The European Parliament voted on two important pieces of legislation this week, lorry designs and capping card fees.
Firstly, lorry designs. It sounds dull, but it will mean quite a lot to cyclists in Britain. 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. That is why the EU is introducing a new design that has larger windscreens and shock absorbers to reduce damage on impact. This will significantly reduce blind-spots for lorry drivers, putting UK cyclists at a reduced risk of being injured or killed. The previous EU lorry designs had short cab fronts with dangerous blind spots and blunt cabin fronts, increasing the risk of serious accidents with cyclists and pedestrians.
Secondly, capping card fees. The Parliament voted to end rip-off card fees that banks charge to retailers to process card payments. The new rules, set to come into force by October, will cap the fees at 0.2% for debit cards and 0.3% for credit cards, leading to estimated savings of £480m a year for businesses in the UK. This is expected to significantly reduce the charges paid by customers for card payments. Across the EU the cap will save consumers an estimated £521m. The fees that banks charge have been up to now non-negotiable, meaning that an unfair proportion of the purchase price transacted from the consumer to the retailer goes to the banks instead. This forces retailers to raises prices as they have to charge more to make a profit.
Two bits of legislation to help keep cyclists safer and save consumers and retailers money. The EU might not be perfect, but this week it showed it is on the side of European citizens.