Freight Transport Association condemned for inaccurately blaming victims of lorry crashes

The London Cycling Campaign has expressed shock and disappointment at yesterday's statement from the Freight Transport Assocition (FTA), which inaccurately sought to apportion blame to cyclists for the deaths and injuries they suffer in collisions with lorries.

The announcement was made by on the same day that a young female was killed in collision with a lorry in South London.

LCC Chief Executive Ashok Sinha said, "This is an unfounded exercise in victim-blaming by the FTA, and our supporters are appalled they're being wrongfully criticised in this manner.

"There's clear evidence that cyclist competence and behaviour is not the chief contributory factor in the majority of deaths and injuries caused by collisions with lorries.

"It's extraordinary that someone as senior at the FTA as Policy Director Karen Dee would not be aware of the relevant statistics, or would choose to ignore them. 

"Rather than inappropriate and tasteless victim-blaming, the FTA should focus on its work with freight operators to bring the rest of the industry up to the safety standards of the best."

We don't know the circumstances of yesterday's tragic death, but whatever the causes of the crash the young cyclist did not deserve to die.

It's clear large lorries create a disproportionate level of risk for cyclists and pedestrians, and we believe it's the legal responsibility of the road freight industry to do everything practical to reduce that risk.

A Department for Transport study of injury crashes shows, for adult cyclists, police found the driver solely responsible in about 60%-75% of all cases, and riders solely at fault 17%-25% of the time.

The figures below (DfT/As Easy As Riding a Bike) show lorry drivers are more likely to have failed to look properly (30% of the time) compared with cyclists (18%).

The second figure shows the disproportionate outcomes of those collisions, with around one-third of crashes causing death or serious injury to the cyclist, but not a single one causing harm to the lorry driver.  

chart showing contributory factors in cyclist-lorry collisions


The most effective way to reduce death on our streets is to reduce danger at source which (aside from creating proper space for cycling and regulating lorry movements) means only the safest lorries and drivers should be allowed to use London's streets.

This also applies to reducing the number of pedestrian deaths caused by collisions with lorries.

All road users should have a duty of care to protect themselves and every other road user. The London Cycling Campaign has been instrumental in spreading the take-up of cyclist-awareness training for lorry drivers, and actively supports Bikeability training for cyclists (which we would like to see on the National Curriculum).

We're deeply disappointed that, having previously been supportive of creating better conditions for cycling, the FTA is now seeking to lay fault with cyclists rather than supporting measures to make sure that London adopts the highest standards for lorry safety.

Update:  LCC to meet with FTA

Following the publication of this story and comments in the Evening Standard and cycling press the London Cycling Campaign has been contacted by the Freight Transport Association . We have agreed to a high level meeting with them to revive our good working relationship.