Published: 19 March 2013
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson's cycling vision and plan to create a 'Crossrail for the bike' was welcomed overall by the Freight Transport Association today, with the announcement of improved cycling infrastructure being seen as good news by the association, which did however call on Mr Johnson not to forget the freight industry in his plans.
The association particularly welcomed the recognition of the successful work the haulage industry has already carried out with Transport for London (TfL) on cycle safety, and the potential for out-of-hours deliveries to contribute further to this.
FTA stated that it considered segregated cycle lanes to be a good idea in the capital, realising that they should result in increased safety as well as making cycling more attractive, but asked Mr Johnson not to forget freight and for the needs of businesses to be protected in the design process. In response to the Mayor’s plan, FTA highlighted the fact that London’s businesses will still need access to the road for deliveries to their shops and offices, and asked that consideration for trucks be given and included in the Mayor’s ‘Vision’ in order that they could continue to function.
Although FTA welcomed the report overall, it also voiced strong opposition to the idea of lorries being banned from particular locations in London at certain times of day. FTA believes that this could impose difficult burdens on businesses trying to operate in London and that a far better starting place would be to remove restrictions on delivering at night so that the haulage industry is able to avoid the peak hours, when historically there are more cyclists using the roads in the capital.
Mr Johnson's plan also spoke of the role of technology in improving safety in heavy goods vehicles, and although FTA agreed that technology does have a role to play in safety improvement and is currently working with TfL and other organisations in order to make the most of the possibilities, the association also cautioned that it should not be automatically assumed that more technology such as cameras or sensors would solve all safety problems with regard to cyclists on London’s roads.
Christopher Snelling, FTA Head of Urban Logistics and Regional Policy said:
"FTA welcomes the Mayor's Vision for Cycling in London, as if it gets motorists who currently drive in London to switch to bikes that would be good news for everyone, but it must be remembered that some users, including freight, have no choice but to use the roads, so enough space must be left so that traffic can still flow, and HGVs can still use the roads safely.
"We were pleased to see that the report reflects the successful work of TfL with the haulage industry and that there are plans to continue the work of encouraging out-of-hours deliveries, as FTA sees this as a key way to improve the use of London’s roads for all types of traffic."