LCC demands action on safer lorries from Transport Minister McLoughlin
- By London Cycling Campaign on at 5:17pm 15 May 2014
- Posted in: News and blogs
- Tagged with: eu, HGV, safer lorries, McLoughlin
The death of another cyclist under a large lorry at Elephant and Castle this week has focussed attention on the possibility of getting rid of those HGVs which have restricted vision making it far harder for drivers to see the road around them, putting cyclists at risk.
London Cycling Campaign has joined other cycling and active travel organisations in writing to the Secretary of State for Transport, Patrick McLoughlin, asking for the government to change its stance on the proposed amendment to the EU directive on lorry design.
The Evening Standard reported on the opposition to the directive led by the Swedes, French and Italian European Council members in Brussels. These countries want to build in a 10 year delay for plans allowing safer lorries. Their manufacturers want "competitive neutrality" that will save costs before they have to build safer vehicles.
It is not clear why the British Government is not actively opposing this. In Britain HGVs make up 5% of road traffic but are involved in 15% of pedestrian deaths and 18% of cyclist deaths nationally. In London over 50% of cyclists' deaths involve HGVs.
Additionally a pioneering lorry cab was designed in Britain by Dennis Eagle and is already used by many councils in London for their waste collection fleets. This British built alternative already provides all the advantages of direct vision for drivers. The European Council wants to delay this type of safe vehicle becoming the norm.
William Todts of the European sustainable transport group Transport & Environment said: "That the French are trying to shield industry laggards from innovation and competition is hardly surprising. That the UK is doing nothing to stop them is indefensible, especially given the situation for London's cyclists and pedestrians. If the British Government is serious about preventing road deaths, it needs to get its act together."
Please write to Patrick McLoughlin, Secretary of State for Transport Patrick.McLoughlin.firstname.lastname@example.org demanding that he supports the proposal for amending Directive 96/53 on three counts to:
- Agree with the European Parliament not to permit further international use of mega trucks until a full European Commission report is carried out in 2016
- Agree with the European Parliament on making safety a fundamental part of the allowance of extra length to lorry cabs
- Ensure that lead-in times for the introduction of safer lorry designs are as short as possible - the ten years proposed by some Member States is unacceptable for what is essentially enabling legislation.
The full text of the letter sent by LCC and other groups can be downloaded here. The other organisations signing the letter were British Cycling, the Campaign for Better Transport, CTC, Living Streets, RoadPeace, See me Save me and Sustrans.