The streets of our inner-cities are particularly dangerous because the footfall is high and so is the number of vehicles. This is compounded by the fact that lorries and HGVs are in and out of busy areas with deliveries for businesses and on their general routes. The Prime Minister is said to have spoken to official at the Department for Transport recently and asked them to look into whether some sort of lorry ban could be feasible. This came after a meeting he had with the All Party Parliamentary Group of Cycling, which comprises a number of MPs concerned about cyclists and general safety on our roads.
As well as the possibility of a ban the Department for Transport have also been asked to look in more depth at staggered light phasing schemes at junctions, specific design improvements for trade vehicles in the construction industry and even changes to the underlying infrastructure and design of the roads. The Chair of the Health Select Committee, Sarah Wollaston, has commented there is a case for restricting lorries based on the past history of casualties in inner-city roads. Wollaston also said that ‘six out of seven deaths in London have been women killed by construction lorries at junctions.’ She highlighted how it’s important to ensure worries about safety isn’t deterring cyclists, especially women, and there is lots that can be done to make the roads less risky.
HGVs are considered one of the most dangerous road vehicles for cyclists because they have a larger number of blind spots than the average vehicle so drivers can struggle to see clearly. There have been a disproportionate number of cyclist fatalities involving HGVs, with figures between 2008 and 2012 suggesting HGVs were involved in 53% of London cyclist fatalities.
Mayor of London Boris Johnson rejected the idea of a rush-hour lorry ban in 2013 because he believed it would only lead to casualties being pushed outside the set restriction hours but other major European cities including Paris and Dublin have this type of restrictive measure in place, as it acts as a safety measures.
Safer Lorries, Safer Roads
Transport for London has spoken on the issue too and state that they have worked with the industries who use HGVs to make them safer and reduce blind spots and soon there will be a Safer Lorry Scheme in place across the city to ban lorries which don’t meet specific safety requirements. The All Party Parliamentary Group on Cycling will be meeting with the Transport Secretary to discuss the issue in more depth and there is hope that changes will be made and there will be a halt to the protests that have come after a series of high profile deaths of cyclists in London.
The issue of HGVs and cyclists has been a long standing problem on our roads and if more protective measures are put in place, we should see the number of fatalities and casualties fall and our roads may begin to feel even safer.