Why has London Cycling Campaign launched the End Lorry Danger petition now?
So far in 2015 seven out of the eight cyclist fatalities in London have involved large lorries. This exceptional run of tragedies has focussed attention on the high level of danger from these vehicles, just as it did in November 2013 and in 2009. On average over half of the cyclist fatalities in London involve such vehicles.
Now, in 2015, 'Direct Vision' lorries which dramatically reduce the danger level are available and are being sold to responsible operators. This year the Mayor London's Safer Lorry Scheme finally comes into action. That gives the Mayor the opportunity to use those powers to extend the requirements, matching the latest available technology.
Why are cyclists always blaming other road users?
Every road user has a legal duty of care to prevent casualties, that includes cyclists. However the drivers of large and fast motor vehicles have to take responsibility for their far higher capacity to cause harm. In sentencing lorry driver Barry Meyer to three and a half years jail judge Daniel Worsley said that the lorry driver was "in control of a potentially highly destructive vehicle". In that situation the judge's opinion was that the driver had "a need to take special care"
When will a rush hour lorry ban come into force?
When we present the End Lorry Danger petition LCC will be asking for an immediate political commitment to implement the ban as soon as is legally possible.
Won’t a lorry ban push lorries onto the roads either side of rush hour?
In 2013, TfL set up the freight retiming consortium to look at how deliveries could be moved out of the times when London’s roads are busiest – particularly between 7am and 11am Monday to Friday. We strongly support this work and the research that’s being done into moving freight off London’s roads altogether – for example by using the river to move concrete and gravel. But we believe regulation is needed to ensure that London’s most dangerous lorries – often the ones who are less proactive about reducing danger to vulnerable road users – aren’t on our roads at the busiest times.
The Mayor of London has the power to introduce that regulation - and in addition to that, it must be down to local authorities, construction clients and fleet operators to ensure they're reducing risk to vulnerable road users. There is a full explanation of the rush hour ban in the campaign section.
We accept that a rush hour lorry ban won't completely solve the problem - and that's why we're campaigning for 'direct vision' lorries and stronger enforcement against operators who put profits before lives, as well as for safe space for cycling across London, so people don't have to share space with London's biggest and most dangerous vehicles.
Isn't there already a lorry ban?
London does have a night time lorry control scheme managed by London Councils and Transport for London. The main purpose for that ban is environmental and it has been hugely successful in keeping noise and pollution out of residential roads during the night. The permit system allows any essential deliveries to be made. At present most large delivery vehicles avoid the rush hour by sensible scheduling and are very rarely involved in rush hour collisions with cyclists.
Aren't most accidents with HGVs the fault of cyclists?
Very few of the serious casualties to cyclists involving HGVs are the cyclist's fault. That doesn't mean it is necessarily the driver's fault. In some cases the use of vehicles with restricted driver vision make it almost impossible for a driver to guarrantee safe operation. Even when one road user has been careless or acted illegally it does not mean the other person is blameless. Every road user has a legal duty of care to prevent casualties. For example after both Brian Dorling, on his bike, and a lorry went through a red light at Bow roundabout the driver was successfully prosecuted for causing death by careless driving.
Would a rush hour ban apply to direct vision lorries?
There are many good reasons for moving lorry movements out of the rush hour as well as reducing danger to other road users. If Direct Vision lorries prove as effective as we hope there would be a case to consider an exception.
Would a rush hour ban apply to lorries equipped with cameras and/or intelligent sensor systems?
There is a rapidly improving range of technologies which help mitigate the dangers from current lorry designs. None of these do or could match a "Direct Vision" cab in giving the driver the ability to see all people at risk in time to take avoiding action. We would not ask to exempt lorries with cameras or sensor systems.
Don't cyclists have a responsibility to take more care?
We believe that road danger must be reduced at source. That's why we advocate the best training for drivers and the best-equipped lorries to reduce road danger, as well as safe space for cycling that doesn't put cyclists at risk from turning traffic at junctions. It is important for cyclists know how to not put themselves at risk unnecessarily and also to know how to stay out of danger when lorry drivers put them in a dangerous position, and that's why we publicise advice on cycling near lorries.
How do you expect deliveries of goods to be made?
The frieght industry and Transport for London have already examined many ways in which deliveries could be moved out of rush hour. No transport company likes paying its drivers to sit in congested traffic.