Operators working in the capital will face greater Vosa enforcement and potentially greater regulation in a bid to improve cycling safety in London, the government has announced.

Transport minister Stephen Hammond and London mayor Boris Johnson revealed today [4 September] that they will be establishing a dedicated HGV Task Force to raise awareness of safety requirements for vehicles and drivers and to take action against “dangerous operators” and their fleets.

As part of the plans, they will also be urging the EU and manufacturers to speed up the requirement to improve the design of LGVs to increase drivers’ visibility of vulnerable road users.

The DfT also plans a shake-up of current exemption laws, which allow certain types of LGVs, notably some construction vehicles, to avoid mandatory fitting of relevant safety equipment, such as sidebars and low skirts that help stop cyclists being dragged under a vehicle in a collision.

Hammond said: “The government is committed to improving the safety of cyclists and other vulnerable road users. Today’s announcement of a dedicated Industrial HGV Task Force will target the small minority of operators who are unaware of, or just wilfully non-compliant with, safety regulations for HGVs and their drivers.

“I have also committed to review vehicle regulations to ensure there are no unjustified exemptions from safety standards and, together with the mayor, will press the EU to improve vehicle safety designs as soon as possible.”

The mayor will also ask Londoners for their views on whether he should use his powers to levy a substantial "safer lorry charge" on any LGV that is not fitted with basic safety equipment to protect cyclists.

Transport for London will consult on this proposal, partly modelled on the capital’s Low Emission Zone scheme, before taking any decisions.

In July the Roads Task Force called for freight deliveries to be moved outside of peak time to protect the capital's cyclists.