Freight Transport Association (FTA) has said today that more must be done, including from the logistics industry, to improve the safety of cyclists on our streets. However, FTA does not believe that banning HGVs from peak hours is the answer.
FTA has claimed that the idea is unachievable and fails to recognise the essential role commercial vehicles play in supplying and servicing towns and cities.
Christopher Snelling, FTA’s Head of Urban Logistics Policy commented:
"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."
Several politicians and cycling campaign groups have advocated the banning of lorries from London in the rush hour, citing Paris and Dublin as precedents. . But FTA has discovered that the Paris ban exempts nearly all the types of trucks currently on London’s roads and the supposed Dublin ban is avoidable upon payment of a toll.
Christopher Snelling, added:
"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. 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."
FTA also points to the deluge effect that a rush hour restriction would have as commercial vehicles would arrive at the end of a morning ban. There are also many activities that simply cannot be displaced until later in the morning – bread and fresh food deliveries, catering and hospitality supplies; medical and cleansing services; office supplies.
Recent events do however, reinforce the message that more needs to be done to improve the safety of cyclists and all vulnerable road users; Haulage companies are investing hundreds of thousands of pounds upgrading their HGV fleets and in driver training to improve their performance on the road. Throughout this autumn FTA is delivering cycling safety messages to the road haulage industry at its Transport Manager conferences across the UK. FTA is also involved in launching new safety standards for construction traffic in London next month.
"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."