Oxford City Council has signed up to the Construction Logistics and Safety Standard (CLOCS) requiring developers of construction sites to plan their HGV journeys to avoid busy or high risk areas, such as around schools at home time.
The council hopes the measure will tackle cycling fatalities, four of which have been caused by collisions involving HGVs being driven in the city since 2020, and has been welcomed by Oxford councillor Trish Elphinstone who was left bloodied and bruised after being struck by an alleged hit-and-run driver in a bike lane on Friday while she cycled to a road safety meeting.
Ms Elphinstone said the incident was "ironic" considering her destination and, although her collision was caused by the driver of a car, told the Oxford Mail the HGV measures would be "welcome news to pedestrians and cyclists; especially as recent deaths are linked to HGVs".
In September, an unlicensed HGV driver was jailed for eight years for killing Dr Ling Felce who was cycling at a notoriously dangerous roundabout in Oxford when the driver, under the influence of cocaine, fatally struck her with the tipper truck he was driving.
Dr Felce's death came just weeks after a fellow university worker, Ellen Moilanen, was killed in a collision with a lorry driver on the A4165 near Oxford Parkway station, prompting Liberal Democrat MP Layla Moran to urge the government to urgently help make the city's roads safer for cyclists and "avoid any more senseless deaths".
In November the roundabout where Dr Felce was riding, used by around 12,000 cyclists each day, underwent works, including amendments to road markings and traffic signs, installation of road studs, bollards and cycle stands, installing light cycle lane segregation units, and vegetation clearance.
"There are major loopholes that we are very worried about"
Commenting on the council signing up to CLOCS, Jamie Clark of Cyclox said he is concerned the authority has only committed to "encouraging larger developments to include the more rigorous CLOCS Standard in their construction logistic plan".
"It is great the city council has embraced CLOCS but we are very worried that their commitment is weak in the way it has been worded," he said. "The University of Oxford has made this scheme compulsory for contractors, whereas the city council appears to be making it voluntary and only for larger developments.
"There are major loopholes that we are very worried about."
He explained that the commitment does not include delivery vehicles and "there is a lot more to be done", something Green Party and Oxford City Councillor Emily Kerr agreed with.
"Oxford's getting safer for cyclists and we are seeing more people switch to cycling — but it's still not safe enough," she said, pointing out that HGVs represent a "small proportion of traffic, but they cause a majority of cyclist fatalities".
"We are happy to discuss these matters with Cyclox"
"Where we are the contractor on an individual development, we will also make the CLOCS Standard compulsory," an Oxford City Council spokesperson said. "But where we are the planning authority, and making decisions about a third-party's planning application, different legal powers apply.
"In that case, the city council will continue to require that all large developments have a Construction Traffic Management Plan, but now will be aiming to include the CLOCS Standard as part of that planning condition.
"That has to be done with the agreement of the planning applicant, but we believe, based on current experience with Construction Traffic Management Plans, that applicants and contractors will be more than happy to sign up.
"Full details of how the CLOCS Standard will impact the planning applications and construction vehicles of large developments will be drawn up by the city council over the coming months. We are happy to discuss these matters with Cyclox."
Dan joined road.cc in 2020, and spent most of his first year (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. At the start of 2022 he took on the role of news editor. Before joining road.cc, Dan wrote about various sports, including football and boxing for the Daily Express, and covered the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for The Non-League Paper. Part of the generation inspired by the 2012 Olympics, Dan has been 'enjoying' life on two wheels ever since and spends his weekends making bonk-induced trips to the petrol stations of the south of England.