Whilst we are all aware of the many benefits of cycling it is an unfortunate fact that cyclists are amongst the most vulnerable users of our roads.
Whilst there are many hazards for cyclists from poor road surfaces to other road users one particular hazard are lorries.
In London, although lorries only account for less than 5% of the traffic on the capital’s roads, more than 50% of fatal accidents involving cyclists are caused by them. Across Europe 18% of fatal accidents involving cyclists are caused by heavy goods vehicles.
The above statistics only relate to fatal accidents but it is clear that lorries as a group of road users represent a significant hazard to cyclists as they will also be implicated in many less serious accidents.
To help address the hazard represented by lorries to cyclists and pedestrians in particular the European Parliament have approved new rules to make big lorries safer for other road users.
The proposed legislation will force a change to the design of lorry cabs with larger windows and rounder fronts. The larger windows are intended to get rid of the driver’s “blind spots” and the more rounded design is intended to reduce the severity of an impact between a lorry and a pedestrian or cyclist.
The design changes will also make large lorries more aerodynamic which will have the effect of reducing fuel consumption.
A strong supporter of the proposed legislation is Boris Johnson the mayor of London who is a great supporter of cycling within the capital. Boris Johnson is concerned that the UK government may oppose the changes. It is certainly hoped that the government will back these important changes.
The bad news is that even if the government backs the changes it will be a long time until they come into force. As the proposed legislation is aimed at making the changes in lorry design compulsory it will take about seven years before the legislation starts to take effect.
Anything that improves the safety of cyclists is to be applauded but unfortunately whatever measures are put in place to improve cycling safety accidents will still happen.
At DMA Law we have a great deal of experience in dealing with claims for injured cyclists. If you are a cyclist who has been unfortunate enough to be involved in an accident then why not call Ian on 0191 375 3938 to discuss your potential claim. Ian is happy to discuss the claim without charge and without obligation.