Solicitor Calls For London Lorry Scheme Extension

Personal injury solicitor and keen cyclist James Pritchard is calling for a new road safety scheme introduced in London this month to be rolled out across the country.

Under the Safer Lorry Scheme, only lorries fitted with basic safety equipment are allowed on the capital’s roads.

Vehicles over 3.5 tonnes must now have extra mirrors, giving drivers a better view of cyclists and pedestrians, as well as side guards to protect cyclists from being dragged under the wheels in a collision.

James, who specialises in cycle accidents, believes the initiative could save lives.

“The bars are a particularly good idea,” he said. “I was sideswiped in my car and that was scary enough. I don’t even want to imagine what it would be like to be taken under a wagon as a cyclist.

“I’ve acted for a cyclist in London who was dragged under a truck in just these circumstances.

“The truck driver didn’t even realised he’d hit her and didn’t stop – or else he did know and didn’t care, but I’d hope that wasn’t the case.”

The case was dealt with by the Motor Insurers Bureau, who compensate victims of uninsured or untraced drivers.

While James supports the London scheme, he said a change in attitude is also needed to cut the unacceptably high death toll on our roads.

“Policing this scheme will be difficult, to say the least,” he said. “Even if drivers have the extra mirrors, I can imagine plenty not using them.

“There’s still too much of the us-and-them mentality, with everyone looking out for themselves and not each other.”

The scheme has been launched in collaboration between Transport for London, London Councils and Heathrow Airport.

Drivers who flaunt the new rules can be fined up to £1,000, while repeat offenders could lose their operating licences

Heavy goods vehicles were involved in nine out of 14 accidents leading to cyclist fatalities in London in 2013.

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