The Government has dismissed a call for better safety standards for LGV (large goods vehicles) drivers in relation to cyclists.
More than 4,000 people signed the petition on the 10 Downing St website to 'reduce to zero' the number of cyclists killed by LGVs.
The petitioner, Joanne Clegg, called for a two-part safety standard that would be in addition to the LGV licence. Drivers would have to have extra safety awareness training and their vehicles must be suitable for city centres. If they satisfied both, they would be given a permit to enter ciuty centres during rush-hour periods.
"These measures," wrote Ms Clegg, "can be rooted in bigger government strategies - combating obesity, congestion, global warming - while supporting and encourage cycling. The petition aims to make clear that “share the road” has failed to address the fundamental issue that sharing is not possible when the LGV drivers do not always see the cyclist. Implementing these measures could make the UK one of the most cycle friendly countries in the world.”
The Government was blunt in its dismissal of the petition, saying that such additional measures would be expensive to operate and difficult to enforce.
In a statement on the website, it said: "We believe a better way to help all road users to share road space safely is to raise skill levels. The Driver Certificate of Professional Competence, which we introduced in September for professional lorry drivers, will help them maintain and develop their driving skills.
"Lorry drivers now have to take extra tests on top of a LGV licence to get a Driver CPC. They then have to take 35 hours of approved periodic training every five years to retain the CPC and continue to drive professionally. There is no evidence to suggest that a LGV safety certificate would make lorry drivers more aware of cyclists.
"There is a number of questions in the LGV driving theory test (the test a person takes to acquire a LGV licence, whether they need a CPC or not) which tackle specifically the issue of large vehicles sharing the road with cyclists, particularly at junctions. The Driving Standards Agency’s publication Driving Goods Vehicles, one of the main test source materials, also refers to cyclists in a number of sections."
Ms Clegg pointed out the eight people had been killed in London in 2009 as a result of collisions with LGVs. One of these was 24-year-old student Maria Fernandez, whose story was posted today on road.cc.