Is banning lorries in the city the way forward?

Published: 23 July 2015

Is banning lorries in the city the way forward?
Banning lorries from using inner city roads during peak hours is not the best solution if the Government want to improve road safety for cyclists according to the FTA.
David Cameron has asked the DfT to review whether some kind of lorry ban in the city during peak time would be feasible after concerns were expressed over safety by MPs from the All Parlimentary Group for Cycling.
The Government are looking at restricting lorries in inner city regions in the hope it will improve road safety for cyclists and pedestrians.
The DfT have also be asked to review other measures to improve road safety such as staggered traffic light phasing at junctions, design improvements for construction vehicles and changes to road design.
Sarah Wollaston MP from the Health Select Committee feels there is a strong case for restricting lorries based on past casualties.
She said: ‘’Six out of seven deaths in London have been women killed by construction lorries at junctions. It’s so important that women are not deterred from cycling on safety grounds and there is far more that can be done to reduce the risks.’’
HGVs are dangerous for people on bikes due to their design which has a number of blind spots that make it very difficult for the drivers to have total visibility around the cab. This will hopefully change when new safer lorry designs come in to affect but the EU put back plans to allow these safer designs from 2017 back to 2022.
Between 2008 and 2012 HGVs were involved in 53% of cyclist deaths in London.
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, has previously looked at imposing a ‘rush hour’ ban for lorries in London in 2013 but he rejected the proposal.
Ben Bradshaw, Labour MP, said that the Prime Minister has been receptive to ideas put forward by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Cycling.
He said: “Our major cities have a lamentable record both for levels of cycling and for cycle safety compared to those of our European neighbours, and it would take very little public investment to make a big improvement in the climate for cycling, following our meeting today, we will be meeting with the Transport Secretary to discuss the issues in more detail.”
The sudden push by MPs comes as a result of several high profile deaths of cyclists in London. Mass protests have been made to draw attention to the issue.
How has the road haulage industry reacted to the idea of a ban of lorries in inner city areas?
The FTA’s head of urban logistics, Christopher Snelling, feels that a ban on lorries would not be the best way forward for improving road safety for cyclist.
He said: “Even a medium-sized lorry would have to be replaced with ten vans – which means overall safety would not be improved, let alone the emissions and congestion consequences. It has to be remembered that we don’t choose to deliver at peak times on a whim – our customers need goods at the start of the working day.”
Snelling believes there are several other measures that would be more effective in improving road safety on city roads, these include:
• Increased targeted enforcement against HGVs and drivers that do not comply with safety regulations in key areas such as London

• Improved road infrastructure, such as road surfaces and junctions

• Tipper vehicle operators to commit and work to the Construction Logistics and Cyclist Safety (CLOCS) standard

• Incentives from Government to make lorries with better visibility more available and commercially viable

• Allowing deliveries operators to work outside the peak, such as easing night-time restrictions like the London Lorry Control Scheme (that ends at 7am each morning)

• Progressive improvement of safety standards for vehicle equipment from DfT, in line with what is possible for industry
He continued “All road users have a role to play in improving road safety,” said Snelling. Better awareness, training and behaviour is needed on all sides to make our roads as safe as they can be. Things can improve. The number of HGVs involved in fatalities in the UK has halved in the last 12 years, which shows the success of the progressive approach to improving safety.”
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