Transport for London puts tough 'safer lorries' conditions in all transport supplier contracts

Thanks to lobbying from the London Cycling Campaign, a measure has been introduced to improve the safety of thousands of daily bicycle journeys in the capital.

LCC's Charlie Lloyd said, "We're delighted Transport for London and the GLA have followed our advice and added tough conditions to contracts with all their transport and freight suppliers. Thanks to all our members and supporters who took action."

In 2011 over 10,000 Londoners signed our No More Lethal Lorries petition calling for the widespread adoption of lorry driver training programme to give drivers experience of riding a bike in London.

Our campaign also called for safe procurement policies to become standard for government departments.

This summer Transport for London and the GLA implemented a policy to only buy transport services from the best freight operators.

Buried in the fine print of a document called ‘Contract of Service (Generic)’, which all contractors must sign, is a paragraph that describes the definition of ‘Approved Driver Training’.

This is training programme must be completed by all the contractor’s drivers if they haven’t done it in the past three years.

The approved training should deliver the syllabus of TfL’s ‘Safe Urban Driving', which includes drivers riding a bike on London's streets.

Since the course can form part of the compulsory in-service training required by government regulations, the only additional costs are supplying bicycles for a day and a qualified trainer (a few hundred pounds).

Additionally, each driver must satisfactorily complete an e-learning ‘Work Related Road Safety’ module (or an approved equivalent safety module) at least every 12 months.

The new TfL contract conditions go quite a bit further than just training:

  • stipulating what checks have to be made on a driver’s record.
  • listing the safety features that all lorries the contractor uses must have, ranging from a full set of six safety mirrors to side-guards and close proximity cameras or sensors.
  • specifying that all operators have to join the Fleet Operators Recognition Scheme (FORS), a quality standards programme, and attain a Bronze standard level.

If any of these requirements aren't met, then TfL has the right to legal redress against the contractor, including termination.

We're delighted TfL has responded to public concern over the number of cyclist deaths involving lorries, putting in place a mechanism that means at least the lorry operators they employ will pose less of a danger to walking and cycling.

What remains to be done, and this is a significant challenge, is to make every London lorry operator meet the same, more stringent standards.

We were disappointed only five borough councils have provided on-bike training for their lorry drivers, and some of these councils only provide it sporadically.

We've written to all council leaders insisting they only use the safest hauliers, drivers and lorries.

We'll be reporting back soon which councils have taken this Safer Lorries, Safer Cycling pledge, and which ones haven't...

TfL contract conditions in detail

Ensure that all vehicles:

A. have side-guards fitted, unless it can be demonstrated to the reasonable satisfaction of TfL, that the Lorry will not perform the function, for which it was built, if side-guards were to be fitted;

B. have a close proximity warning system fitted comprising of a front-mounted, appropriate CCTV camera (or Fresnel Lens where this provides reliable alternative), a Close Proximity Sensor, an in-cab warning device (visual or audible) and an external warning device to make the road user in close proximity aware of the driver’s planned manoeuvre;

C. have a Class VI Mirror; and bear prominent signage on the rear of the vehicle to warn cyclists of the dangers of passing the vehicle on the inside.


(i) Before commencing to work on the contract each driver who works on the contract will have had a driving licence check with the DVLA and will have to have their licence rechecked on a regular basis.

(ii) All drivers are required to undertake the Approved Driver Training within 60 days of a contract start date, unless they have undertaken such Approved Driver Training in the last three years. Training that delivers the syllabus of TfL’s Safe Urban Driving, with on-cycles hazard awareness training, will be approved.

(iii) Each driver must satisfactorily complete a FORS e-learning ‘Work Related Road Safety’ module (or an approved equivalent safety module) at least every 12 months.