FTA rejects calls to restrict movement of lorries in cities as minister confirms proposal being studied

Trade body generally positive on Get Britain Cycling report, but doesn't want lorry ban at peak times

by Simon_MacMichael   April 25, 2013  

London Concrete lorry and bikes (copyright Simon MacMichael)

Road safety minister Stephen Hammond has said that he and Transport for London (TfL) Commissioner Sir Peter Hendy are establishing a working group to consider restrictions on the movement of lorries in cities – but the Freight Transport Association (FTA) says that such are measures are “impractical.”

Hammond was speaking yesterday at the launch of the Get Britain Cycling report at the House of Commons, just a few hundred yards from where Dr Katharine Giles was killed by a left-turning lorry as she rode to work during a Monday morning rush hour earlier this month.

Reflecting on her death, and those of other cyclists killed by lorries, the minister told an audience including MPs and members of the House of Lords, “this cannot continue.”

One of the recommendations of the Get Britain Cycling report is to "Improve HGV safety by vehicle design, driver training, and mutual awareness with cyclists; promote rail freight and limit use of HGVs on the busiest urban streets at the busiest times, and use public sector projects to drive fleet improvements."

However, the FTA, while welcoming the report in general and saying that it supports efforts to increase levels of cycling – something it acknowledges would get cars off the road, thus making it easier for goods vehicles to get around – has rejected the idea that restrictions should be placed on lorries at busy times.

"Aside from all the health benefits, cycling is an efficient use of road space,” said Christopher Snelling, FTA's Head of Urban Logistics Policy. “If more car journeys were done by bike that would free up more space for those who have no alternative, such as freight."

Turning to the issue of potentially restricting times when lorries can operate, which organisations including British Cycling and the London Cycling Campaign called for in the wake of Dr Giles’s death, he insisted: "These routes are busy for a reason – they are the economic lifeblood of our urban areas.

“To prevent lorries using them would add to the difficulty and cost of running shops, offices and other businesses in our towns and cities.

“Just because a route is busy does not automatically mean it is dangerous. It is strange to be talking about introducing restrictions when it is public regulations that currently prevent lorries making deliveries at night, forcing deliveries into the first part of the day just when the most cyclists are on the road.

“If these deliveries don’t happen when customers need them, businesses will close and cities will suffer."

The FTA maintains that factors such as redesigning junctions and greater investment in cycling infrastructure, plus permitting lorries to make deliveries at night, are where efforts must be focused to improve safety.

"The key factor in improving safety on our roads is about road user behaviour,” Snelling continued. ”Drivers and cyclists both have their part to play and the recommendations in the report for more training and better awareness on both sides are supported.

“The industry looks forward to continuing its work with cyclists to make our roads safer places for everyone," he concluded.

Within London, where lorries make up around 5 per cent of traffic but are involved in half of cyclist deaths, LCC has been urging residents of the capital to contact their local councils to ensure they sign up to its Safer Lorries, Safer Cycling pledge.

 

11 user comments

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posted by mad_scot_rider [538 posts]
25th April 2013 - 13:59

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"has rejected the idea that restrictions should be placed on lorries at busy times." - tough, it's the main solution.

posted by northstar [1086 posts]
25th April 2013 - 14:28

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How about telling the haulage companies to stay out of cities until their lorries are safe?

We should be getting as many lorries off the road as possible and improving the rail haulage option.

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posted by nowasps [245 posts]
25th April 2013 - 17:19

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It just sounds like political posturing to me to try and get something in return - they'll accept it if they can do night deliveries instead (which I suspect they'd prefer anyway).

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posted by CraigS [135 posts]
25th April 2013 - 18:11

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I'm just as concerned that someone has left their Roberts unattended chained to a railing. That won't last long - would never do that to mine.

posted by Hillsy [6 posts]
25th April 2013 - 19:33

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As a cycling trucker, yes I spelt that correctly, I peruse TruckNet UK. Their comments are split between being more than happy to drive to a hub outside major cities to drop their loads, and thinking cycles should be banned from city centres due to the poor standard of cycling shown, you know running red lights, cycling in the middle of the road, and their favourite, riding up the inside of trucks turning left. Of course it never occurs to most that the cyclists get there first and the trucks aren't indicating but that's normal.

posted by Fatbagman [18 posts]
25th April 2013 - 20:57

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Hillsy wrote:
I'm just as concerned that someone has left their Roberts unattended chained to a railing. That won't last long - would never do that to mine.

And it's not even in the big ring!Is there some sort of bike version of nspcc we can report this to?

posted by gw [44 posts]
25th April 2013 - 21:08

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gw wrote:
Hillsy wrote:
I'm just as concerned that someone has left their Roberts unattended chained to a railing. That won't last long - would never do that to mine.

And it's not even in the big ring!Is there some sort of bike version of nspcc we can report this to?

Big Grin

If I could have, say, 6 bikes, would it stop me drooling over others that I don't have?

posted by notfastenough [2959 posts]
25th April 2013 - 22:31

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Fatbagman wrote:
.... poor standard of cycling shown, you know running red lights, cycling in the middle of the road, and their favourite, riding up the inside of trucks turning left....

Ironically, cycling down the middle of the road is probably the best thing you can do to avoid being run over by a lorry, and far from being poor cycling, it is the officially recommended behaviour.

http://www.dft.gov.uk/bikeability/wp-content/uploads/National_Standard_f...

http://www.britishcycling.org.uk/cycletraining/article/ct20110110-cyclet...

Please will you ask your lorry driver colleagues to fire up google and search for "primary position".

posted by qwerky [130 posts]
26th April 2013 - 9:50

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Have a look at what the Crown Estate has done, with a logistics centre on the edge of London and grouped deliveries within set times. That's the way forward.

Every time I see a van driver open the back, there's only two or three parcels in there. That's not an efficient delivery system!

posted by drmatthewhardy [299 posts]
27th April 2013 - 12:38

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This idea of limiting the use of HGVs to certain times of day really doesn't go far enough. In my view the largest of HGVs should not be allowed into town and city centres unless they are carrying a load that cannot possibly be transported using smaller vehicles (large steels for building for example). Articulated lorries just don't belong in town, in the same way as bicycles don't belong on the Motorway. In the short term we should be utilising smaller commercial vehicles with the longer term goal of moving towards more sustainable options such as pedal powered vehicles.

posted by Matt eaton [309 posts]
29th April 2013 - 11:58

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