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

All HGVs operating in the capital must be fitted with side guards and extended view mirrors

New rules have come into effect which mean all heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) operating in London must be fitted with certain safety equipment. Seven of the eight cyclist deaths in the capital this year have involved HGVs.

The BBC reports how all HGVS operating within the capital must now be fitted with side guards to prevent cyclists being dragged underneath, as well as mirrors that give the driver an improved view of the area around their vehicle.

The new rules cover all roads in London except motorways and apply at all times. A breach of the ban carries a maximum £1,000 penalty with repeat offenders at risk of losing their operating licence.

Most HGVs are already required to fit side guards, but lorries involved in the construction industry have been exempt from that requirement. Similarly, while new lorries must have extended view mirrors fitted, older HGVs have been exempt.

London Mayor Boris Johnson described the scheme as  a "life-saver."

"We are ahead of any other part of the UK in closing the legal loopholes that allowed many HGVs to operate without basic safety equipment.

"I am delighted that over the 18 months since we announced the safer lorry scheme, the vast majority of operators have got the message and fitted safety equipment to their vehicles in anticipation of the ban."

However, Natalie Chapman, of the Freight Transport Association, said the money used to launch the scheme would have been better spent on targeting lorries that don't comply with existing regulations.

Figures released by Transport for London in June revealed that almost three in four lorries stopped by police in the capital did not comply with the law, including legislation relating to safety.

The City of London Police Commercial Vehicle Unit, which was set up in May with funding from TfL, found that in its first month of operation, 95 of the 136 lorries stopped had to be taken off the road for non-compliance or safety reasons.

TfL says that issues identified included lack of insurance; driving without the appropriate licence; with unsafe tyres or an unsafe load; and not accurately recording driver hours.

Alex has written for more cricket publications than the rest of the team combined. Despite the apparent evidence of this picture, he doesn't especially like cake.

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