Road Safety News

UK secures EU rule change to make cycling safer

Thursday 17th December 2015

A change in EU law, put forward by the UK government, will require all new lorries to be fitted with improved mirrors in order to reduce blind spots and improve the safety of cyclists.

The relationship between cyclists and lorry drivers has for some while been under close scrutiny with a number of schemes, including the Met Police’s Exchanging Places, looking to improve understanding between the two sets of road users.

The new safety standards were developed by the Department for Transport (DfT) and as a result of a vote on 16 December will be introduced across Europe. For the first time it will be mandatory for all newly registered vehicles in the UK to have the improved mirrors.

In 2014, 115 pedal cyclists were killed or seriously injured on British roads in accidents involving at least one HGV.

Andrew Jones, road safety minister, said: “Safer lorries mean safer cyclists. I am delighted the UK government has got the outcome it wanted.

“This shows we are fighting hard for Britain in Europe, delivering sensible decisions which can make a real impact back home, and giving us the best of both worlds.

“As a result of our actions, Europe will now adopt these improved standards which will save lives.”

The EU vote also saw the adoption of new safety standards for electric vehicles and improved safety and accessibility requirements on buses.

All of the new measures will come into force in July 2016.


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I think that many of the collisions where a truck has taken out a cyclist on the left are where the truck is actually overtaking the cyclist rather than a cyclist undertaking. Of course an advanced stop line with left hand entry lane for cycles can create the very situation that you have referred to. Given that trucks have very good forward visibility and the predominant danger to VRUs being where they are on the trucks left then maybe there is a case for using LHD trucks in the urban environment.
Rod King, 20's Plenty for Us

Agree (3) | Disagree (7)

Whilst I am OK with better mirrors and/or the installation of numerous 360 cameras giving 360 degree visibility my understanding, and correct me if I am wrong, is that the greatest danger a HGV poses is when turning left, or pulling to the nearside maybe due to traffic congestion. In relation to both of those situations I would imagine that some cyclists don't see the danger and proceed alongside the HGV without any concerns about the HGV turning or pulling in. They are not in a position to see the other side of the road and oncoming traffic and the possible need for the HGV driver to pull in. As I understand it, it's not the fault of the leading vehicle when such an accident happens and that whatever is behind (and to the side of) the HGV should exercise greater care and not undertake, presuming the HGV hasn't seen them. The question asked is should the cyclist for the sake of making progress put themselves in danger at the rear nearside of a HGV? I wouldn't and I would be on a motorcycle with enough nous to know the dangers. There is a saying... If in doubt stay back. Space is safer.
Bob Craven lancs...Space is Safer Campaigner.

Agree (11) | Disagree (2)

When delivering driver assessment and/or training in any class of vehicle we find that neglect of the near side mirror is noted on most occasions. Whilst this fitment is a good thing, a compulsory driving element to the CPC regime would be a benefit too.
Iain Temperton

Agree (11) | Disagree (0)

Lorries having the best mirrors possible can't be a bad thing. Fitting mirrors to bicycles is pointless - much better to turn your head to look, and no blindspots. Motorbikes do tend to have mirrors. I drive a large Motorhome - 24 feet long and the huge mirrors make it 8'4" wide - invaluable though as I have to rely on them. I have a rear view camera too.
Paul Biggs, Tamworth

Agree (11) | Disagree (0)

I think Duncan is looking for flaws just for the sake of it. Generally when we look into mirrors (not just when driving) it's usually consciously and for a reason i.e. to look at, or for, something that we can't see directly, so perceptual blindness is not really the issue. I'm sure if a lorry driver consciously turns his head to look at his nearside door mirror, it will be to see what, if anything, is there. If the driver feels the need to do this in the first place, I can't see him/her looking away until he/she is absolutely sure.

Incidentally, I noticed recently on the nearside front window of a high-sided lorry cab, the lower part of the glass was deliberately shaped/deformed to give a downward view (from the driver's seat) of what would otherwise have been invisible below the door-line.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

Agree (5) | Disagree (3)

Sorry about that Nick, back to mirrors then.

Once again a mechanical solution is seen as the answer to a perceptual problem. If the data collector (the mirror) is upgraded without a commensurate upgrade to the data processor (the human visual/perceptual system) then the nett effect will be marginal at best. The feature on this very page from the University of Cambridge gives some insight into the difficulties of perceptual processing and yet these findings seem to be completely ignored when it comes to safety interventions.
Duncan MacKillop. No surprise - No accident.

Agree (7) | Disagree (7)

We are in danger of straying off topic! This story is about mirrors on lorries - nothing to do with speeding. Can I ask pls, that we get back on track in the discussion thread - thanks for your cooperation.
Nick Rawlings, editor, Road Safety News

Agree (10) | Disagree (1)

There has been one class of motorcycle that has had it's speed restricted to 30mph for the past half century. Rather than being a shining example of the benefits of speed restriction this class of motorcycle has turned out to be just as lethal as all the others.
Duncan MacKillop. No surprise - No accident.

Agree (6) | Disagree (3)

Of course I would encourage the lorry drivers to use the mirrors as much as they like. You can't wear them out!
Gareth, Surrey

Agree (7) | Disagree (1)

If speed limiters and tachographs increase the safety of lorries, would the same increase the safety of motorcycles? Just asking!
Rod King

Agree (5) | Disagree (9)

If mirrors added to lorries will improve the safety of cyclists wouldn't mirrors added to cycles do the same thing?
Duncan MacKillop. No surprise - No accident.

Agree (6) | Disagree (21)