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Restrict lorries in cities, urges London cyclist who lost leg

Recent TfL study recommends use of larger articulated vehicles for deliveries to construction sites

A cyclist who had her left leg amputated after a collision with a cement mixer has called for restrictions on HGVs using congested urban roads. Sarah Doone was dragged under the vehicle at Old Street roundabout last month and only just escaped being crushed by the rear wheels.

“I’ve got a big, bright backpack but [a driver] can’t have eyes everywhere if your truck is too big,” she told the Sunday Times. “These trucks are enormous.”

She added: “[I remember] screaming as loudly as I possibly could — ah, ah, ah — just so people would hear me before I went under the next set [of wheels]. I knew if I went under the next set, then my head would probably be under.”

Work to improve the Old Street roundabout for cyclists was due to begin in 2016, but has been repeatedly pushed back.

The Islington Tribune reports that following the collision involving Doone, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan called an urgent meeting with Transport for London (TfL). The transport authority has now confirmed that preparatory works will start in November and contractors will work six-day weeks with extended hours to complete the work by autumn 2020.

A study for TfL by consulting engineer WSP this week recommended using larger articulated lorries for deliveries to construction sites in the capital.

The Construction Index reports that switching to artics to carry bulk construction materials could reduce CO2 emissions by 32 per cent and bring down the number of construction lorries on the roads by up to 37 per cent.

Ian Brooker, director of logistics at WSP, said: “The benefits of using articulated vehicles far outweigh any actual or perceived safety concerns.

“HGVs currently still remain essential for the transportation of materials to and from construction sites, but if we can reduce these numbers by using larger, more appropriate vehicles, we can drive towards a reduction in emissions and improve the safety on our roads.”

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20 comments

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Gus T | 5 years ago
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 Has anyone asked Matthew Briggs for his opinion, after all he claims that he supports road safety for all road users and it would be interesting to see what his reply is?

 

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hawkinspeter replied to Gus T | 5 years ago
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Gus T wrote:

 Has anyone asked Matthew Briggs for his opinion, after all he claims that he supports road safety for all road users and it would be interesting to see what his reply is?

He'd probably campaign for cyclists to have to go for private healthcare after road traffic incidents as it's not fair for cyclists to get free NHS treatment when they deliberately don't wear leg braces to protect their legs (it's for their own protection, after all).

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tulip_girl100 | 5 years ago
1 like

Although delayed I'm glad they are starting work on making Old St more friendly - I cycle through there every day on my commute. The trouble is that it's so compacted even the cycle lanes coming up to the junction aren't great. I once got told by a van driver 'shut up you cunt, I hope you get knocked off' when I had the audacity to tell him he was fully in the cycle lane after cutting me up. The road markings are crap too - really have to have your wits about you. Things are going in the right direction at least - although not fast enough - and i'd be interested to locate their plans. I don't understand why all cycle lanes/cycle reservoirs can't be painted blue - I think much of the time people don't know they are there. 

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gmac101 | 5 years ago
4 likes

The one way that authorities could improve the behaviour of construction lorries would be to ban "pay by load" contracts throughout the construction process.  This could be done perhaps as clause in the  planning permission award.  A contractual or pay system that encouraged workers to act unsafely (which pay by load contracts do) is not a "safe system of work" and if road transport was subject to HSE would not survive 

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OldRidgeback replied to gmac101 | 5 years ago
3 likes
gmac101 wrote:

The one way that authorities could improve the behaviour of construction lorries would be to ban "pay by load" contracts throughout the construction process.  This could be done perhaps as clause in the  planning permission award.  A contractual or pay system that encouraged workers to act unsafely (which pay by load contracts do) is not a "safe system of work" and if road transport was subject to HSE would not survive 

 

Or perhaps there should be a more thorough approach to licensing. Only tipper truck firms meeting certain criteria would be allowed to operate within the city limits. As I mentioned earlier, there are a number of companies (many of them 'phoenix' firms) with less than enviable records on safety as a whole. Some of these firms may or may not have connections with organised crime.

I've had quite a bit to do with the construction sector over the years. A small percentage of firms in the sector have dodgy connections. When you look at the statistics, these same firms tend to be the ones with by far the largest number of health and safety violations (of all types), while also having vehicle fleets that, by and large, are in the worst condition. 

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OldRidgeback replied to gmac101 | 5 years ago
2 likes
gmac101 wrote:

The one way that authorities could improve the behaviour of construction lorries would be to ban "pay by load" contracts throughout the construction process.  This could be done perhaps as clause in the  planning permission award.  A contractual or pay system that encouraged workers to act unsafely (which pay by load contracts do) is not a "safe system of work" and if road transport was subject to HSE would not survive 

 

Double post

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brooksby | 5 years ago
3 likes

There’s a lot of comments about having a vehicle escort or better mirrors etc; if a large vehicle is manoeuvring on a building site (for example) then aren’t they obliged to have a banksman who makes sure that everything is clear? Why don’t they have that on large vehicles in any urban environment? A second crew member whose sole job is observation? Keeps an eye out when the vehicle is driving around - as well as the driver, obviously- and then gets out and acts as a banksman in any tight manoeuvres or reversing, etc.

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Grahamd replied to brooksby | 5 years ago
4 likes
brooksby wrote:

There’s a lot of comments about having a vehicle escort or better mirrors etc; if a large vehicle is manoeuvring on a building site (for example) then aren’t they obliged to have a banksman who makes sure that everything is clear? Why don’t they have that on large vehicles in any urban environment? A second crew member whose sole job is observation? Keeps an eye out when the vehicle is driving around - as well as the driver, obviously- and then gets out and acts as a banksman in any tight manoeuvres or reversing, etc.

Was thinking something similar, if this incident had happened on a building site then the likelihood is that  health and safety officials would be all over it, stopping the site until incident had been properly investigated, lessons learnt and those accountable identified and likely prosecuted. So why does the general public deserve less? 

 

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vonhelmet replied to brooksby | 5 years ago
1 like
brooksby wrote:

There’s a lot of comments about having a vehicle escort or better mirrors etc; if a large vehicle is manoeuvring on a building site (for example) then aren’t they obliged to have a banksman who makes sure that everything is clear? Why don’t they have that on large vehicles in any urban environment? A second crew member whose sole job is observation? Keeps an eye out when the vehicle is driving around - as well as the driver, obviously- and then gets out and acts as a banksman in any tight manoeuvres or reversing, etc.

Doubtless it would be too expensive. Cheaper to settle the odd case when someone dies than to pay for someone to help avoid it happening in the first place.

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brooksby replied to vonhelmet | 5 years ago
0 likes
vonhelmet wrote:
brooksby wrote:

There’s a lot of comments about having a vehicle escort or better mirrors etc; if a large vehicle is manoeuvring on a building site (for example) then aren’t they obliged to have a banksman who makes sure that everything is clear? Why don’t they have that on large vehicles in any urban environment? A second crew member whose sole job is observation? Keeps an eye out when the vehicle is driving around - as well as the driver, obviously- and then gets out and acts as a banksman in any tight manoeuvres or reversing, etc.

Doubtless it would be too expensive. Cheaper to settle the odd case when someone dies than to pay for someone to help avoid it happening in the first place.

I can dream, can't I?  3

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Chris Hayes | 5 years ago
2 likes

Perhaps as an immediate solution industrial traffic (construction and commercial deliveries), could take place between 2200 and 0600 (that's 8 hours: a working day) when other more vulnerable road users - and pedestrians - are less commonplace: until someone comes up with a better solution.   Trouble is, no one really cares about the odd death of a cyclist or the pollution caused by industrial traffic.  I cycle along the Super Highway from Tower Bridge to the City and Westminster daily and for the most part, trucks make up the majority of traffic.  It takes a terrorist incident in Westminster to close it down and improve things...but shows it can be done. 

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CygnusX1 | 5 years ago
5 likes
Quote:

Ian Brooker, director of logistics at WSP, said: “The benefits of using articulated vehicles far outweigh any actual or perceived safety concerns.

Real safety concerns like the potential for loss of life or life changing injuries you mean? Nice to have it confirmed that the logistics industry doesn't give a flying fuck about human life. Just as long as they can make a buck. Wankpuffins.

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Morgoth985 replied to CygnusX1 | 5 years ago
1 like
CygnusX1 wrote:
Quote:

Ian Brooker, director of logistics at WSP, said: “The benefits of using articulated vehicles far outweigh any actual or perceived safety concerns.

Real safety concerns like the potential for loss of life or life changing injuries you mean? Nice to have it confirmed that the logistics industry doesn't give a flying fuck about human life. Just as long as they can make a buck. Wankpuffins.

 

This a thousand times.  Doesn't just apply in this case either - it's completely built into the fabric of our economy, because externalities are not properly captured, and they're huge.  There's always the "benefit" = money to us.  The externality, whether it be safety, health, environmental damage, whatever = somebody else's problem.

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ChrisB200SX | 5 years ago
2 likes

CO2 really is the wrong by-product to be focussing on reducing in London right now. I highly doubt bigger HGVs will make anything better. I can only imagine it will make many things worse.

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jova54 replied to ChrisB200SX | 5 years ago
0 likes
ChrisB200SX wrote:

CO2 really is the wrong by-product to be focussing on reducing in London right now. I highly doubt bigger HGVs will make anything better. I can only imagine it will make many things worse.

 

Agreed. The plan must be to get large vehicles off the roads in central London. Once we have accepted the 'need' for larger vehicles we will end up with the same number as now, just more of them.

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Hirsute | 5 years ago
5 likes

They should have an escort like that m25 transformer last week.

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zero_trooper replied to Hirsute | 5 years ago
2 likes
hirsute wrote:

They should have an escort like that m25 transformer last week.

Excellent suggestion!

Ban all except a certain size, which require an entry permit. One of the conditions of the permit being an escort.

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StuInNorway | 5 years ago
7 likes

If they want to use artics to move building materials into London, they need to enforce a "City trailer only" ruling on it, wth rear steer trailers reducing the cut on by the trailer on London's tight corners, also better mirrors, and digital assistance to help reduce the risks to all vulnerable road users. All drivers to undergo an enhanced safety course, and better protection on the trailer sides to reduce the risks of pedestrians getting pulled under. 
One of the most dangerous vehicles on London's roads is the 4-axle tipper/mixer truck. they are relatively long for a rigid truck, combined with being often driver by drivers on a per-load payment scheme that encourages faster, more dangerous driving.

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emishi55 replied to StuInNorway | 5 years ago
2 likes
StuInNorway wrote:

...One of the most dangerous vehicles on London's roads is the 4-axle tipper/mixer truck. they are relatively long for a rigid truck, combined with being often driver by drivers on a per-load payment scheme that encourages faster, more dangerous driving.

"encourages faster, more dangerous driving"

 

Illegal even for car drivers.

Never ceases to amaze me the lack of concern there seems to be for HGVs, whether skip trucks, refuse trucks or cement mixers, that throw their weight around on back streets, or anywhere that they think they can (and do) get away with it.

 

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OldRidgeback replied to StuInNorway | 5 years ago
5 likes
StuInNorway wrote:

If they want to use artics to move building materials into London, they need to enforce a "City trailer only" ruling on it, wth rear steer trailers reducing the cut on by the trailer on London's tight corners, also better mirrors, and digital assistance to help reduce the risks to all vulnerable road users. All drivers to undergo an enhanced safety course, and better protection on the trailer sides to reduce the risks of pedestrians getting pulled under. 
One of the most dangerous vehicles on London's roads is the 4-axle tipper/mixer truck. they are relatively long for a rigid truck, combined with being often driver by drivers on a per-load payment scheme that encourages faster, more dangerous driving.

Some construction companies do have better safety records than others. Cemex for example learned the hard way, following a high profile case involving one of its drivers. The company now has changed its policies and cycle safety is one of its priorities. FM Conway meanwhile has some very keen roadies amongst its workforce, including the board of directors, so you can perhaps understand why cycle safety is seen asa priority for the firm with regard to its truck fleet.

But there is a lower level of firm in the construction sector with a rather less enlightened approach not only to cycle safety, but o business practices in general. It's worth noting that with regard to crashes involving tipper trucks or skip delivery trucks, certain companies and names do crop up on a regular basis.

 

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