Safer Lorries, Safer Cycling: Lord Mayor lends her support
The Lord Mayor of Westminster lent her support to the Safer Lorries, Safer Cycling campaign by attending an ‘Exchanging Places’ event in Regent's Park in April.
The purpose of the session was to enable cyclists to sit in the cab of a lorry and see for themselves the points where cyclists disappeared from the driver's direct sight. They were also able to have their bikes checked over and adjusted by Dr Bike and obtain cycling information.
The Lord Mayor of Westminster, Cllr Angela Harvey, exchanges places with a lorry driver.
The event took place in the same week as the death in Westminster of cyclist Katharine Giles under the wheels of a lorry at the junction of Palace Street with Victoria Street.
Another cyclist about to exchange places with a lorry driver. The vehicle conforms to the FORS gold level.
This event was part of a multiple attack by cyclists and authorities on the danger of lorries to cyclists. The campaign involves not only the equipment fitted to lorries but also educating drivers and cyclists on ways to avoid collision.
The London Cycling Campaign has been running a campaign urging authorities to pledge to fit their lorries with suitable warning devices and mirrors and to give their drivers appropriate training. This campaign is showing signs of success. In his recent Vision for Cycling in London, the Mayor of London stated that ‘No lorry should be allowed in London unless it is fitted with safety equipment to protect cyclists, and driven by someone fully trained in cycle awareness.’ Transport for London (TfL) has already developed a programme to provide clear standards for vehicles and drivers – the Fleet Operator Recognition Scheme (FORS). It has already put thousands of lorry drivers on bikes for practical on-street training.
The response from London boroughs has varied. Very often their only chance to improve standards is when contracts come up for renewal.
For its part, Westminster has told cyclists that it is committed to improving road safety on Westminster's roads for all road users and that the pledge and the conditions set out by LCC are something that it is eager to work towards in conjunction with its contractors where possible. Some of the existing contractors already meet the majority of these requirements, but where they fall short, the council will be working with them to see how improvements can be made and supporting them in this process. The council is also looking at how these conditions might be incorporated into new contracts as they come up for renewal.
The ‘Exchanging Places’ session in Regent's Park was run and supported by the Metropolitan Police Service, Westminster Cycling Campaign, CTC, City of Westminster, London Borough of Camden and the Royal Parks.
Details of the London Cycling Campaign's Safer Lorries, Safer Cycling pledge can be found at http://lcc.org.uk/pages/safer-lorries-pledge