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Boris Johnson reduces London cyclists' safety; MPs protest
27.10.09 by Buffalo Bill

Last week Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, announced that he was cutting the funding for the Commercial Vehicle Education Unit, which is the part of the police that has been most active in trying to reduce danger to London’s cyclists from lorries/Large Goods Vehicles/whatever they are called now. He expects the slack to be taken up by the Freight Operators Registration Scheme, membership of which is voluntary and free. As I mentioned in a previous post, this move is bitterly opposed by the London Cycling Campaign, and Boris Watch described the move thus: bendy buses kill no cyclists – bendies scrapped; HGVs kill lots of cyclists, Boris scraps the Met Commercial Vehicle Education Unit.

Diane Abbott, Member of Parliament for Hackney North and Stoke Newington, has put down the following Early Day Motion:

That this House is saddened and alarmed by the tragic deaths of 10 cyclists on London’s roads this year; notes that eight of these deaths have involved heavy goods vehicles; further notes Transport for London’s decision to shut down the Metropolitan Police Commercial Vehicle Education Unit (CVEU); recognises that the CVEU is the only unit in the country with the power to investigate lorry operators; further notes with concern that 70 per cent. of the lorries checked by CVEU since 2005 were found to be defective in some way; believes the work of the CVEU is desperately needed to improve road safety for cyclists; and calls on the Mayor of London to reinstate the funding for the Commercial Vehicle Education Unit.

It is well worth writing to your MP, asking them to sign the motion. The easiest way is to use the Write to them web-site, asking them to sign ‘EDM 2144 (Cyclist’s safety in London)’.

Pink Express rider hit & 'critically' injured by lorry this morning
Guardian story on lorry deaths makes serious error
Perceived danger of lorries - a survey for London cyclists
Two London cyclists killed in two days by lorries
8th female London cyclist killed by lorry?
Daily Mail attacks cyclists, Jenny Jones says write to your MLA
Cynthia Barlow of Roadpeace on cuts to 'lorry police'
Mayor's transport questions and answers, doublethink and other nonsense
Female cyclist killed by lorry 16th September 2009
7th London cyclist killed by lorry, 29th June

  1. Perhaps Bo-Jo scrapped bendy busses because he can. As a cyclist, it is not HGV drivers who need educating but cyclists who put themselves at risk.

    Also Bo-Jo’s plan to allow cyclists to turn left at red lights will do more than a fatuous and expensive ‘education’ project which the worst drivers will simply ignore.

    Jackart    27 October 2009, 10:32    #
  2. @ Jackart: The Metropolitan Police Commercial Vehicle Education Unit also had responsibilities for enforcement and its officers were trained to spot dodgy lorries/LGVs. I don’t think their work was either fatuous or expensive, considering the number of deaths caused by lorries/LGVs.

    Show me the evidence in any of the inquests into the deaths of London cyclists that they ‘put themselves at risk’ other than by deciding to ride a bike that day. Go on, show me.

    I’ll show you all the evidence of lorries missing the latest mirrors, drivers going too fast and/or failing to look, and road design that adds to the danger.

    The plan to allow turning left on red is good, for sure.

    Jack Thurston    27 October 2009, 13:15    #
  3. Fatuous?

    Here’s a statement released by the Mayor:

    “The MPS recognises that current and future construction projects in London bring a threat of increased collisions involving Large Goods Vehicles (LGVs). In the last 18 months additional enforcement has been dedicated predominantly in East London, and will continue with this focus whilst the high risk remains and will be reviewed as other large construction projects start on site. Enforcement around the periphery of the Olympic site has been ongoing since March 2008, through operations led by the combined Commercial Vehicle Unit (CVU) and Commercial Vehicle Education Unit (CVEU). In addition to enforcement the CVU continues to offer specialist advice and support to fleet operators at the site and the Olympic security team. This engagement with freight operators using the site, and also with the Vehicle and Operators Services Agency (VOSA), victim groups and cycling campaign groups has contributed to fewer fatal collisions involving LGVs in east London against a backdrop of the substantial increase in the number of heavy vehicle movements.”

    I would say ‘effective’ not ‘fatuous’.

    Also, when you say ‘speaking as a cyclist’ does that mean you have some particular insight into these incidents, or are you writing anecdotally, when you say that it is the cyclists who put themselves at risk, and that lorry drivers have nothing to learn?

    — Bill    27 October 2009, 15:13    #
  4. Is this what you were doing Bill? When you should’ve been

    — The Creative Riders    28 October 2009, 21:00    #
  5. Ouch!

    — Bill    29 October 2009, 07:49    #
  6. Sack him!

    — overdrive    29 October 2009, 12:53    #
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