Tens of thousands of lorries could be banned from London under plans to make the capital's roads safer for cyclists. The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan wants to introduce a rating system from zero to five stars for heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) based on the level of vision the driver has from the cab.

An estimated 35,000 zero star-rated HGVs which operate in the capital would be banned by January 2020 if Khan's proposals are implemented.

Only those lorries with a rating of at least three stars would be allowed on London's roads by 2024.

Khan said such "bold action" was needed to improve safety for cyclists and pedestrians but the Road Haulage Association (RHA) accused the mayor of "demonising lorries".

Nine cyclists and 66 pedestrians were killed in the capital last year, according to Transport for London (TfL).

The mayor's office said that over the past two years HGVs were involved in 23% of pedestrian fatalities and 58% of cyclist deaths in London, despite accounting for just 4% of the miles driven in the city.

TfL and the wider Greater London Authority said they will "lead by example" by ensuring all HGVs used in their supply chains have good all-round visibility from the driver's cab.

Khan said the scheme is the first of its kind in the world and would result in many lorries being upgraded before the ban comes into place.

He said: "I'm not prepared to stand by and let dangerous lorries continue to cause further heartbreak and tragedy on London's roads.

"The evidence is clear – HGVs have been directly involved in over half of cycling fatalities over the last two years, and we must take bold action to make our roads safer for both cyclists and pedestrians.

"I'm determined to ensure the most dangerous zero star-rated lorries are removed from our roads completely by 2020."

lorries cyclist
A cyclist passes truck drivers on Westminster Bridge in London Getty

But the RHA's chief executive Richard Burnett said that the "imposition of unnecessary rules on haulage firms is unfair".

He said: "Demonising lorries, which keep the economy and shops going, is unfair. Lorries, including construction vehicles, play a vital part in the economic life of London. Without them the capital's businesses would grind to a standstill.

"We want to bring balance to the argument. We're not convinced these measures are the solution. Improved visibility isn't going to sort the problem alone."

The London Cycling Campaign (LCC) described a TfL statistic that 18% of the lorries on London streets were zero star-rated as "grim". The organisation welcomed the steps to cut the number of unsafe lorries on the road.

LCC senior policy and development officer Tom Bogdanowicz said: "Pedestrians, cyclists and drivers and operators of HGVs all stand to gain if modern designs with minimal blind spots become the norm for on-street use – no-one wants fatalities and life-changing injuries to continue to happen."