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Olympic Delivery Authority takes action to reduce lorry deaths
2.10.08 by Buffalo Bill

A bunch of us in the hgv/cycling lobby have been chuntering on for ages about the inevitable rise in lorry movements that will result from the massive construction scheme out in East London. More lorry movements will mean more risk of collisions with cyclists, especially when you consider that Hackney is the most cycled borough in London. So some action from someone in authority in the London Olympic hierarchy would be welcome. (You may remember that Jim Fitzpatrick MP, Roads Minister, pretty much ignored a direct question from Emily Thornberry last year1).

So it’s cool to see this story:

More than 1,000 safety lenses that help lorries spot cyclists are being given to HGV drivers around the Olympic Park. It comes after two riders died and another was seriously injured in collisions with trucks in the capital. The Olympic site in Stratford will generate thousands of extra truck journeys to support the construction programme in the run-up to 2012.

Today John Armitt, chairman of the Olympic Delivery Authority, and campaigner Cynthia Barlow will start handing out 1,600 of the safety aids, called Fresnel lenses. They are fitted to the cab window so lorry drivers can see cyclists on the passenger side of the vehicle, where they would otherwise have a blind spot.

“Fresnel lenses are an effective way of increasing the view of the road and reducing injuries and deaths of cyclists in London,” said Mr Armitt. “Fifty per cent of our construction materials will be transported by rail and water, which means we are taking thousands of unnecessary lorry journeys off London’s roads. “We are a responsible neighbour and expect the same high standards of health and safety of our contractors.”

This is exactly the kind of action that we all want to see from the contractors, and I hope that operators, ie the actual owners of the vehicles, take up this scheme. It is no coincidence that Cynthia Barlow is associated with this piece of news. She has been by far the most effective campaigner in this area for a number years, so my congratulations to her on yet another well targetted bit of lobbying.

Speaking of lobbying, Jack Thurston of the Bike Show, has been busy himself, and as the result of correspondence with Val Shawcross, London Assembly Member, the following motion will be put before the Assembly:

In light of the continuing number of serious accidents involving cyclists and HGVs, this Assembly seeks urgent preventative action. Unofficial figures collected by the London Cycling Campaign suggest that 9 cyclists have died so far this year in London as the result of collisions with lorries. Consequently the LCC is lobbying for the implementation of the European Union directive on full safety mirrors for all HGVs. This Assembly supports the use of ‘safety mirrors’ by HGVs which increases the ability of lorry drivers to be aware of cyclists. The Department for Transport estimates that a year’s delay in putting these measures in place could cost 18 lives in the UK. This Assembly calls upon the Mayor of London to promote the use of these mirrors and fresnel lenses in London through publicity campaigns and also urges the Department for Transport to implement this legislation without delay and to require that all lorries are fitted with EU standard safety mirrors, not just HGVs built since 2,000.

What will come of the motion it’s hard to say, but it can’t hurt. Chapeau a Jacques!

1 See this article.

  1. I had the same reply from Val as well, so it’s clear she’s received the message from a number of sources.

    — Alex Ball    2 October 2008, 17:56    #
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