeing with this, unfortunately, they are already provided with mirrors and can't be arsed using them. What makes anyone think that they'll use extra windows?

Avatar
davel [1969 posts] 1 year ago
2 likes
Mungecrundle wrote:

Not just cyclists who get caught in that nearside blindspot. I wonder how many pedestrians, motorcyclists and even small car drivers have come to grief on account of a left turning HGV where the driver just could not see into that zone.

Not just turning, either: a friend of mine, in a car, in a hgv's blind spot, was tipped onto two wheels when the lorry cut in on her on the motorway. She was shunted onto the hard shoulder and carried along for a few hundred yards, and the driver only realised what was happening when a car on his outside flashed him down.

But, you know, if it's going to cost some money, let's at least work out how many lives will be saved so that a cost/benefit can put a price on those lives to see if they're worth it. While that's happening they can carry on squashing cyclists.

Scrotes.

Avatar
I love my bike [211 posts] 1 year ago
3 likes
don simon wrote:
Quote:

Freight Transport Association says fitting glass doors to lorries will be costly and "without clear evidence"...

I find myself agreeing with this, unfortunately, they are already provided with mirrors and can't be arsed using them. What makes anyone think that they'll use extra windows?

It will be hard to claim that the windows didn't work because they were broken or weren't adjusted properly, like they can do for mirrors or electronic aids!

Avatar
LarryDavidJr [377 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes
Quote:

“The Mayor and TfL's ambition is a city with roads free from death and serious injury.

I'm as up for doing everything you can to prevent that sort of thing as the next man.  I can't help feeling they've set the bar a little high for themselves there....

Avatar
Redvee [371 posts] 1 year ago
3 likes

This isn't a new idea, at least ten years ago Volvo had this in their HGVs.

 

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gmac101 [184 posts] 1 year ago
1 like

It's an even older idea than that - I remember trucks from the 60's and 70's having these.  A quick google check reveals the Leyland FG having a window at the corner near cab floor level. It looks like it dates from the sixties

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levermonkey [682 posts] 1 year ago
4 likes

Quote "Side panels have limitations, for example if the vehicle is carrying a second crew member or equipment then the view may be obscured."

Lets break that down.

1, If you have a second crew member/second man/vehicle attendant then what is to stop them from looking out of the vehicle and alerting the driver to any problem? After all they will have a better view than any driver's aid or mirror.

2, There must be no equipment in the driver's cab that would impede the safe operation of the vehicle. Failure to comply can lead to the issuing of a VOSA Vehicle Prohibition Notice.

Avatar
Redvee [371 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes
gmac101 wrote:

It's an even older idea than that - I remember trucks from the 60's and 70's having these.  A quick google check reveals the Leyland FG having a window at the corner near cab floor level. It looks like it dates from the sixties

 

I did see an FG too in my image search.

Avatar
CygnusX1 [630 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes
Redvee wrote:
gmac101 wrote:

It's an even older idea than that - I remember trucks from the 60's and 70's having these.  A quick google check reveals the Leyland FG having a window at the corner near cab floor level. It looks like it dates from the sixties

 

I did see an FG too in my image search.

I used to own one!

Well, an 'OO' gauge model of one that is... back in the days when "sims" involved glueing green sawdust onto a board and chicken-wire/papier-mache tunnels angry

//www.osbornsmodels.com/ekmps/shops/osbornsmodels/images/bton014-n-gauge-leyland-fg-van-british-rail-c.1966-1976-22121-p[ekm]500x308[ekm].jpg)