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Labour to make HGV safety gear compulsory if elected, attacks government on road safety

Shadow transport secretary Mary Creagh addresses party's conference in Manchester...

Shadow transport secretary Mary Creagh has said that Labour will make safety equipment on lorries mandatory should it win next year’s general election to encourage more people to cycle. She also criticised the current government for scrapping road safety targets and letting HGVs travel faster on single-carriageway roads.

Speaking at the Labour Party Conference in Manchester today, she promised to deliver a “big change” in the country’s transport policy, including making roads safer and giving “London-style transport powers to other areas.”

She told delegates: “We deserve to travel safely at all times but this government scrapped Labour’s road safety targets, and increased the speed limit for heavy goods vehicles on single track roads – which will lead to more deaths.”

Those proposals, which will see the speed limit raised from 40 mph to 50mph and are aimed at giving an £11 million boost to the haulage industry, were announced by the Department for Transport in July and were roundly condemned by road safety campaigners, including Brake.

At the time, the charity’s deputy chief executive, Julie Townsend, said: "We are disappointed and concerned by this announcement.

“Put simply, when vehicles travel faster, it takes them longer to stop, increasing risk,” she added. “It is very well evidenced that increases in speed equal increases in crashes and casualties.”

During her speech today, Ms Creagh said: “Labour wants walking and cycling and public transport to be attractive options.

“Long before Lycra and bike helmets, everyone use to cycle,” she went on. “I want every child to have the chance to learn to ride a bike safely, and we want to see more people commuting to work by bike, too.

“That’s why the next Labour government will ensure that all heavy goods vehicles are fitted with safety devices to protect pedestrians and cyclists,” she added, without specifying exactly what equipment would be involved.

She also reiterated about the party’s backing for the High Speed 2 rail project, saying it “will transform our country” but warned that costs needed to be kept under control.

As well as improving the capacity of the railways to take freight traffic off the roads, it is also planned for a cycle track to run alongside HS2, the initial phase of which will run from London to Birmingham.

At the party’s 2013 conference in Brighton last September, Ms Eagle, who left her post in a reshuffle the following month, promised the party would set targets to grow the level of cycling in Britain, as well as bringing back road safety targets and other initiatives including separated cycle routes and redesigned junctions.

 

Ms Creagh said in November last year that Labour’s 2015 manifesto would prioritise improved and safer infrastructure for cyclists.

Earlier in 2013, Labour had said it would adopt the bulk of the recommendations of the Get Britain Cycling report from the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group if it came back into power.

At a breakfast meeting yesterday addressed by British Cycling policy advisor Chris Boardman and CTC president Jon Snow, Ms Creagh reaffirmed the party's commitment to the report, although it has yet to pledge to meet the £10 per head per year spend on cycling that it calls for.

Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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Accessibility f... | 9 years ago
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I'm sure everyone's pleased to know that with Labour's help, your single-digit-aged children will be safe as the lorry passes 2 feet from their offside, because the lorry has "extra safety equipment".

Ridiculous.

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Username | 9 years ago
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Buzzers on trucks ain't going to make my six-year-old's cycle to school any safer.

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oozaveared | 9 years ago
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it's a non promise promise. New lorries will have it anyway and new HGVs driven by the better drivers working for the better companies aren't generally the problem. It's the 15 - 20 year old skip and tipper lorries having the last few quid squeezed out of them by pikey operators with the dregs drivers on payment by delivery terms that are the problem.

She's dishonest and she thinks we're stupid.

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cycling_on_a_sh... | 9 years ago
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A year after http://www.cyclingweekly.co.uk/news/latest-news/lib-dems-adopt-get-brita... we're still waiting for the other 2 parties to step up

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cycling_on_a_sh... | 9 years ago
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bikebot - the Lib Dems have already committed to the get britain cycling report recommendations - last year, unfortunately Labour & Tories are still dragging their feet and not talking about any real commitment to investing in infrastructure or changing any laws - just tinkering with HGV rules, which is totally feeble.

Mary Creagh talked a lot of good talk last year, but has totally failed to make any promises about actually fixing our poor and missing infrastructure, abysmal design guidelines, etc - really very disappointing indeed.

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oozaveared replied to cycling_on_a_shoestring | 9 years ago
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cycling_on_a_shoestring wrote:

bikebot - the Lib Dems have already committed to the get britain cycling report recommendations - last year, unfortunately Labour & Tories are still dragging their feet and not talking about any real commitment to investing in infrastructure or changing any laws - just tinkering with HGV rules, which is totally feeble.

The Lib Dems can promise anything they want because they know they won't be in government with a majority. Even in government as a coalition means they have a get out jail card on any promise they make as per tuition fees.

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Stumps | 9 years ago
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They dont have to set a budget as it will be upto the manufacturers / haulage companies to make sure they are fitted. Its simple enough to add into the current con and use laws for vehicles.

It might be hot air but its a hell of a lot more than the current buffoons have offered. Mind you they are hunting for the London votes with the upgrade of the superhighway thingy announced by bumbling boris.

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qwerky | 9 years ago
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Just hot air with nothing substantial behind it. If we had details such as budgets, specific plans and timescales then it would be more believable.

I think there is such little difference between the parties that a strong commitment (and one that I actually believed) to sort road safety out might actually get my vote.

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bikebot | 9 years ago
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Until one of the parties makes a commitment to spend the £10 per year per head, the election will just be a choice over which promises will be broken.

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Initialised | 9 years ago
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If she can back that up with some examples and a timetable for making all new vehicles get collision avoidance tech, BTW it'd be good for jobs too, I might just vote for them.

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