Freight Transport Association: Banning HGVs during peak hours is not the answer to cyclist deaths

Supplies to the city will be affected, and streets will be deluged with HGVs around the hours of the ban, says spokesman

by Sarah Barth   November 23, 2013  

HGV skip lorry cordoned off at the scene of a cyclist s death.jpg

A ban on HGVs in cities during peak hours is not the answer when it comes to protecting cyclists, the Freight Transport Association has said.

Although the organisation concedes that more needs to be done to improve cycling safety, it says that the idea, already in place in cities like Paris and Dublin, is unworkable, and would affect commerce and supply in towns and cities.

Christopher Snelling, FTA’s Head of Urban Logistics Policy said: “FTA believes that the idea of banning HGVs from a city like London in peak hours is naive and not commercially viable. “It would mean massive economic implications for the shops, businesses and residents of the capital.

“It would also create new safety issues as one lorry is replaced by about 8 – not to mention the increased congestion and air pollution that would result.

“Paris only restricts the largest trucks, above about 28 tonnes gross weight. Very few trucks of this size operate on London’s roads because there is already a long-standing ban on articulated vehicles in the central area.”

He added that the ban would just lead to a deluge effect of lorries just before and after the hours of the ban, and said that the supply of fresh and baked goods to cities would be affected at exactly the time shops and bakeries would need them, and more crucially medical and hospitality supplies would be affected too.

He said: “Paris also exempts a long list of vehicles, including all construction traffic – the vehicles that are most represented in recent cycling fatalities. The Dublin scheme is not a ban at all, as any vehicle of any size can move about and deliver or collect anything anywhere at any time, as long as they pay a €10 fee.”

“It is too simplistic to cite Paris and Dublin as examples of where HGV bans work as in practice very few vehicles are denied access to the city centres that need to be there.

“The reality is that the city authorities recognise that goods deliveries are essential to the efficient functioning of the city and permit them round-the-clock access.”

The Mayor of London Boris Johnson told BBC London 94.9 he was not convinced by the argument for a peak hours ban this week, but admitted there needed to be a "much bigger conversation about HGVs".

He said imposing a peak-time ban risked damaging London companies and creating a "serious influx as soon as the ban is over", and added that he was "by no means satisfied" the idea was the solution, although he said “we are not dismissing any suggestion."

But Chris Boardman, British Cycling's policy adviser, is pushing for the idea to be tested.

In an open letter to the mayor he said he would be breaking a promise not to look at ways of banning HGVs.

He said: "When I rode alongside you to help you launch your vision for cycling in March this year, you made a verbal promise to look at the successful experiences of Paris and many other cities in restricting the movements of heavy vehicles during peak hours.

"London has an opportunity to emulate and surpass Paris and to lead the way for the other ambitious cycling cities across Britain.

"Let's not waste this opportunity to do something now."

The FTA is now lobbying against the idea, with Snelling saying that other avenues should be explored first.

He said: “One death is too many and we must all do more to improve safety – cyclists, public authorities, public transport and HGV drivers and operators included.

“But banning HGVs is a simplistic response with massive economic and transport impacts and an un-quantified safety case. Any measures taken should be intelligent, targeted and evidence based if we are to improve safety whilst allowing our cities to function.”

49 user comments

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You know what...bans tend to be imposed as a last resort when people are blatantly taking the p*ss!

If you don't want the cost and inconvenience of a peak hours ban then you'd better start taking some pretty drastic action to make your members safer.

Here are a few suggestions:

Ban pay per load and all other payment or incentive schemes that may encourage risk taking.

Introduce an industry 'driver kitemark' for HGV drivers which' can be removed for drivers who's standard of driving is shown to be below par (removing reliance on an already overstretched criminal justice system). This could also be backed with a industry complaints ombudsman system which could help flag up problem drivers or companies.

Where technology is found to be effective insist your members fit it to all new purchased vehicles and retrofit or phase out older vehicles within a reasonable period of time.

etc etc etc...I could go on. You are a trade association - you don't need to wait for legislation you can do this stuff NOW!

And I bet if you got it right it would more than pay for itself with reduced insurance premiums - not to mention competitive advantage when tendering for new business....

Stop the race to the bottom and take some s*dding responsibility!

(Apologies but this article got me quite cross At Wits End
... so the soapbox got pulled out and dusted off! Wink

posted by lakeland bimbler [15 posts]
23rd November 2013 - 18:30

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Don't bakeries need flour and other ingredients delivered?

posted by Colin Peyresourde [977 posts]
23rd November 2013 - 19:58

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GoingRoundInCycles wrote:
I think that the cycling lobby needs to be very careful with this issue. If we successfully make the case that HGVs and bicycles cannot co-exist safely at peak times then there is only one credible option: ban bicycles from the roads at peak times.

Cyclists have other options. We can switch to walking, public transport, motorcycles, scooters or even the wretched car if we have to. What are Tescos going to do? Replace one artic with how many vans, creating more pollution and congestion.

Our society has evolved to be completely dependent on motorised transportation. From my viewpoint as I type, I cannot think of a single object in this house that would be here without some form of motorised transportation being involved, nothing in the fridge, not even my bicycle.

Without a total revolution in the way that we live (and that sort of transformation takes years of planning and implementation) like it or not, the HGV is much more essential to the way our life than the bicycle.

Unless we want to end up with the same status as rollerskaters and skateboarders when it comes to rights to use the road, we should accept reality and concentrate on practical measures such as better education, segregated lanes / routes instead of dreaming of a pie-in-the-sky motorless utopia, 'cause it ain't going to happen.

I didn't want to mention it but I agree with you; once the impossibility of a peak hour lorry ban becomes obvious, then it's possible that a peak hours bike ban (for certain routes) will be considered. As you say, it's not as if cyclists have to cycle on the busiest roads, and that will be the main thrust of the argument. I don't want cyclists to be banned, because it could be the thin end of the wedge, but the more vociferous the "clamour" for an hgv ban becomes, the more likely a "politically expedient" solution may be found.

No government is going to risk any hint of a supply problem in the capital. Human nature being what it is, you'll have panic buying and, as we all know, there are thousands of Londoners just waiting for an opportunity to start looting again, now they know that the police only have limited resources to cope with an organised campaign. The top brass know they must ultimately keep the trucks rolling at any cost.

"Hey..... Let's be visible out there."

Neil753's picture

posted by Neil753 [420 posts]
23rd November 2013 - 20:02

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Colin Peyresourde wrote:
Don't bakeries need flour and other ingredients delivered?

Yes, but not every day in an HGV.

posted by pjay [220 posts]
23rd November 2013 - 20:09

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Neil753 wrote:
As an hgv driver, I sometimes think the Freight Transport Association are their own worst enemy, but in this case they are right.

.

"As an hgv driver" & "but in this case they are right"

First comment explains a lot and they are not right.

posted by northstar [937 posts]
23rd November 2013 - 20:17

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In this case I believe Neil is right.

Let's imagine they ban heavies from 7-9 and 4-6, where will they park up? Lorry parks will have to be created on the outside of the exclusion zone which by the time you add the extra travel involved will effectively stretch the exclusion time even further.

What you will be left with is more heavies per hour trying to squeeze into London at the allowed times.

or

If you ban the biggest vehicle there is every chance you will need 2/3/4 smaller vehicles to transport the same amount of goods, is that a preferable situation?

posted by thebungle [115 posts]
23rd November 2013 - 20:34

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pjay wrote:
Colin Peyresourde wrote:
Don't bakeries need flour and other ingredients delivered?

Yes, but not every day in an HGV.

Well are you saying sandwiches are the problem then? I'm being a bit obtuse. But where does it start and stop? I would like fresh bakeries too. But are you picking on them? How many bakery trucks were involved in accidents? Should you lobby particular industries for their non-essential use of lorries/HGVs. Seems a bit simplistic. But maybe I'm wrong.

posted by Colin Peyresourde [977 posts]
23rd November 2013 - 20:59

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northstar wrote:
Neil753 wrote:
As an hgv driver, I sometimes think the Freight Transport Association are their own worst enemy, but in this case they are right.

.

"As an hgv driver" & "but in this case they are right"

First comment explains a lot and they are not right.

I'm not. But I agree with him. Is that OK?

posted by Colin Peyresourde [977 posts]
23rd November 2013 - 21:04

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thebungle wrote:
If you ban the biggest vehicle there is every chance you will need 2/3/4 smaller vehicles to transport the same amount of goods, is that a preferable situation?

A standard artic trailer will carry 26 ISO pallets (they're the really large ones) or 45 roll cages (they're the huge cages you sometimes see at night in supermarkets).
A standard transit van will carry two ISO pallets.
A modern 7.5t box van might have a typical payload of 5t, so you might need five or six of these to replace one artic, potentially.

Also note that unloading multiple vans would take a lot longer, particularly if they had to be unloaded by hand, rather than straight out with a forklift. And while one van was being unloaded, the progress of the other vans "on route" might have to be very carefully orchestrated.

"Hey..... Let's be visible out there."

Neil753's picture

posted by Neil753 [420 posts]
23rd November 2013 - 21:56

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Colin Peyresourde wrote:
pjay wrote:
Colin Peyresourde wrote:
Don't bakeries need flour and other ingredients delivered?

Yes, but not every day in an HGV.

Well are you saying sandwiches are the problem then? I'm being a bit obtuse. But where does it start and stop? I would like fresh bakeries too. But are you picking on them? How many bakery trucks were involved in accidents? Should you lobby particular industries for their non-essential use of lorries/HGVs. Seems a bit simplistic. But maybe I'm wrong.

I'm just saying that if the restriction of 'baked' goods deliveries (to supermarkets? Gregg's?) is the best argument the FTA can come up with they are not making a very strong argument. We could learn a lot from Paris and, perhaps, in the process improve the quality of life for everyone in London:

https://buffalobillbikeblog.wordpress.com/2013/09/12/one-year-on-a-post-...

posted by pjay [220 posts]
23rd November 2013 - 22:00

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I thought large rigid vehicles were the real problem and articulated vehicles a lesser danger to some degree?

posted by Topcat [15 posts]
23rd November 2013 - 23:50

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The FTA is right? Oh, pull the other one.

Will the ban really result on a deluge and 8 times the number of trucks on the road? Reeaally?

The maths makes no sense whatsoever. Trucks delivering goods outside peak hour will be in less traffic so it will actually be more efficient.

posted by Gordy748 [29 posts]
24th November 2013 - 1:26

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Meh, they're putting up a strawman in the hope that nothing will get done. Stupid thing is they will probably be successful.

Addressing the road safety issues - specifically in London, also around the rest of the UK - requires changing the overall road structure and environment. Legislative, physical and behavioural. The implications and possibilities of that are far more worrying to the FTA than this easily knocked down strawman.

Gilligan, whose stance of "no panic changes", should be hanging up his cycling shoes in shame. While he's head down in the sand up to his waist, someone please do the honours and take them off him. Sadly, Johnson - various transgressions listed on this site and elsewhere - couldn't be more offensive if he turned up in a clown suit in the middle of a funeral of a dead cyclist and jumped up and down on the coffin. With leadership like this, London's cyclists are if not totally screwed, are at least subject to some very unwelcome frottage.

posted by Argos74 [209 posts]
24th November 2013 - 6:49

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Colin Peyresourde wrote:
northstar wrote:
Neil753 wrote:
As an hgv driver, I sometimes think the Freight Transport Association are their own worst enemy, but in this case they are right.

.

"As an hgv driver" & "but in this case they are right"

First comment explains a lot and they are not right.

I'm not. But I agree with him. Is that OK?

Why wouldn't it be? think what you like even though you are wrong.

So much victim blaming going on here, it's laughable.

posted by northstar [937 posts]
24th November 2013 - 8:54

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Neil753 wrote:
With typically six mirrors and three windscreens to monitor already, it must be appreciated that any mirror or screen (or indeed cameras) that are not being looked at at any given moment, are, in effect, blindspots, in addition to the physical blindspots around the lorry.

Too many things to look at can be a retrograde step once a lorry is moving. You can assess your own limitions by seeing how many TVs you can competently (and I do mean competently) watch simultaneously, next time you're in an electrical showroom.


Surely you only have to monitor the one(s) relevant to the manoeuvre you're making though? Are you actually suggesting that it's preferable for an HGV driver just to leave it down to chance that there's nothing in their blindspot rather than giving them the capability to monitor it?

If a vehicle has that many blindspots that it's impossible to safely monitor them then is that vehicle fit to be on the road?

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posted by thegibdog [62 posts]
24th November 2013 - 10:02

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The mirror system is perfectly adequate 99.9% of the time, it's only when people choose to go into the 'danger' zone that it becomes a problem.

Let's walk through the process.

1. Turning approaching to the left.

2. Check mirrors, all clear.

3. Signal intention to turn left.

4. Check mirrors again, specifically RH mirror as the lorry will have to 'flare' out.

5. Keep an eye on front of of truck and from mirror in order that you make it round the turn without knocking over bollards etc.

6. Keep an eye on LH mirrors in case of clipping traffic lights etc.

At no point should a cyclist/scooterisr/runnerist be going anywhere near the turning bus or lorry.

I think one solution would be to segregate vulnerable traffic from the likes of buses/heavies.

posted by thebungle [115 posts]
24th November 2013 - 13:06

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But if lorries already stick to certain, manageable, routes - why do I sometimes see HGVs on narrow side roads? What are they doing there - are they lost? A few months ago there was a huge HGV parked up a side street near me, half on the pavement and too close to the junction. Blocking both the pavement and the side-road (and facing the wrong way as well).

Surely there are measures that can be taken to restrict where these things can go, short of an outright ban?

For example, last summer there was an incident where (I heard afterwards) a cyclist lost a leg after being crushed by a left-turning lorry on the approach to Tower Bridge. I heard comments that what happens there is that lorries drive towards the bridge then only realise at the last moment that they are too heavy for it - leading to them having to turn off at an awkward junction. Why does this sort of thing happen? Should they not know well beforehand where to cross the river?

In general should not the drivers of such large vehicles know in advance precisely what route they need to take?

Also, I can only say again its those smallish builders trucks that seem to be most prone to overtake and cut in front of me at ludicrous speed (rattling and clanking away as they do so), rather than the full-sized supermarket delivery vehicles.

posted by FluffyKittenofT... [505 posts]
24th November 2013 - 17:54

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thegibdog wrote:
Neil753 wrote:
With typically six mirrors and three windscreens to monitor already, it must be appreciated that any mirror or screen (or indeed cameras) that are not being looked at at any given moment, are, in effect, blindspots, in addition to the physical blindspots around the lorry.

Too many things to look at can be a retrograde step once a lorry is moving. You can assess your own limitions by seeing how many TVs you can competently (and I do mean competently) watch simultaneously, next time you're in an electrical showroom.


Surely you only have to monitor the one(s) relevant to the manoeuvre you're making though? Are you actually suggesting that it's preferable for an HGV driver just to leave it down to chance that there's nothing in their blindspot rather than giving them the capability to monitor it?

If a vehicle has that many blindspots that it's impossible to safely monitor them then is that vehicle fit to be on the road?

No, I'm certainly not suggesting that drivers "leave it down to chance".

I'm merely pointing out to cyclists that there is no guarantee that the hgv driver is specifically watching them, given the (often considerable) number of other cyclists, pedestrians and drivers, many of whom are moving, often at speed, and sometimes when it is dark or raining, all around the lorry.

Regardless of the competence of either the hgv driver or the cyclist, whether one party or the other is breaking the law, whatever the whys and wherefores of the situation, it is absolutely essential for cyclists to be crystal clear about this fundamental point: mirrors on a truck are an aid to, but not a guarantee of, safety.

"Hey..... Let's be visible out there."

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posted by Neil753 [420 posts]
24th November 2013 - 23:18

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So can someone explain to me why lorries can't be retro-fitted with doors here the lower panel is glazed?

This used to be quite common and then disappeared again. It would seem to be a fairly simple extra precaution and I doubt a new door costs that much in the scheme of things.

posted by alexb [35 posts]
25th November 2013 - 12:25

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IanW1968 wrote:
I would also like to see the incentives and performance management of commercial drivers regulated.

We know that the aggressive management techniques encourages people to take risks, its tightly regulated in financial services for instance, because money is important right?

So why is it not regulated when the risk is life?

This is a key point actually. There are a lot of heavy vehicles on London's roads. Why is it that tipper trucks in particular are involved in so many cycling fatalities?

OldRidgeback

posted by OldRidgeback [1944 posts]
25th November 2013 - 12:31

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OldRidgeback wrote:
IanW1968 wrote:
I would also like to see the incentives and performance management of commercial drivers regulated.

We know that the aggressive management techniques encourages people to take risks, its tightly regulated in financial services for instance, because money is important right?

So why is it not regulated when the risk is life?

This is a key point actually. There are a lot of heavy vehicles on London's roads. Why is it that tipper trucks in particular are involved in so many cycling fatalities?

Because, imo, many tripper drivers, for whatever reason, tend to be in a bit of a rush.

"Hey..... Let's be visible out there."

Neil753's picture

posted by Neil753 [420 posts]
25th November 2013 - 13:36

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OldRidgeback wrote:

This is a key point actually. There are a lot of heavy vehicles on London's roads. Why is it that tipper trucks in particular are involved in so many cycling fatalities?

a lot of it is down to the fact that tippers are uniquely well designed to kill vulnerable road users. they have very bad visibility from the cab, the per-axle weight is very high and there's no barrier along the side of the truck, or in front of the rear wheels. plus most of the drivers are on piece work which is an incentive to drive quickly.

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posted by Dave Atkinson [7039 posts]
25th November 2013 - 13:37

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Part of the problem is that the FTA seems to have forgotten that included in their membership are the Rail Freight Group, and the Commercial Boat Owners Association. Members of both these parts of FTA are already removing '00's of trucks of the streets of London, and could do much more if FTA took off their own blinkers. The insensitive response with a clear bias to their road haulage activity earlier this year was a seriously bad move, considering that, with rail and river they could do a substantial amount to reduce the number of trucks moving around in London

You might also see you own eyes and ask just how many 44T tractor-semi-trailer rigs you actually see on London's streets at any time during the working day - you could probably count them on your fingers on a typical ride across London. No need for great puff from Bojo or Boardman. You'll even see this as far North as Luton, as the big trucks vanish from the traffic mix from around 06.30 onwards until around 10.00 on the motorway - at £300,000+ a pop for a big rig plus a premium rate to get a good quality Class E driver, it is just not economically sensible to have these trucks stuck averaging less than 20 Kph when they should be maximising their productivity at 80Kph on the motorway. Look around you won't see that many artics or drawbar trailers operating in London

Even when the bulk loads are reconsolidated in to shop sized drops, economics plays its part and few deliveries require trucks bigger than the 7.5T, indeed some analyses suggest that around 30% of shop deliveries could be made by cargo cycles, and small electric vans, such as already being proved by Gnewt, Outspoken and others, making thousands of drops per day faster and cheaper than possible by large and less flexible motor vehicles.

The problem is construction traffic and how the industries involved, and the planners/government are prepared to deal with the issues of moving materials to and from the construction sites, which by definition present sporadic and random levels of traffic as the development progresses. It is not uncommon to have a fleet of tippers moving material on or off site at the rate of 3,000-4,000 Tons per day.

A combination of various economic factors and regulatory lassitude, acting almost in a catch 22 self defeating swirl means tha tr 'currency' for construction site transport is the 32T 4 axle rigid truck. This is the heaviest rigid truck permitted - at nominally 8 Tons/axle with a payload of around 20 Tons. Because of its design and easily imbalanced axle loadings a DfT study fund it to be the most damaging vehicle on our roads - a 44T articulated tipper carries 50% more payload, does less damage and costs less to operate. However the initial costs and the wider availability of class C drivers, to supply the spasmodic surges of demand (good Class E drivers, and good class C ones, tend to move to cleaner regular work driving for retail and logistics).

Many construction firms don't have a huge fleet of their own trucks either, and small sub contractors operate in livery. For buses the law requires the name and registered address of the operator to appear in a very specific place and style, so that they are readily identified, but the facility is not required for trucks - and it is rare to see the truck owner and operator identified in any reports on a crash, the focus is on the driver, rather than the operator who provided that driver with the means to kill or maim.

One big retailer who "Tries Harder" does manage their own fleet and are reported as being acutely sensitive to any possibility of a driver or vehicle getting them the slightest tarnishing of their operator's licence, and incurring a loss of good repute which can mean fines and a reduction in the number of trucks they can operate. At the opposite end of the spectrum are those who appear regularly before the Traffic Commissioners and in their Notices and Proceedings, for all the wrong reasons.

So what are we to do which makes practical sense. Well for a start we should look at the impact that developments requiring massive excavations and towering piles vying for excess in design and presence on the skyline. For the Shard 30 trucks each with 3 drivers for round the clock shift working ran round the clock for nearly 3 days. That's a huge increase in exposure for the risk of those vehicles colliding with other road users. On another site 3000Tons per day was travelling from Camden to Pitsea to be tipped - a 64 mile round trip which needed around 50 trucks per day running for just over 3 months to move the material being dug out. All this with an aggregates unloading siding and railway lines less than 0.5Km away.

It can be done - a few enlightened contractors are doing this but the FTA shot themselves in the foot by failing to showcase this - up to 10,000 Tons - 500 tipper/skip trucks is now going on London's waterways every day. That is potentially 1000 fewer trips being made and 1000 fewer opportunities for a truck to hit a pedestrian or cyclist. This can happen even more if there are places to load the barges and trains and that requires a high level freight strategy - so what did Boris do in his first term - shut down TfL's Freight Unit - the very people who need to plan and probably manage wharves and railheads, available for each project to use. Fortunately the 2012 Olympics showed that we actually needed a TfL Freight Unit but it gets pitiful support.

Walbrook Wharf is the only river freight loading facility in the City of London - and it can only be used at high tide - handles 500T barges with container gantry crane loading.

There is ONE example AFAIK in the UK of a 26T tipper with a full height glazed twin leaf n/s door that shows a vehicle with minimal blind spots can be built. Now if GLA made low cabs compulsory on all trucks operating in Central London, in same way they have done for emissions....

47 years of breaking bikes and still they offer me a 10 year frame warranty!

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posted by A V Lowe [433 posts]
26th November 2013 - 1:15

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The other factor is that construction sites require a continuous removal of waste material and supply of stuff like concrete (a perishable load). so those trucks will be running all day - most retailers avoid central London deliveries during the working day as far as possible, and account for a relatively small percentage of the vehicle movements. Typically a big construction site may be generating 150-200 trips per day just to remove the waste material to the tip, and because the tip is 30-35 miles out from London they rack up huge levels of exposure to the risk of collision, as well as a huge footprint of road damage, pollution etc.

Because the phases of a construction project are transient, demand for trucks and drivers is transient and the trucks are rigid, maximum permitted weight and the biggest that can be driven on Class C licence. It will be apparent from the driving records of some of the drivers involved in fatal crashes that the quality of drivers on this work is dangerously variable as well.

47 years of breaking bikes and still they offer me a 10 year frame warranty!

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posted by A V Lowe [433 posts]
26th November 2013 - 1:26

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Replace HGVs with cargo bikes. OK, that's a lot of cargo bikes so they'd run around the clock. Sorted... more delivery drivers (on bikes) will sort out unemployment in the capitol and boost the economy. What's left of the NHS will benefit from the overall health boost. Congestion? More folk would ride with such large numbers of cyclists present of the street. Pollution? A thing of the past.

spaceyjase for mayor? Well, if you insist.

posted by spaceyjase [48 posts]
26th November 2013 - 20:29

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A V Lowe wrote:
The other factor is that construction sites require a continuous removal of waste material and supply of stuff like concrete (a perishable load). so those trucks will be running all day - most retailers avoid central London deliveries during the working day as far as possible, and account for a relatively small percentage of the vehicle movements. Typically a big construction site may be generating 150-200 trips per day just to remove the waste material to the tip, and because the tip is 30-35 miles out from London they rack up huge levels of exposure to the risk of collision, as well as a huge footprint of road damage, pollution etc.

Because the phases of a construction project are transient, demand for trucks and drivers is transient and the trucks are rigid, maximum permitted weight and the biggest that can be driven on Class C licence. It will be apparent from the driving records of some of the drivers involved in fatal crashes that the quality of drivers on this work is dangerously variable as well.

A tipper truck, of the type often involved in fatalities in London, can be 32 tonnes when fully loaded, which some cyclists might find a little surprising. Alas, often with this type of work, the more you haul the more you earn which, in my opinion as an hgv driver, is the reason why so many tragedies involve this type of hgv.

"Hey..... Let's be visible out there."

Neil753's picture

posted by Neil753 [420 posts]
26th November 2013 - 21:15

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A V Lowe wrote:
Part of the problem is that the FTA seems to have forgotten that included in their membership are the Rail Freight Group, and the Commercial Boat Owners Association. Members of both these parts of FTA are already removing '00's of trucks of the streets of London, and could do much more if FTA took off their own blinkers. The insensitive response with a clear bias to their road haulage activity earlier this year was a seriously bad move, considering that, with rail and river they could do a substantial amount to reduce the number of trucks moving around in London

You might also see you own eyes and ask just how many 44T tractor-semi-trailer rigs you actually see on London's streets at any time during the working day - you could probably count them on your fingers on a typical ride across London. No need for great puff from Bojo or Boardman. You'll even see this as far North as Luton, as the big trucks vanish from the traffic mix from around 06.30 onwards until around 10.00 on the motorway - at £300,000+ a pop for a big rig plus a premium rate to get a good quality Class E driver, it is just not economically sensible to have these trucks stuck averaging less than 20 Kph when they should be maximising their productivity at 80Kph on the motorway. Look around you won't see that many artics or drawbar trailers operating in London

Even when the bulk loads are reconsolidated in to shop sized drops, economics plays its part and few deliveries require trucks bigger than the 7.5T, indeed some analyses suggest that around 30% of shop deliveries could be made by cargo cycles, and small electric vans, such as already being proved by Gnewt, Outspoken and others, making thousands of drops per day faster and cheaper than possible by large and less flexible motor vehicles.

The problem is construction traffic and how the industries involved, and the planners/government are prepared to deal with the issues of moving materials to and from the construction sites, which by definition present sporadic and random levels of traffic as the development progresses. It is not uncommon to have a fleet of tippers moving material on or off site at the rate of 3,000-4,000 Tons per day.

A combination of various economic factors and regulatory lassitude, acting almost in a catch 22 self defeating swirl means tha tr 'currency' for construction site transport is the 32T 4 axle rigid truck. This is the heaviest rigid truck permitted - at nominally 8 Tons/axle with a payload of around 20 Tons. Because of its design and easily imbalanced axle loadings a DfT study fund it to be the most damaging vehicle on our roads - a 44T articulated tipper carries 50% more payload, does less damage and costs less to operate. However the initial costs and the wider availability of class C drivers, to supply the spasmodic surges of demand (good Class E drivers, and good class C ones, tend to move to cleaner regular work driving for retail and logistics).

Many construction firms don't have a huge fleet of their own trucks either, and small sub contractors operate in livery. For buses the law requires the name and registered address of the operator to appear in a very specific place and style, so that they are readily identified, but the facility is not required for trucks - and it is rare to see the truck owner and operator identified in any reports on a crash, the focus is on the driver, rather than the operator who provided that driver with the means to kill or maim.

One big retailer who "Tries Harder" does manage their own fleet and are reported as being acutely sensitive to any possibility of a driver or vehicle getting them the slightest tarnishing of their operator's licence, and incurring a loss of good repute which can mean fines and a reduction in the number of trucks they can operate. At the opposite end of the spectrum are those who appear regularly before the Traffic Commissioners and in their Notices and Proceedings, for all the wrong reasons.

So what are we to do which makes practical sense. Well for a start we should look at the impact that developments requiring massive excavations and towering piles vying for excess in design and presence on the skyline. For the Shard 30 trucks each with 3 drivers for round the clock shift working ran round the clock for nearly 3 days. That's a huge increase in exposure for the risk of those vehicles colliding with other road users. On another site 3000Tons per day was travelling from Camden to Pitsea to be tipped - a 64 mile round trip which needed around 50 trucks per day running for just over 3 months to move the material being dug out. All this with an aggregates unloading siding and railway lines less than 0.5Km away.

It can be done - a few enlightened contractors are doing this but the FTA shot themselves in the foot by failing to showcase this - up to 10,000 Tons - 500 tipper/skip trucks is now going on London's waterways every day. That is potentially 1000 fewer trips being made and 1000 fewer opportunities for a truck to hit a pedestrian or cyclist. This can happen even more if there are places to load the barges and trains and that requires a high level freight strategy - so what did Boris do in his first term - shut down TfL's Freight Unit - the very people who need to plan and probably manage wharves and railheads, available for each project to use. Fortunately the 2012 Olympics showed that we actually needed a TfL Freight Unit but it gets pitiful support.

Walbrook Wharf is the only river freight loading facility in the City of London - and it can only be used at high tide - handles 500T barges with container gantry crane loading.

There is ONE example AFAIK in the UK of a 26T tipper with a full height glazed twin leaf n/s door that shows a vehicle with minimal blind spots can be built. Now if GLA made low cabs compulsory on all trucks operating in Central London, in same way they have done for emissions....

A very good post.

The only thing I'd dispute is the number of artics in London.

In my opinion, there are many more than people think. I suspect that a high level of professionalism amongst artic drivers helps to ensure that they are noticed less often.

"Hey..... Let's be visible out there."

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posted by Neil753 [420 posts]
26th November 2013 - 21:25

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As for this load of twaddle?

Smaller delivery vans for fresh goods, if indeed the perishible goods need to be delivered between 7 & 9am.

As delivery vans are refridgerated and baked goods last longer than 2 hours I cannot for the life of me understand the FTA's point. Totally bogus scaremongering, as per usual.

Restricting HGV's during the busiest hours has got to be sensible move.

The fact that many supermarkets, (Sainsbury Local, Tesco Metro, M&S Foods) are now in our town and city centres they often need deliveries from the main high street . They do this before rush hour, usually before 630am.

In my town no high street supermarket deliveries are made throughout the day because of parking restrictions. So restricting between rush hour will not affect perishible good deliveries anywhere near as badly as the FTA makes out.

posted by BigBear63 [59 posts]
26th November 2013 - 23:48

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If one driver can't monitor the blind spots properly, that seems an excellent argument to suggest that the vehicle is too dangerous to be driven on public roads, and certainly on crowded city streets. It's not just cyclists that are being killed - actually far more pedestrians are being killed by lorries in London than cyclists.

But given that a lorry isn't allowed to move on a building site without a dedicated banksman - just enforce a rule that every lorry in London had a co driver responsible for checking the blindspots.

Oh, and given how many lorries turn out to be unsafe when they're being stopped - maybe the met should focus on making sure that lorries even meet the existing rules, instead of hassling cyclists.

posted by kraut [23 posts]
4th December 2013 - 17:35

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kraut wrote:
just enforce a rule that every lorry in London had a co driver responsible for checking the blindspots.
Maybe you're right, and some trucks are indeed double manned.

If I had a co driver, as you suggest, I'd get him (or her) to jump out, and physically prevent the silly tw*ts from squeezing up the inside of my artic when I'm clearly indicating to turn left, bless em.

Alas, I suspect that most people wouldn't want to pay even more for everything they buy, to pay for a phalanx of co drivers, but we can but dream.

I agree that too many trucks are being driven with defects. It's a particular problem, currently, but we're working hard to resolve this issue within our industry.

"Hey..... Let's be visible out there."

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posted by Neil753 [420 posts]
4th December 2013 - 18:12

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