LONDON, Sept 1 (Reuters) - London has banned lorries that do not have safety features designed to protect cyclists from driving in the city after a series of fatal accidents in which riders were dragged under the wheels of heavy goods vehicles.
Under new rules that came into force on Tuesday, lorries weighing over 3.5 tonnes must be fitted with sideguards to stop cyclists from being pulled under the wheels and with additional mirrors to make riders and pedestrians more visible to drivers.
Lorries found driving in the streets of London without these features will face a fine of up to 1,000 pounds ($1,535) per breach of the ban and repeat offenders could be referred to licensing authorities.
Seven out of the eight cyclist deaths recorded in London this year involved lorries, according to the city's Transport for London authority.
"A very disproportionate share of cyclist deaths and serious injuries are caused by lorries, and today's scheme will undoubtedly save lives," said Mayor Boris Johnson in a statement.
"We have, from this morning, begun vigorous enforcement action."
London has sought to encourage more residents to cycle in recent years with the introduction of designated "cycle superhighways" and a rent-a-bike scheme, partly as a way to reduce overcrowding on public transport.
Despite several awareness campaigns urging cyclists to ride safely, there have been dozens of cyclist deaths in the last few years.
Transport for London said it now aimed to also ensure all lorries had larger windows to reduce blindspots, where drivers are often unable to see cyclists as they pass alongside their vehicles.
Paris and Dublin have both restricted HGVs in their city centres during peak hours to reduce accidents involving cyclists. ($1 = 0.6517 pounds) (Reporting By Costas Pitas; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)