British Cycling has condemned Department for Transport proposals to increase the speed limit for lorries, saying that they are fundamentally anti-cyclist and go against policy promises to improve safety for vulnerable road users - calling on members to approach their MPs directly to complain.
In a statement, British Cycling said:
Despite Roads Minister Stephen Hammond earlier this month having reassured British Cycling that cycling is at the heart of transport policy, the consultation and impact assessment have no mention of cycling at all.
"HGVs have got wider and longer since the current limits were introduced and traffic is denser. We believe that the potential increased danger posed to cyclists should have been clearly and specifically addressed by the Department for Transport."
Martin Gibbs, Policy & Legal Affairs Director at British Cycling, said: “If the Government is serious about putting cycling at the heart of transport policy it must look specifically at the consequences policy changes like this would have for cyclists.
"The impact assessment circulated with the consultation fails to even mention cycling.
“We know that vehicle speed is the most significant determinant of road danger for cyclists and these speed limits were established for good safety reasons.
"On a single carriageway it can be difficult for an HGV to pull round someone on a bike, particularly if there is oncoming traffic.
"HGVs have got wider and longer since the current limits were introduced and traffic is denser. We believe that the potential increased danger posed to cyclists should have been clearly and specifically addressed by the Department for Transport.”
The organisation went on to say that it would be responding to the consultation raising its concerns for cycle safety, and also called upon all its members to submit their own responses or write to their MPs expressing their concerns about the policy.
Last week we reported how The Department for Transport (DfT) hadunveiled proposals to increase the speed limit for some lorries on single carriageway roads, where it says seven in ten of them break the existing speed limit.
According to the DfT, some 70 per cent of HGVs already travel above the 40mph limit on the roads in question, which is claimed to give their operators an unfair advatage over those that adhere to the speed limit.
Proposals to increase the speed limit for lorries therefore open it up to accusations of viewing it as easier to let all lorries travel faster, rather than taking steps to ensure enforcement of the existing law. the cavalier approach most drivers appear to be taking to the existing speed limit doesn't give confidence that all would adhere to a higher speed limit either.
However, the DfT says that according to the freight industry, the proposals would help stimulate economic growth through shorter journey times, reducing congestion and fuel costs and also making the roads safer by reducing the number of collisions involving vehicles overtaking HGVs.
Sustainable transport charity Sustrans has also condemned the plans, saying that letting lorries go faster is incompatible with the government’s insistence that it is committed to improving the safety of cyclists and pedestrians.
After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.