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Sadiq Khan's HGV plan is too ambitious by far

There is an issue around road safety that we as HGV operators and cyclists have a joint responsibility to tackle together.

Direct vision is the future for all cabs and something manufacturers are tackling head on. It takes in excess of 11 seconds for a driver to scan all their mirrors and monitors – a lot can happen in that time with London’s roads as busy as they are.

There is no replacement for being able to make direct eye contact with cyclists, pedestrians and other vulnerable road users.

Through innovations such as transparent floor-to-ceiling near-side doors like we have on the Econic, we’re making a huge improvement to overall road safety and I’d like to see manufacturers embrace this challenge on a wider scale.

Mirrors and cameras – while they have helped drivers for years on a basic level – are now outdated.

Uneven approach

Direct vision needs to be a minimum standard and manufacturers can evolve from there, in order to help drivers and keep vulnerable road users safer.

“Mr Khan perceives the logistics industry as low-hanging fruit and a quick feather in his cap”

But London mayor Sadiq Khan’s proposed plan for an HGV rating system from 0 to 5 stars by 2020 is far too ambitious. Only lorries with a rating of three stars would be allowed on London’s roads by 2024.

Ultimately, the impact this will have is that larger companies that can afford to upgrade their fleets at the drop of a hat will win all the work and ultimately push the independent firm out of the running.

The best way to avoid an accident is for cyclists, pedestrians and HGV drivers to respect one another’s presence on the road and try to make direct eye contact where possible. At traffic lights and junctions in particular, slow down and look around you.

I also implore cyclists to limit headphones to one ear so they can hear the HGVs and their audible warnings when reversing and turning.

Mr Khan perceives the logistics industry as low-hanging fruit and a quick feather in his cap.

Manufacturers and Transport for London have worked tirelessly over the last six years, which is evident from the reduction in collisions we are now seeing.

Our industry will also continue to work hard to address these issues, but we need Mr Khan to recognise these changes cannot happen overnight.

Jacqueline O’Donovan is managing director of O’Donovan Waste Disposal

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