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MEPs approve life-saving changes to lorry designs

MEPs have voted in favour of life-saving changes to EU lorry design rules in a move that has been welcomed by cycling groups and safety campaigners.

Current EU length restrictions force lorry manufacturers to design short cab fronts with dangerous blind spots and blunt cabin fronts, increasing the risk of serious accidents with cyclists and pedestrians.

The new rules will allow these length restrictions to be relaxed in order to design safer and more aerodynamic vehicles, including through rounded cab fronts, crumple zones and improved visibility.

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 Statistics show that Lorries are disproportionately responsible for cyclist  deaths. From 2009-2013 only 5% of road users were Lorries, yet they  caused 23% of cyclist deaths.

 The Commission has now been tasked with coming up with details of the  safer design requirements by the end of 2016. They will then have to be  approved by the European Parliament and national ministers, after which  there by a 3 year delay until they come into force.

 Liberal Democrat MEP Catherine Bearder said:

 "Too many lives have been lost on our roads due to unsafe lorry designs.

 "These small changes will make an enormous difference by helping to get rid  of the dangerous blind spots that cause so many accidents with pedestrians  and cyclists.

"I will now be keeping up the pressure to ensure that these safer designs are proposed and implemented as soon as possible."

British Cycling campaigns manager Martin Key said:

"Improving HGV safety is a key aspect of British Cycling's #ChooseCycling manifesto and we welcome today's developments.

"HGVs are involved in nearly 20% of all cycling fatalities across Great Britain, but make up only 6% of road traffic. This cannot continue.

"These amendments to EU rules will demonstrably improve the safety of both pedestrians and cyclists on Britain's roads and play an important role in changing our transport habits to the benefit of us all."

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