Cycling Fatalities and Lorries in London

Date petition submitted: 
02 December 2015
Petition presented by: 
Darren Johnson (past staff) AM,
Petition presented at: 
London Assembly Plenary

Summary of petition

‘In the first half of 2015, lorries were involved in all but one of the cycling fatalities in London. Collisions with lorries are the biggest cause of cyclist deaths. Sign the petition – tell London’s Mayor to get lethal lorries off our roads and: • A rush hour lorry ban; • Improved driver visions; and • Stronger enforcement.’

Response information

Response title: 
Mayor's Response
Name of person responding: 
Boris Johnson, Mayor of London
Response date: 
26 January 2016
"Thank you for the petition presented to the London Assembly (Plenary) meeting on 2 December 2015 about cyclist deaths and collisions with lorries. As I explained in my letter to you referenced MGLA061115-8731 my aim remains to remove completely death and serious injury from the capital's roads. 2014 saw the lowest number of people killed or seriously injured (KSI) on London's roads since records began. Compared to 2013, the number of cyclists killed or seriously injured was down 12 per cent, despite huge increases in the number of people cycling. The figures are clearly heading in the right direction, but the simple fact remains that one death on London's roads is too many. This is why we are doing everything we can to make London's Road's safer. As I said in my letter of 21 January, this year, Transport for London (TfL) and I achieved our original road safety target of a 40% reduction in the number of KSIs on the capital's roads by 2020. I have now stretched this target to deliver a 50 per cent reduction in KSIs by 2020. To achieve this, we will focus on: highway engineering and design- to give us safer road junctions and extensive new segregated and partially-segregated cycle lanes- better vehicle design, driver training, enforcement and reducing the number of freight journeys by helping operators to re-time deliveries and plan their logistics more smartly. No single solution will deal with Heavy Goods Vehicle (HGV) safety so I am evaluating a wide range of potential interventions as part of a fundamental reconsideration on managing freight in the city. I have already taken action to ban lorries from entering London without certain safety equipment through the Safer Lorry Scheme. I have also proposed additional safety improvements to reduce further the driver blind spots that contribute to so many tragic incidents. Further restrictions on HGVs need to avoid unintended consequences, such as an increase in vans on the road or an increase in HGVs at other times of the day. My response to each of the action points listed in the petition is below: Policy 1- A rush hour lorry ban: I have asked TfL to look at the advantages and disadvantages of restricting certain vehicles at certain times. This raises some issues. For example, banning HGVs during the morning peak might result in goods being delivered in a larger number of small vans. Vans already make up over 20 per cent of traffic in central London during the morning peak, so this could have serious implications for congestion, road safety and air quality. This policy would also result in a greater number of HGV journeys made at that time (for example, lunch hour rush or end of school). As such, the safety benefits of a rush hour lorry ban are not straightforward and require further analysis. In 2014, for example, only one of the 12 cyclists killed in London was hit by an HGV between 8.00 and 9.30am. Cities such as Paris and Dublin have HGV bans in place. However, these cities only restrict extra-long vehicles which do not operate in London. The bans include a considerable number of exemptions. For example in Paris, construction vehicles - which are over-represented in cyclist and pedestrian fatalities in London- are exempt from the ban. Dublin has very specific circumstances which its regulations are designed to address. HGV drivers were using the city centre as a route to access the port and travelling through the city. HGVs are still able to drive into Dublin to make deliveries in the city along designated routes. In London, the vast majority of large vehicles are travelling to make a delivery to a business, construction site or home. Nevertheless, TfL will continue to look for innovative solutions in this area. Policy 2- The Construction Industry much adopt Construction Logistics and Cyclist Safety (CLOCS) safety standards to prevent further deaths and direct vision cabs. I believe that one of the biggest improvements to road safety would be for all vehicles to be designed so that drivers can see other road users, such as cyclists and pedestrians, clearly through their windows. 17,6000 HGVs have been fitted with safety equipment to protect cyclists and other road users as part of CLOCS and over 19,000 HGV drivers have received specially designed cycle road safety training. Through the CLOS programme TfL has also worked with freight operators, the construction industry and major HGV manufacturers to stimulate creative solutions for HGV designs with direct driver vision, greatly reducing HGV blind spots. As a result, these vehicles are now available for operators to buy and TfL is working to increase the availability and affordability of these vehicles. From a single prototype at a CLOCS event that I opened in 2013, there are now 190 vehicles with improved vision operating across London. Therefore, TfL is in a position to specify that all contractors working on the Northern Line Extension must use vehicles that incorporate lower cabs and additional glass for all-round driver vision. In addition to CLOCS, London launched the Safer Lorry Scheme in September 2015, which is designed to improve cyclist and pedestrian safety by banning lorries that have not been fitted with basic safety equipment from London's roads. London is leading the way nationally with this scheme and most vehicles previously exempt from national legislation for basic safety equipment now have to be retro-fitted before entering London, including construction vehicles. As the launch, I announced proposals for further safety changes to be made to all HGVs in London, including bigger side windows to reduced the driver blind spots. These proposals will be consulted on early this year to assess the feasibility and determine how this might be enforced. Extensive trials are also now being undertaken at the Transport Research Laboratory of a variety of electronic sensors for lorries, aiming to alert drivers to cyclists' presence. If it is shown that any of these devices offer significant and consistent benefits, it may also be required for them to be fitted to lorries in London. Many of the most dangerous vehicles are construction-related. For future major construction projects, the Greater London Authority planning powers will be used to strictly prescribe the routes that HGVs serving them can follow. This could require, for instance, that they avoid a road heavily used by cyclists or take a route that minimises the number of left turns, the most dangerous manoeuvre. Discussions with the London boroughs and the construction industry have already started to ensure this happens as fast as possible. I am also working to improve lorry safety by lobbying the Government and European Union about the design of lorries and how we can improve them so that they are not only safer in London, but the rest of the UK and across Europe. This includes improving direct vision for drivers in HGV cabs and making it easier to see cyclists and pedestrians on the street. The European Commission is currently preparing legislation which would bring these changes into force and I am pressing for this to be done as soon as possible. Policy 3- Stronger Enforcement: Unsafe, Illegal lorries are not welcome in London. Not only are they a danger to other road users, they undermine legitimate, safe businesses who work within the law, and they damage the reputation of this vital industry. Both TfL and the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) are already enforcing against unsafe operators who cut corners on safety and will continue to do so. In October 2015, TfL announced the creation of the London Freight Enforcement Partnership. Chaired by Sir Peter Hendy, this partnership brings together 90 officers and analysts from across TfL, the MPS, City of London Police and the Driver Vehicle Standards Agency. Together they target drivers, vehicles and operators who pose the greatest risk on London's roads. TfL will publish a monthly snapshot of the partnership's activities and results from early this year. TfL acknowledges that a lack of clarity about priority when motorises make turning movements at junctions, poses a significant risk to pedestrian and cycle safety. TfL supports more action at the national level to give greater legal protection to cyclists. As such changes take time, the focus is also on developing highway layout that's minimise, and preferably remove turning conflicts at junctions. TfL is applying innovations inspired by international practice to junction design on new Cycle Superhighways and Quietways. For example, TfL has worked with DfT to test and gain approval for cycle-specific traffic signals, which provides the ability to separately control cycle movements at junctions much more effectively than before. In Agust 2015, TfL unveiled its first 'hold the left' junction on Cycle Superhighway 2, where the cycle route along Whitechapel Road meets Cambridge Heath Road. Cyclists and turning motor traffic move in separate phases, with left-turning vehicles held back to allow cyclists to move without risk and cyclists held when vehicles are turning left. There is also a new 'two-stage right turn' to let cyclists make right turns in safety. For straight-ahead traffic, early-release traffic lights give cyclists a head start. These innovations aim to significantly cut the cyclist casualty rate. Around 85 per cent of cyclist collisions happen at junctions, mostly involving turning traffic. I hope this response goes some way to reassuring you and the petitioners of my determination to improve the safety of all road users in London."