What are we calling for?

In 2015, eight cyclists have been killed on London’s roads. Seven of those fatalities have involved a lorry. The most recent cyclist to be killed was 26 year old Ying Tao, who was crushed under a lorry at Bank junction on 22 June. Collisions with heavy goods vehicles are the single biggest cause of cyclist deaths, and most of these involve construction vehicles.

From 1 September the Mayor’s Safer Lorry scheme will come into force. But while a step in the right direction it does not go far enough. Yes, it will require all lorries to have basic safety equipment (which in fact most lorries on London’s roads already do). However cyclists will still be expected to share space with large vehicles with big blind spots. 

We’re calling for urgent action in three areas.

A rush hour lorry ban

 

A rush hour lorry ban

40% of cycling fatalities involving lorries occur in the morning rush hour. A ban on all lorries over 7.5 tonnes between 8am and 9.30am would prevent the majority of people who cycle to work from having to share space with lorries.

Construction traffic creates the biggest risk to cyclists. Some cities such as Paris and Dublin have restrictions on large lorries at particular times, though these bans do not cover the size of lorry typically involved in cyclist injuries. Any rush hour ban in London, where 28% of the UK's development is currently taking place, must not exempt construction traffic. 

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Improved driver vision

 

'Direct Vision' lorries

One of the key reasons for the danger presented by lorries is the restricted vision that most current designs offer drivers. This makes safe working very difficult even for careful drivers. In around 80% of cycling fatalities involving lorries, the cyclist was initially hit when in the area to the front left of the vehicle. It is difficult for the driver to see what is in this area from a conventional lorry. From a ‘direct vision’ lorry, this area would be clearly visible.

It is also relatively straightforward and inexpensive to retrofit lorry cabs with glass doors, these increase the likelihood of a driver seeing cyclists before turning. Yet the Safer Lorry scheme contains no requirements for freight operators to use lorries with improved direct vision - merely safety mirrors which do not solve the problem of the 'lorry blind spot'.

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Stronger enforcement

 

Stronger enforcement

London needs much stronger enforcement against operators who put profits before lives by allowing unlicensed, untrained lorry drivers, or unsafe vehicles, to operate on our roads. In its first month of enforcement the City of London Police Commercial Vehicle Unit found that, 95 of the suspect 136 lorries they stopped had to be taken off the road for non-compliance or safety reasons, including lack of insurance, driving without the appropriate licence, with an unsafe load, or not accurately recording driver hours.

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As a charity we rely on the funds raised from member subscriptions and donations from individuals like you who share our vision of making London the best cycling city in the world. If you share our concerns about reducing the danger from large lorries in London, please help by making a donation.

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