A rush hour ban for heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) may not be the answer to improving cyclist safety, a Parliamentary Transport Committee heard yesterday.

London’s Cycling Commissioner Andrew Gilligan, along with a transport, academic, London Assembly Member and freight industry representatives, said enforcement of “very very high levels of non-compliance” and stricter standards for lorries in London would do more to improve safety.

Other suggestions were better cyclist training and improved road design, including segregated cycle tracks.

Gilligan, said: “It’s finely balanced: an HGV ban in rush hour could have saved two of the 14 cyclists who have died and the other 12 didn’t involve HGVs or happened outside rush hour.

“However, there are counter risks, firstly that it would lead to a flood of HGVs onto the streets immediately after the ban, say 9am.”

He also refuted the argument that the Paris rush hour lorry ban has saved lives. He said: “In the four years before it came in (in 2006) there were nine cyclist deaths in Paris, and in the four years after there were 18 cyclist deaths.”

Meanwhile, freight representatives said a lorry ban could increase the cost of living for Londoners.
Jack Semple, of the Road Haulage Association, said: “A peak hour ban would add a minimum of 25-30% to haulage costs in London. It is far from clear as to whether there would be a benefit in terms of road safety outcomes.”

Val Shawcross, Chair of Labour’s Transport Committee and member of the London Assembly, said: “The first thing is that [HGVs] should all comply with the FORS [Fleet Operator Recognition] scheme. I’m not sure that [the lorry ban] is a well researched proposal, cyclists do under the wheels of HGV at all times of day. At congested times traffic is very slow and speed is implicated with serious injuries.”

Andrew Gilligan said: “In our recent police operation in London and in our first operations which were a sort of try-out, which took place in Vauxhall a few weeks ago, we’ve seen really striking levels of non-compliance with HGVs. The majority of lorries at Vauxhall failed to comply with one regulation or another, not necessarily safety critical regulations but there’s very very high numbers of non-compliance so it may be that enforcement is something we need to do.”

The Mayor’s construction industry standard will be launched next week. At present some construction lorries are exempt from certain mirrors and side bars, which prevent a person being dragged under the vehicle in a collision, and the suggestion is to heavily charge those vehicles entering the city.

Jerry Mclaughlin, Director of Economics for the Mineral Products Association, said there are operators cutting corners. “We welcome the increased and targeted enforcement effort that has been going on over the past couple of months,” he said.

Mike Cavenett of the London Cycling Campaign, said the charity supports a rush hour ban but there is a risk this could mean lifting current restrictions on night time lorry movements, which could affect people’s sleep and therefore health. He said: “Most cycle commuters are doing normal commutes to normal jobs. Peak hours for cycling are between 8-10am. If you only allow lorries on the streets when there’s fewer cyclists on the roads it would make cycling and walking to work safer but it must not be a trade off for quality of life at other times of day.”

The second session of the Transport Committee will be held tomorrow, where “cycling minister” Robert Goodwill, among others, will give evidence.

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  • Ken Evans

    Try a ban and see !

  • terry

    Lopekal- get back in your box, I’ve been cycling since the 1950’s and I had proper training beforehand- no headphones, no riding up the inside of traffic. etc.
    Furthermore, I’ll comment whenever I see fit and will not be bullied into keeping quiet.

  • Lopekal

    @terry: the fact you came out with complete and utter guff shows you have absolutely no understand, nor comprehension of the current situation in London (and other UK cities) with regard to cyclist and pedestrian safety. I would therefore advise that you cease and desist from entering any further opinion.

    Gilligan constantly claims to be on the side of cyclists and pedestrians, yet continually berates advocacy groups and says they ask too much, or make demands that are far too out of scope. He is nothing but a shill for Johnson and got the job specifically because of his favourable coverage for him during his mayoral campaign.

    Gilligan is no-ones friend except Johnsons and is an impotent, ignorant fool. He is clueless about how to make Londons roads accessible to its most vulnerable users and is too stuck with the TfL/Johnson mantra of “Nothing must affect traffic flow”, despite pedestrians and cyclists being killed daily, the city slowly choking to death with pollution related deaths at around 4000 a year, and increasing.

    A ban on HGVs during rush hour woud not lead to a flood of them on the roads at 9am, just as the current restrictions in place (which are 30 years old) are based on noise, cause there to be a massive flood of lorries at 7am when the night time ban is lifted.

    When this country gets the cycling infrastructure it deserves, it will not be because of Johnson or Gilligan. Their names will go down in history as blithering idiots who stood in the way from it being achieved.

  • Anon

    The HGV ban isn’t the answer. The majority of the large vehicles going through London are subject to a massive amount of on-site legislation from the Health & Safety Executive. However, none of this is applied when going through normal public streets, where realistically the dangers are greater.

    The building site, outside Victoria Station has MASSIVE vehicles going to it daily. When they arrive on-site, the road is temporarily closed, they are met by approximately 10 hi-vis people, who usher the vehicle onto the site. Added to this, all work in the area is stopped whilst the vehicle is in motion, and there are a number of people just to supervise the whole process.

    Yet before it reaches the site, the MASSIVE vehicle is ploughing through central London, a massively congested, unplanned sprawling metropolis with millions of pedestrians, cyclists and other vehicles. The MASSIVE vehicle is driven by somebody with one eye on a sat-nav, as they have no idea where they’re going, they’ve very limited visibility, most likely they’re also drinking a cup if coffee, trying to talk on their mobile phone, glancing at some pornography and thinking about where the nearest prostitutes are. It’s not particularly an ideal situation all round.

    MASSIVE vehicles are treated as dangerous in the workplace and are covered in legislation as a result. The answer to the problem is to use the same legislation for the vehicle the whole time, not just when it’s on-site.

  • terry

    How about cyclists taking responsibility for their own safety ie- no headphones and no riding up the inside of lorries/traffic- simples !!!!