Mineral Products Association launches policy to make 30,000 UK lorries safer for cycling

This week we're celebrating a second major lorry victory for London cycling as the UK-wide Mineral Products Association (MPA) announced an agreement to put in place significant measures to reduce the road danger caused by its lorries.

All 30,000 lorries belonging to MPA members will be given the best safety equipment, while drivers will be required to take additional training to make them aware of the danger their lorries pose to cyclists and pedestrians in urban areas.

The MPA is the trade association for manufacturers of construction industry products such as aggregates, tarmac and concrete. The association has 465 members, including 9 major corporations, and it’s estimated 5000 MPA member lorries visit Greater London regularly, with that number again making occasional trips to the capital.

LCC’s lorry expert Charlie Lloyd said, “We’re delighted at the MPA’s new code of conduct. We’ve been lobbying behind the scenes and campaigning publicly for years to encourage transport operators to agree to radical measures to reduce road danger for cyclists and pedestrians." 

Earlier this year, Transport for London announced a procurement policy designed to reduce road danger from its lorries, and it will now only agree contracts with haulage companies that have the safest lorries and drivers. 

The MPA's Vulnerable Road User Policy has three key elements:

  1. All drivers will receive special training to make them aware of the risks of collisions with vulnerable road users, and the MPA’s  training body has developed a specific course which will be CPC-approved and available shortly. 
  2. New lorries must be fitted with additional safety equipment including blind spot elimination devices, side under-run guards, class VI mirrors, audible left turn warnings for cyclists and pedestrians, and rear warning signs. 
  3. Existing industry lorries must be fitted with the same equipment within five years, with operators encouraged to accelerate implementation.

The MPA’s Vulnerable Road User Policy was launched at a special ‘changing places’ event at Hyde Park Corner on 31 October 2012 during morning rush hour.

Four lorries were parked, giving cyclists the opportunity to stop and spend time sitting in the cab of a lorry.

The launch was attended by Road Safety Minister (who’s also MP for Wimbledon), Stephen Hammond, who was very supportive of the MPA’s new policy.

Hammond had the opportunity to sit in a lorry himself to understand better the risks large vehicles can create for cyclists and how safety equipment such as Class VI mirrors can be so effective in reducing road danger.

The new head of the Met’s traffic police Chief Superintendent Scott Wilson was also present, supporting the Cycle Task Force and other officers running the changing places event and encouraging commuters to stop and have their bike security marked.

At present it's not clear whether the MPA driver training includes an on-bike component, and if it doesn't we'll be lobbying for this to upgraded at the earliest opportunity.

The time limit for MPA members to retro-fit older lorries is currently five years, although it's hoped this will happen much sooner.

Safer Lorries, Safer Cycling

Our Safer Lorries, Safer Cycling campaign aims to get all London borough councils to pledge to only use transport operators who meet the highest standards.

We're also talking to major property developers to persuade them to also support our pledge.

London Cycling Campaign is working to get a simple message out to every cyclist: "Stay away from the front-left of lorries near junctions".