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Bristol's mayor George Ferguson backs rush-hour lorry ban

Boris may not be convinced about lorry bans for London, but George Ferguson wants a ban for Bristol

Mayor of Bristol George Ferguson says that lorries should be banned from the city centre during rush hour, describing them as a “menace.” The views of the first elected mayor of England’s sixth largest city contrast with those of Mayor of London Boris Johnson, who last month rejected a call from British Cycling policy advisor Chris Boardman to ban HGVs from cities during peak hours.

Mr Ferguson, who took office in November last year, was speaking yesterday evening at a mayor’s question and answer session held at the Wills Memorial Building in Clifton, in which he criticised supermarket operators for using articulated lorries to deliver supplies to small stores throughout the city, reports the Bristol Post.

The mayor was responding to a question from a member of the 300-strong audience who said that riding a bike in the city was “scary” and urged that as part of their training, drivers of lorries, buses and taxis be required to spend a day on a bike there.

"I think we should ban HGVs in peak hours because they are a menace,” replied Mr Ferguson.

"Relatively small supermarkets are serviced by massive HGVs. The items should be transferred to smaller vehicles, preferably electric ones, at a transfer station, like the one we have at Avonmouth," he added.

Last month, in the wake of the deaths of six cyclists in London, with large vehicles such as lorries and buses involved in all of those incidents, Mr Johnson rejected calls led by Chris Boardman to implement a rush-hour ban on lorries.

With a disproportionate number of cyclist fatalities in the capital involving lorries – particularly ones related to the construction sector – former world and Olympic champion Boardman had suggested London and other UK cities follow the lead of Paris, which places restrictions on when large lorries can enter the city centre.

During 2011, there were no cyclist fatalities within an area of Paris roughly equivalent to that covered by zones 1 and 2 of London’s transport network, although police in the French capital have said that was an exceptional year and that in a typical year, between two and six cyclists die in road traffic collisions.

But opponents of a ban point out that Paris, which also limits the height of buildings within the city centre, has nothing like the scale of construction work that London does, and that the city’s wider economy would be harmed if circulation of HGVs was restricted. 

In an interview with BBC Radio London’s Vanessa Feltz, Mr Johnson also maintained that although he appreciated there needed to be a "much bigger conversation about HGVs" and the danger cyclists face from them, banning them at certain times of day could cause a "serious influx as soon as the ban is over," thereby presenting an even greater risk to vulnerable road users.

Simon joined 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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Skylark | 10 years ago

HGVs aren't precisely the problem. HGVs are few and far between when it comes to traffic attacks in towns and city centres.

The problem is vehicles. Commuters who drive in to work. People who are too lazy or think themselves above to use public transport, or cycle or walk.

Inner cities have no room for traffic. See some common sense.

Dangermouse | 10 years ago

Mr Ferguson should have a look at the state of the road surfaces and the 'show case' bus routes first!!!
What's the point in bus lanes that have car parking allowed in them making it impossible for buses to use?!
Plus the new bus stops that stick out into the road are ridiculous - there's not even enough room for a cyclist to get past!

Posh | 10 years ago

Please sign my Government E-Petition to get House of Commons to debate a law of "Presumed Liability" in the event of a road traffic incident. E-Petitions require 100,000 signatures before the matter is even considered.........This means that the petition must go viral to achieve this in twelve months.

This is a cheap and, I believe, effective way to get those responsible for hazardous vehicles to really understand their responsibilities, change heir attitudes and act more responsibly.

Please read the petition, sign and pass on to all contacts.

Link -

Safe and Happy Cycling

a.jumper | 10 years ago

Hey pirate, road changes are happening. Remember when Queenss Square was a dual carriageway and harbourside was a glorified roundabout? Good point on the resurfacing though.

thepirategingerbeard | 10 years ago

Dear George,

Bristol is a brilliant city to ride around & HGV's aren't the issue.
Yes, a rush hour ban would help reduce incidents BUT resurfacing & re-thinking road layout would revolutionise the cities cycling & make everyone happy!

So i suggest limitation on HGV's i.e size at rush hour
& prepare the city for the cycling is preaches...

dp24 | 10 years ago

in which he criticised supermarket operators for using articulated lorries to deliver supplies to small stores throughout the city

Spot on - and it's not just a cycling issue, it's a pedestrian and a traffic one too. Too often the locations of these stores have no dedicated loading bay, so the vehicles are simply pulled up outside on the street while they're unloaded, reducing visibility and increasing the danger to pedestrians trying to cross the road. It also creates further congestion, holding other vehicles up while they have to wait for a gap in oncoming traffic to pass.

His suggestion about transferring to smaller vehicles can be done, but no doubt there'll be plenty of bleating from the companies about why it can't.

antonio | 10 years ago

Common sense, delivering on roads clear of buses and cars just has to be easier.

ironmancole | 10 years ago

The angry part in me sometimes wonders if an accidental cull of a few MP's by motorists all subsequently fined £60.00 and told to be "more careful next time" would bring the reality of it all home to them.

However, back in the real world I find myself signing yet another petition for them to politely applaud and quickly ignore.

Watched a very lively debate between the government and opposition today about the fuel price rises in the UK and all of them were falling over themselves to be seen to be tackling the 'monstrous greed' and 'shocking gameplaying' engaged by the big 6.

Contrast that to the difficulty we get simply asking government to protect us from a myriad of danger on the public highways. The greater public aren't interested in it so irrespective of the morality we need our MPs to take an interest in we find ourselves marginalised and widely ignored.

Quite how slavery was abolished is beyond me, that must have been one heck of a touchy subject with the majority when the minority moaned...yet it was changed, led of course by one great visionary with a backbone and great moral fibre.

Seemingly these are rare attributes in todays twitter fed facebook loving myspace .com instagram me now look at my selfie with a voters baby hungry MP.

pauldmorgan replied to ironmancole | 10 years ago
ironmancole wrote:

Quite how slavery was abolished is beyond me, that must have been one heck of a touchy subject with the majority when the minority moaned...yet it was changed, led of course by one great visionary with a backbone and great moral fibre.

Not as simple as that - it also took a lot of money - a pay out of compensation to slave owners of the equivalent in todays money of £16.5bn. Some of the families of those slave owners are still doing very well from it (our current PM for instance).

ronin | 10 years ago

If human beings are more important than making money, then ban them. The health and safety of Londoners is surely Mayor Boris's responsibility. If he was managing in another job, and six people died, he'd be in trouble.

It's almost like a them and us situation. You can bet, if members of parliament were dieing at the same rate as the hoi polloi they'd do something about it as quick as you like!

oozaveared replied to ronin | 10 years ago
ronin wrote:

If human beings are more important than making money, then ban them.

I'm with you but don't be too quick to concede that this will cost anyone any money. The economics of it can also make sense. At the moment lorries sitting in rush hour traffic are wasting money and profits. If they had their choice on when to deliver it would probably be at night when they could drive easily through London or other big cities with no traffic. Remember if a lorry isn't loaded and moving then it is losing money.

So why don't they do haulage companies do that now? Well their customers want deliveries during their normal working hours. But if they couldn't get them then they'd have to get them at night. But that might cost them money. But then again the haulage costs would have gone down and they could get a better deal.

Reducing congestion doesn't cost money it saves money and spreading road usage evenly across the day is a more economically sensible and efficient use of the infrastructure.

In other worde this could actually save money and be safer and more pleasant for cyclists and others including motorists.

Remember to sell the sizzle not the sausage. Don't make this just about us cyclists I bet loads of other road users, taxis, buses, private cars and pedestrians would rather not have these large HGVs on the road in rush hour.

SForeman replied to oozaveared | 10 years ago

Where I live the greatest number of deliveries seem to be in the mornings, from 7am, and quite a lot in the evenings.But of course all day long there are vans going through the residential side streets, some of which are used for delivery points for main street shops. The private company waste/recycling collections mostly come through after 11pm every night. The road freight lobby have been pushing hard for several years to have late night delivery restrictions lifted, and Boris Johnson and TfL have set up a new set of trials of this for 2014. I think it would include construction vehicles, and there is mention of 'mandatory' out of hours deliveries. Hell for anyone living in central London and wanting to actually sleep during the night.

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