London mayor Boris Johnson’s plans to force the retrofitting of larger windows in HGV cab near-side doors have been attacked as a step too far that risks further damaging the image of road transport.

Speaking to MT after the mayor revealed the initiative at the launch of the Safer Lorry Scheme earlier this month, Ray Engley, head of technical services at the RHA, questioned the practicality and benefit of mandating retrofitting panels in cab doors.

“The jury is out on that one. We’d be happy to work with TfL on a solution if there is one,” he said, adding that the industry had demonstrated its commitment to addressing the issue and that demonising haulage was not the answer.

“The RHA’s point of view remains that both sides need to play their part. Cyclists need to be taught to make eye contact with HGV drivers and not to put themselves in a dangerous position.”

Bob Dempsey, operations manager south at Wilson James, said retrofitting windows would be a major cost. “When is it going to stop? We’ve already spent about £40,000 on safety equipment and training for our 10 trucks.”

Dempsey oversees the London Construction Consolidation Centre (LCCC), which has Fors gold.

He said, like many, the LCCC had gone above and beyond minimum safety requirements, fitting camera systems, side radar and audible turn alarms to its vehicles.

“Standard sideguards are more than sufficient for most HGVs [as mandated by the Safer Lorry Scheme],” said Dempsey, adding that tippers, volumetric mixers and some refuse trucks were the primary source of collisions, not trucks in general.

Safer Lorry Scheme: side windows a pane to come for operators?