Monday, 19 October 2015

Official response to our campaign email

Further to the Mayor's written response to our demands in the Question posed by Darren Johnson AM we have also received a direct response from the Mayor's public liaison unit via email, copied in full below:

Dear Fred

Thank you for your petition to the Mayor about HGVs and cycle safety. The Mayor is committed to improving cycling safety and is particularly conscious of the dangers posed by Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs) to cyclists. That is why he and Transport for London (TfL) have taken a number of steps to address this issue.

HGVs, and particularly construction vehicles, are involved in a disproportionate number of fatal collisions involving cyclists and pedestrians. On 1 September 2015, London launched the UK's first Safer Lorry Scheme, which is designed to protect these vulnerable road users. The scheme legally requires every vehicle driving in London weighing more than 3.5 tonnes to be fitted with basic safety equipment. Under London's scheme, most vehicles that are currently exempt from national legislation for this equipment, such as construction vehicles, will have to be retrofitted. Class V and Class VI mirrors give the driver a better view of cyclists and pedestrians around their vehicle. Side guards protect cyclists from being dragged under the wheels in the event of a collision.

As part of the Safer Lorry Scheme launch, the Mayor also set out plans for strengthening the scheme in the future. In January the Mayor will consult on requiring further safety modifications including the retrofitting of bigger side windows to further reduce driver blind spots. Bigger side windows, in the lower panel of the cab door, give the driver direct vision of any cyclist who may be alongside them, and can be fitted to most lorries for around £1000. This consultation will be complete and a decision taken before the Mayoral election. In the meantime, as soon as the work can be physically completed, it will be ensured that such windows are fitted to all vehicles undertaking work for TfL, Crossrail, or any other member of the Greater London Authority (GLA) family.

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 any of these devices are shown to offer significant and consistent benefits, it may also be required that they be fitted to lorries in London.

Many of the most dangerous vehicles are construction-related. For future major construction projects, GLA planning powers will be used to strictly prescribe the routes which HGVs serving them can follow - requiring, 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 that this happens as fast as possible.

Following the launch of the Mayor's Cycling Vision for London in spring 2013, there has been a step change in the approach to cycling facilities across London. Two new, substantially segregated, high quality Cycle Superhighways will be built, running east-west and north-south through Central London. Construction has begun on the north-south route and on the first phase of the east-west route with completion expected in spring 2016. The new Superhighways will provide clear and convenient routes through London for cyclists, physically separated from other vehicles.

Similarly, the Better Junctions programme aims to improve safety at high profile junctions and gyratories in London. Thirty-three locations have been identified where significant improvements can be delivered for cyclists and other vulnerable road users. TfL will deliver improvements at 10 of the 33 Better Junctions by May 2016. Consultations so far have included Aldgate, Blackfriars, Elephant & Castle, Lancaster Gate, Oval, Parliament Square and Tower Gateway. TfL is also trialling a range of innovative cycle infrastructure measures including Dutch style roundabouts and cycle priority junctions. A number of these innovations have now gone live at Oval junction, including cyclist specific traffic lights and a new 'hold the left turn' feature.

These programmes dovetail very closely with what cyclists have been demanding. The Mayor is committed to making progress as quickly as possible, while ensuring that these improvements are done properly. Cycling safety has been and will remain at the heart of the Mayor's administration and the Mayor is determined to make things better for cyclists in London.

Thank you again for contacting the Mayor.

Yours sincerely


Mohammed Rahman
Public Liaison Unit




Dear Boris, Jennette, Caroline and Darren,

7 out of the 8 cyclist fatalities this year have involved HGVs [1] and we need the mayor and GLA to do more to protect cyclists and pedestrians. There are still too many dangerous lorries and too many dangerous junctions in London. We are calling for urgent action to reduce injuries and deaths:
  • A rush hour lorry ban. When we asked earlier this year over half of our supporters wanted a lorry ban in the rush hour [2]
  • The construction industry must adopt 'CLOCS' safety standards to prevent further deaths. Construction industry HGVs have killed 5 cyclists this year already [3], CLOCS safety standards should be made mandatory in every public section construction contract in London.
  • Confidential reporting of bad practice needs to be rolled out to all HGV drivers, irrespective of whether their employer wants to take part [3].
  • Stronger enforcement. Operators must never be allowed to put profits before lives by allowing unlicensed, untrained lorry drivers, or unsafe vehicles, to operate on our roads.
These urgent measures must be the starting point for a target of zero lorry deaths on our streets. Safe segregated routes will be key to eventually eliminating road danger but we must start with action which can save lives in 2015-16.


This call comes from the Save Our Cyclists petition and has been circulated to our supporters who have been encouraged to contact you with their personal reasons for wanting action. The petition currently has 37'946 signatures: https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/save-our-cyclists


We would appreciate responses to this call and will publish all the responses we receive on our blog and Facebook page.


Kind regards,


Fred

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References:
[1] -www.london24.com/news/cycling/london_cycle_deaths_2015_1_3964719
[2] - When we asked earlier this year over half of our supporters wanted a ban in the rush hour: http://saveourcyclists.blogspot.co.uk/2015/04/supporter-survey-2015-responses.html
[3] - http://saveourcyclists.blogspot.co.uk/2015/08/higher-safety-standards-needed-for.html