Monday, 31 August 2015

Call on the Mayor and GLA to End Lorry Danger

Dear Friends,

7 out of the 8 cyclist fatalities this year have involved HGVs [1]. Much more could be done to protect cyclists and pedestrians from lorry danger:

  • 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] when 40% of cycling fatalities involving lorries occur
  • Construction industry HGVs have killed 5 cyclists this year already [3]. The construction industry must adopt 'CLOCS' safety standards to prevent further deaths. These 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 are 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 to save lives in 2015 not 2025.

Please forward this message along with your own demand for action to:;;;;

This list includes all the parties represented in the GLA. We need to make sure HGV danger is firmly on the agenda as the parties look forward to the next mayoral election. We will be publishing their responses so please copy us in.

Kind regards,


[1] -
[2] - When we asked earlier this year over half of our supporters wanted a ban in the rush hour:
[3] -

Monday, 24 August 2015

End Lorry Danger

7 out of the 8 cyclist fatalities this year have involved HGVs - Please support the London Cycling Campaign's call for urgent action including a rush hour lorry ban, introduction of 'direct vision' lorries and enforcement to catch rogue operators.

Support the call to End Lorry Danger here

These urgent measures are the starting point for a target of zero lorry deaths on our streets. Safe segregated routes will be key to eliminating the danger in the long run but the process must start with a commitment from the mayor to put a stop to these tragedies and a willingness to take bold action.

The LCC's three demands for urgent action:

  • A rush hour lorry ban – 40% of cycling fatalities involving lorries occur between 8am and 9.30am. (When we asked earlier this year over half of our supporters wanted a ban in the rush hour).
  • Improved driver vision – It’s time to get lorries with restricted vision out of our city and only allow in lorries with “direct vision” design. (In a traditional lorry cab the driver can barely see the road close to the front and sides of the lorry, relying on various small mirrors to cover the numerous blind spots).
  • 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.
You can read more about the LCC's campaign here and analysis from the Road Danger Reduction Forum here.

Higher standards needed for lorries in London

In addition to these urgent actions, there are many more measures which could be introduced in the next few years to improve the safety of lorries. These include widespread adoption of CLOCS style standards for operators, confidential reporting for concerns & bad practice and changes by national government. You can read about this in more detail here.

Physically protected Space4Cycling essential

While measures to improve the safety of lorries have the potential to significantly reduce the numbers of cyclists killed on London's roads over the next few years, they will only go so far. For the longer term we must continue the campaign for physically protected cycle lanes on busy roads until London achieves a comprehensive grid of safe cycle routes.

Sunday, 23 August 2015

Higher safety standards needed for lorries in London

Lorries in London pose an unacceptable risk to cyclists and pedestrians. A range of practical measures have been identified to improve safety through better design, operation and regulation. We must insist adoption of these measures as a high priority for the mayor and TfL.

Higher standards

The Construction Logistics and Cyclist Safety (CLOCS) standards were developed to reduce the high numbers of cyclists being killed by lorries from the construction industry. They note:

There is a particular issue in London and between 2008 and 2013, 55 per cent of cycling fatalities involved a vehicle over 3.5 tonnes, despite these vehicles representing just 4 per cent of the road miles travelled in the capital.

Analysis of the cycling figures found that a disproportionate number of the vehicles involved were construction related.
This year five of the seven lorries which killed cyclists were tipper trucks operated by the construction industry (the other two lorries were supplying the  retail industry).

While construction industry lorries pose a particularly high risk to vulnerable road users, in order to eliminate lorry deaths there will need to be safety improvements to all lorries on London's roads.

These standards, or equivalent, should be rolled out to cover coaches and lorries outside the construction industry. Compliance with these standards should also be made a mandatory requirement for companies working on public sector contracts in London

Confidential reporting of dangerous practice

Many industries use confidential reporting systems to improve their safety record - in fact the construction industry already has confidential reporting for structural safety. Following a concerted campaign the confidential reporting scheme CIRAS is being made available to bus drivers in London.

A confidential reporting scheme should be extended to all HGV drivers and become a mandatory part of the CLOCS standards for fleet operators. It should also be made available to drivers whether or not their employer wants to take part as the worst operators should not be able to avoid the measures which would make them accountable and prevent accidents.

Action needed to improve the safety of all lorries in the UK

The CTC are campaigning for improvements at a national level and you can read about their campaign for higher lorry standards and stronger enforcement nationally here.

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

What can Public Health do for cycling?

We know cycling is great for people's health, and in a country like the Netherlands the population gain significantly from the regular exercise they get from their bikes. As we hear more about the impact of lifestyle choices on health, what are the people in charge doing to promote active transport for everyone?

Ask not what cycling can do for public health, ask what public health can do for cycling. 

A couple of years ago responsibility for 'public health' moved from the NHS to Local Authorities. This change means councils must consider health when they plan all of their activities - education, transport, planning and all the rest.

It was hoped this change would cause a step change in the way councils worked with a new emphasis on cycling and walking. However that didn't happen, so what are the reasons and what can we do about it?

The problem

Public health professionals know that a big shift to active travel is needed to combat our sedentary lifestyles & improve the health of the population. However this hasn't translated in to action from councillors and engineers who are following different priorities.

    We can't afford the NHS if we continue like this.

    Lack of physical activity places a huge burden on our health services. The cost of treating the associated health complications comes at a time of constrained budgets. The rapid growth of conditions like Type 2 Diabetes could make the NHS unsustainable as we know it. Unfortunately there isn't a magic bullet and public health can't solve this on their own.

    Must transport be part of the solution?

    Transport departments will ask why they're being expected to adopt a new set of aims and priorities. To answer this local councils need to consider other ways they could fill the physical activity deficit in their communities and whether that is affordable.

    For instance we could ask:
    • How much money did they spend on leisure services last year?
    • What proportion of the physical activity needs of the population were realised by their leisure services programmes?
    • Can this fulfil the activity needs of the community and is it affordable?
    We can't afford to solve this without using all of the opportunities we have to promote healthy activity. Transport departments are in control of much of our public space and budgets public health professionals can only dream of. We need transport to be part of the solution by promoting active transport, improving our health and saving the NHS from spiralling costs.

    Because it's no longer just about cost effectively getting people from A to B.

    • We need to emphasise and give credit for outcomes (like more people cycling) rather than big showy projects (many cycling schemes are about small scale interventions with small budgets).
    • We should not accept health impacts being regarded as secondary considerations with journey times being used to justify projects which fail to promote cycling and walking.
    • Roads must be designed to make cycling and walking viable options for everyone.
    We need to keep reinforcing these messages with every consultation and when we talk or write to our politicians.

    The invisible killer you can't escape

    Finally, we all need to talk about air pollution a lot more. The impacts on children, the old and the weak are truly shocking and the evidence continues to pile in.

    Progress has been made by Client Earth and EU regulations but the scale of the problem is huge and far too little is being done about it. We need to push for local government action to address sources of pollution close to our homes, schools and hospitals. 

    Sunday, 16 August 2015

    Will London's mayoral candidates support Space4Cycling?

    With Labour's national leadership contest all over the news their London leadership race has slipped under the radar. However if you live in London this could be quite a big thing - the winner of this contest will help set the debate in the run up to the mayoral elections and could even replace Boris as the next mayor.

    So it seems like a good time to review where the different parties sit on cycling commitments and also to return to a subject I've discussed before - Labour's sometimes lukewarm attitude to cycling.

    Where do the different parties sit on Space4Cycling?

    The Space4Cycling campaign was run over a year ago for the local elections. Although the responses only record support for the campaign and not the candidates' other policies, the results are stark:

    Party Elected 
    Conservative   61211218%
    Lib Dem1166959%

    This shows Labour councillors form a significant majority of those supporting Space4Cycling and the percentage support is greater than all other parties except for the Green Party. The Lib Dems and independent candidates have slightly lower support rates.

    Fewer than 1 in 5 Conservative candidates supported Space4Cycling (three times less than Labour). It is important to note that there are several vocal Conservatives cycling advocates, notably Boris Johnson who has overseen implementation of the most ambitious cycling plans London has seen to date.

    Irrespective of the candidates' other policies it is clear the LCC and cycling campaigners have not been able to reach and engage with the Conservative party effectively. From experience most mayoral elections have been two horse races and it seems that cycling campaigners in London need to do more to get Conservative supporters and politicians supporting cycling.

    Only a single UKIP councillor supported Space4Cycling and at the other end of the spectrum the Green Party fully supported the campaign.

    Election for leader of London Labour

    It's too late to sign up as a supporter but cyclists in London who signed up for the national leadership election will soon be able to vote in London's race. This is a chance for cyclists to send a clear message to the London Labour Party demanding ambitious plans and aspirations for cycling.

    At this point I should say that I am not a member of the Labour Party, however I did spend the £3 to become a 'supporter' so I could put in a vote for Christian Wolmar and his cycling advocacy.

    Wolmar has stood with a strong pro-cycling stance addressing many of the key issues faced by cyclists in London. I have copied his cycling manifesto below and if you're able to vote in the upcoming selection process consider putting Wolmar at the top of your list of preferences. He says:

    I know the problems faced by cyclists. I am a lifelong cyclist and covered 3,500 miles on London’s roads last year and I was a board member of Cycling England until its abolition.

    Cycling will be at the heart of my transport policy. There are 600,000 cycle journeys in London every day, representing a key mode of transport. It is vital that London is made safe for cyclists of all ages and abilities so that more people can enjoy this fantastic means of getting round London

    So I will:
    1. Create a network of Dutch style segregated lanes
    2. Encourage local cycling schemes by funding ‘mini Holland’ type schemes in every borough
    3. Endorse a ‘vision zero’ on road deaths
    4. Ban HGV traffic at peak times on busy cycling routes
    5. Introduce a 20 mph limit that is properly enforced
    6. Build a cycle bridge across the Thames in the east, and scrap the Garden Bridge
    7. Extend the cycle hire scheme to more boroughs and reduce the cost
    8. Ensure cyclists are at the heart of every road junction redesign
    9. Create 50,000 new cycle parking spaces
    10. Keep cycling commissioner Andrew Gilligan to give the programme continuity