London Assembly calls for rush-hour HGV ban in capital

London Assembly members have unanimously agreed a motion to ban HGVs in the capital during rush hour.

The call formed part of a package of measures the assembly would like to see implemented by the mayor, the government and the freight sector to reduce the number of HGV-related cyclist fatalities.

During a plenary session at City Hall yesterday (4 November), assembly member Darren Johnson, who proposed the motion, said: “Far too many people have died under the wheels of an HGV in London. We know the safety measures which would make cyclists safer and there is a growing cross-party determination that we need to end the unnecessary deaths and injuries on our roads.”

He added that new, segregated Cycle Superhighways will separate cyclists on some roads in the capital, but that action is now needed to protect them on the rest of London’s roads by having HGVs travel at different times of the day.

Seconding the motion, Andrew Boff, added: “Seven out of the eight cycling deaths this year have been caused by collisions with an HGV. This is a shocking statistic and a clear indication that action is needed.”

Boff said it was now essential that a full impact assessment was conducted to ensure that banning lorries during peak hours would not simply displace collisions to another time of the day, and to prove to the mayor that it would not impact businesses too greatly.

Other proposals in the assembly’s motion included the adoption of Clocs standards across the entire construction sector, including direct vision lorry cabs, with the mayor called upon to make this compulsory by the end of his term of office on all Greater London Authority contracts.

Also, the roll-out of a confidential reporting system to enable HGV drivers to flag up bad practice, irrespective of whether their employer wants to take part in the scheme. Such a system is already in place across the railway industry and London Underground, as well as being recently introduced across London’s bus sector.

Finally, the LA wants to see comprehensive enforcement to crack down on rogue operators, with regular reporting from the London Freight Enforcement Partnership against an aim to reduce commercial vehicle casualties.

  • The London Assembly is an elected body with a key role of holding the mayor to account on behalf of Londoners by directly questioning his activities, strategies and decisions across all areas of policy. As well as examining the mayor’s actions and decisions, assembly members act as champions for Londoners by investigating issues that are important to the capital. Assembly investigations are carried out by cross-party committees often looking at long-term issues facing London.
  • Oliver Witton

    Have the assembly got enough space to park everything between 7 & 9! great idea but unworkeable at the moment

  • avlowe

    Oh fear a great populist slogan, with no objective evidence on which it can be based, and massively vague criteria – peak hours would appear to be 08.00-09.30 – in which case just one of the fatal crashes in 2015 occurred in the peak hours in very central London. Then where to you set the cordon line? Even selecting the boundaries of Inner London Boroughs that means allowing at least 30 minutes to get in and/or out effectively banning any heavy truck movements for most of the morning within the cordon line, and since you cannot currently move there before 07.00 it gets even more ridiculous.

    Then you have work which requires a continuous servicing of the site, machines working to excavate, concrete requiring continuous pour – the Shard had 30 jiggers running 24 hours covered by 3 shifts of drivers for nearly 3 days to pour the foundations, Francis Crick was moving 3000T/day as the lower levels were dug out – there was no land to simply stockpile for 4 hours, and double handling is a costly anathema in construction work, it would also have demanded a far more intensive use of more than the 50 trucks required to move that amount through the day.

    Have any of those campaigning cycled around East London outside the peak hours – at least 40% of the traffic on some routes is servicing construction, running over 100Km round trips to the tipping sites in Essex, they travel fast to get the 3 round trips/day needed to make the operation viable (ie pay for the truck & driver) and in doing so create a massive footprint of road damage, pollution (noise, emissions etc), and risk. In the peaks the HGV’s are notable by their absence in the gridlocked cars, most operators schedule deliveries or driver’s breaks to avoid having a truck going nowhere fast, and costing them money. You can see this by observing the motorways, where HGV traffic vanishes as the regular congestion builds up.

    The initiative taken by the breweries is worth noting, working with the growing number of cycle routes, now appearing between the dray and the pub, when in safety terms they need to make the delivery as direct as possible. However other feedback suggests that a confidential reporting service may be desirable given that some employees may currently feel pressures to not report some issues internally.

    The option of using smaller vehicles is a further can of worms putting even more of the vehicles with NO regulation, no daily drivers checks, no monthly operators checks and an MOT at 3 years instead of an annual DVSA one. Mileage of this light commercial category has leapt 68% in the past 20 years – compared to a 14% rise for private cars, with HGV and PCV flat lining or falling. In the 10 years 2003-2013 registrations increased at twice the rate for private cars. One major operator (3000+ vans) publicly stated they took this path because it avoided regulation and linked costs.

    The issue is to have proper objective review and management – an example being the mismatch between the campaigns over cycling past on the inside of trucks and the fact that 80+% of fatal crashes actually begin with the front nearside quarter of the truck hitting the rear offside of the cycle, from the limited information available all of the 2015 fatal crashes fit into this pattern including on direct rear end shunt, and 2 where the truck driver made the turn from the lane on the right hand side, of a nearside lane where the cyclist was travelling. That 80% detail convincingly overlays with the Loughborough work on direct vision – The cyclists being hit are in the one area where the driver cannot see anything without moving well out of their driving position, but equally (and from both observation and a report surveying 5000 cyclists 10 years ago) many cyclists fail to keep looking behind them – the lifesaver look for motorcyclists. The survey noted that this was especially a problem for women (they said so) and again seems to correlate with women featuring disportionately in crashes where the danger comes upon them from behind.

    I’m totally happy about CIRAS or an equivalent, but you must plan to do this do it properly as in the rail air and marine industries (CIRAS/CHIRPS). The rail regulator requires that all operators and infrastructure providers have CIRAS in place. The directive for road operators has to come from the Traffic Commissioners and make this requirement for safety issue reporting a necessary condition for holding an O Licence

  • Stuart Masson

    If this was genuinely about saving lives rather than populism, wouldn’t it be better to ban bicycles during peak hours? That way, zero cyclists would die.