A petition calling on the Mayor of London to ban lorries from the capital's streets during rush hour has received 2,500 signatures in the first 10 hours.
The London Cycling Campaign's (LCC) petition, which has received hundreds of impassioned comments from concerned cyclists, was launched one month after 26-year-old newlywed, Ying Tao, was crushed to death by a lorry while cycling at Bank junction in the City of London. Tao was the eighth cyclist to die on London's roads this year, seven of whom were killed in collisions with lorries.
From 1 September a ban of all lorries of more than 3.5 tonnes without side guards and mirrors comes into force in the capital but the LCC's Chief Executive, Ashok Sinha, says this is not enough and lorries should be banned from London's streets between 8-9.30am.
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He said: “It is unacceptable that seven cyclists have lost their lives after being involved in collisions with lorries on London’s roads in the first half of 2015. 40% of cycling fatalities involving lorries occur in the morning rush hour. Almost all of these fatalities involve the construction and waste industry lorries that flood onto our roads at the same time thousands of people are cycling to work.
"The Safer Lorry scheme will do nothing to prevent this from happening, nor will it protect cyclists from lorries with restricted vision or unlicensed, untrained lorry drivers on London’s roads. Unless more is done, more people will lose their lives. We’re calling on the Mayor to end lorry danger now.”
Last week the Freight Transport Association's (FTA) Head of Urban Logistics, Christopher Snelling, said he believes a rush hour lorry ban is not the answer, arguing it will increase lorry numbers later, when there are more pedestrians on the roads, while increasing the use of smaller vehicles.
Snelling said: “Even a medium-sized lorry would have to be replaced with 10 vans – which means overall safety would not be improved, let alone the emissions and congestion consequences. It has to be remembered that we don’t choose to deliver at peak times on a whim – our customers need goods at the start of the working day.”
HGV deliveries must avoid rush hour for safety
The LCC's Rosie Downes said although the charity is supportive of the FTA's work to move delivery times outside of rush hour, an outright ban is the only way to prevent less scrupulous firms from operating in rush hour regardless of the risks. She said individual councils can play their role by moving delivery times outside of rush hour, too.
She said: "We believe regulation is needed to ensure that London’s most dangerous lorries – often the ones who are less proactive about reducing danger to vulnerable road users – aren’t on our roads at the busiest times.
"In addition to a rush hour lorry ban, it must be down to local authorities, construction clients and fleet operators to ensure they're reducing risk to vulnerable road users through measures like retiming deliveries to avoid London’s roads when they’re busy – not just between 8am and 9.30am - and improving vehicle safety," she said.
The lorry blind spot to the left of the driver's cab is implicated in 80% of cycling fatalities involving HGVs and the LCC is calling on the Mayor to ensure only direct vision lorries without that blind spot are used on projects that receive funding from the Mayor's offices.
A spokesman for the Mayor told the Evening Standard: "There are many difficulties and practicalities with imposing a rush hour ban in a major city like London. What we don’t want to see is heavy goods vehicle activity simply dispersed to other times of the day - HGVs flooding into town once the rush hour is over won’t deliver benefits for cyclists or pedestrians.
“In September, we will be banning lorries and construction vehicles without certain safety equipment from entering London at all - at any time of the day or week.”
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Speaking to LondonLovesBusiness, Labour mayoral hopeful Christian Wolmar said: “I would support a ban for lorries between 8 and 9.30 in the morning. There are all these construction trucks building yuppie flats for Russian oligarchs.
“I think you could ban most lorries at these times. I’d particularly like to see more control over the construction industry lorries. It’s the construction lorries that have been causing all the danger.”
Conservative Mayoral hopeful, Zac Goldsmith, said he supports the lorry ban as well as the upcoming safer lorry standards in the capital. Goldsmith believes more freight needs to be shipped by river.
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