Lib Dem London Assembly leader calls for relaxation of "daft" DfT rules on safety mirrors

Red tape means Secretary of State's approval needed prior to installation at junctions

by Simon_MacMichael   December 30, 2011  

Trixi mirror (picture - TfL)

Caroline Pidgeon, leader of the Liberal Democrats in the Greater London Assembly, has called on the Department for Transport (DfT) to relax rules that require authorisation from the Secretary of State for Transport before ‘Trixi mirrors’ can be installed at junctions.

Describing the current regulations as “daft,” Ms Pidgeon, quoted on MSN, says: "After so many cycle deaths this year on London's roads and a rise in cyclists killed or hurt on roads across the UK as a whole, it is time for real action on making our roads safer for cyclists.

"In London we desperately need to take action at the most dangerous junctions. We also need to offer more training to both cyclists and lorry drivers, as well as the greater use of 20mph speed limits, especially in residential areas.

"Another much needed change would be ending the bureaucratic Whitehall restrictions on the introduction of safety mirrors at junctions.

"It is simply daft that the Secretary of State for Transport has to personally approve the implementation of each and every one of them. These mirrors help remove blind spots at dangerous junctions and are welcomed by both lorry drivers and cyclists. We need to quickly roll them out at hundreds of junctions."

The convex safety mirrors, which allow lorry drivers to see cyclists on their inside at junctions, were invented by Swiss national Ulrich Willburger, the name inspired by his daughter Beatrix who was seriously injured when she was hit by a cement lorry at the age of 13.

Ms Pidgeon, along with other Assembly Members including the Green Party’s Jenny Jones and Labour’s Val Shawcross, have been putting pressure on Mayor Boris Johnson and Transport for London to make conditions for cyclists safer on the capital’s roads.

In one of a number of questions put to the Mr Johnson on the issue of cycle safety in London at December’s Mayor’s Question Time, Ms Pidgeon asked: “Do you consider that there is a contradiction in providing guidance to cyclists to not cycle on the inside of HGVs yet this is an inherent feature of the Cycle Superhighways?”

In a written reply, Mr Johnson touched briefly upon the issue of safety mirrors, saying, “I do not agree. Five metre Advanced Stop Line areas are installed as standard at all signalised junctions on the Superhighways, allowing cyclists to wait ahead of queuing traffic.  

“The scheme also includes various other measures designed to reduce conflict between cyclists and left-turning HGVs. These include the provision of blind spot safety mirrors at all signalised junctions, the delivery of training to cyclists and HGV drivers, and campaigns advising cyclists how to minimise the risks posed by HGVs.”