Andrew Smith MP and Labour’s lead MEP candidate in the South East, Annaliese Dodds, outline the importance of tomorrow’s vote in the European Parliament on lorries and cycle safety.
The European Commission is reviewing the weights and dimensions law to require some new lorries to have a safer and more aerodynamic design. Streamlining the lorry front is expected to cut fuel consumption by 3-5% and solve safety problems with blind spots.
Tomorrow the European Parliament will debate Labour Party amendments to extend these safety and environmental requirements to all lorries, not just some as the Commission propose. But, this Coalition Government opposes these amendments to make lorries safer and greener.
Along with London Mayor Boris Johnson, 130 plus European cities including Amsterdam, Madrid, and Copenhagen, Olympic cycling gold medallist Chris Boardman and road accident victims, we back Labour MEP Brian Simpson’s calls to require all lorries to have larger side windows and a lower front windscreen in order to protect pedestrians and reduce lorry crash impacts.
We call on the Coalition Government to drop its opposition, not least because their reason—the desire to avoid ‘additional bureaucracy for Britain’—seems narrowly ideological and ignores the fact that our roads killed fourteen cyclists in London last year, nine in accidents involving HGVs.
Lorry drivers cause a disproportionately large number of cyclist deaths because they cannot clearly see other road users from their cabins. This Coalition Government should support lorry drivers and other road users, not bend before the will of road haulage companies.