Tuesday, 26 October 2010
Sharing London's Streets with Lorries
I find the most shocking thing about the poster is the state of affairs which permits a lorry driver to run down all those cyclists on his nearside without obvious blame being attributed to the driver and his employers. 'Blind spots' are not an inevitable fact of life they are a design flaw which in any context, other than motor vehicles, would be regarded as obviously unacceptable.
As Roadpeace point out nearly three quarters of cyclists killed in London are killed by HGVs (9 of 13). Plainly this is grossly disproportionate to the numbers of lorries on the road. Who could sensibly argue against the low cost and effective measures that Roadpeace would like to see put in place immediately drastically to reduce the risk to vulnerable road users from lorries?
It is true the Mayor has a Freight Operator Recognition Scheme. Freight operators who care will no doubt sign up. The problem I experience commuting is that the vast majority of lorry drivers are very good (usually the best motorists) around cyclists. However when they are bad, they are very very bad. These bad drivers are often employed by undertakings that do not sufficiently care.
restrictions on the right of HGVs to use the road should be considered at least until they are able to demonstrate they can do so in safety. With this unfair mismatch, it is not the cyclists who should be leaving the roads, it is unsafe lorries and unsafe drivers. A recognition scheme with trained drivers and suitably equipped lorries should be mandatory and police resources should be redirected to following up all serious complaints against lorries before disaster strikes.
Finally anywhere in London, save those elevated motorway monuments to motorcentricity, twenty is plenty and far exceeds the speed a motor vehicle could hope to get around anytime between 6 am and 9 pm. Lorries are equipped with tachographs, enforcement would be easy and there is a precedent for differential speed limits elsewhere. Why not restrict lorries and buses to 20 mph on all non-motorway routes within the M25? If that slows Porsches and 4 x 4s down too, is that a bad thing?
POSTSCRIPT: Eilidh Cairns was from the North East and her family are constituents of Fiona Hall MEP who is calling for support in the European Parliament to mandate the fitting of sensors and cameras on lorries to remove blind spots.