London mayor announces plans to tackle lorry/cyclist fatalities

HGVs are not going to be banned from city centre during morning rush hour

Transport for London and city mayor Boris Johnson have announced five measures designed to stop cyclists being killed in lorry accidents in the UK capital. But a tactic that many experts have said would be highly effective – banning HGVs from city streets during rush hour – has not been included.

The measures are:

  • Establishment of an industrial HGV task force to take direct action against dangerous HGV drivers, vehicles and operators
  • A review of exemptions to current HGV regulations
  • A call for the EU to speed up a review on the safe lorry design 
  • Gathering evidence to investigate how driver training could change
  • A consultation asking Londoners if they would support a substantial Safer Lorry Charge on any HGV not fitted with basic safety equipment

According to British Cycling, HGVs were involved in 53 percent of cycling fatalities in London in 2011, despite making up only four percent of traffic. Dublin and Paris already have laws banning HGVs during rush hour.

The Safer Lorry Charge – likened to the London Low Emission Zone – could mean that lorries lacking safety equipment, such as side bars, could face stiff daily penalties. The plan would likely hit construction and tipper lorries hardest, as they are exempt from mandatory bars.   

Dr Katharine Giles was killed by a construction lorry in Victoria as she cycled to work in April

Mike Cavenett, spokesman for the London Cycling Campaign, told BikeRadar, “We welcome the consultation on a Safer Lorry Charge zone, and I think if it’s implemented properly it’s a really good idea.

“There is a huge conflict between lorries rushing to get to their sites on time and people commuting and walking to work. That is something we would like to see, but we recognise that it’s not going to be easy to get to that.”

After announcing the plans, London mayor Boris Johnson said: “I have long been worried that a large number of cyclist deaths involve a relatively small number of problem lorries that are not fitted with safety equipment. In my cycling vision, in March, I said that no lorry should be allowed in London unless it is fitted with equipment to protect cyclists. After a lot of work behind the scenes, we have today taken the first steps to make this a reality.”

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