Cycling deaths: FTA says HGV ban ‘not feasible’

Following a spate of cyclist fatalities on the roads of London, the Freight Transport Association (FTA) has repeated its call for “more to be done” to improve the safety of cyclists on our streets, in a written submission to the House of Commons Transport Committee’s ‘Cycling safety: follow up’ inquiry.

FTA also underlined the point that banning HGVs during peak hours is not the answer, and stressed that any ban on HGVs at peak times would not be feasible, would increase the cost of living in our cities whilst decreasing economic activity, and is of highly questionable safety benefit: FTA strongly opposes any such suggestion.

HGVs are vital to the functioning of our cities – no other method of transport can deliver the scale of goods required each day without substantially increasing costs, pollution and congestion, but increasing the costs of urban freight increases the cost of living in any city.  The logistics industry does not ‘invent’ the need for goods to be moved – it is fulfilling the needs of society by stocking supermarket shelves, taking essential supplies to hospitals and schools and ultimately serving society by keeping UK cities in business.

Christopher Snelling, FTA’s Head of Urban Logistics and Regional Policy, said: “The HGV plays a crucial role in allowing our cities to function, and those who call for it to be banned do so without any thought for how the goods needed every day would get through. The impact of such a ban would be to substantially increase the cost of living in cities, decrease economic activity, and to increase pollution and congestion. Given that the London Mayor’s Cycling Commissioner has said that a rush hour lorry ban would only have affected two of the 14 fatalities in London this year, it does not appear to be the simple solution to all our problems that some advocates believe.”

Whilst in all other categories our roads continue to become safer – and per mile travelled cycling is becoming safer – cycling’s total casualty figures are not improving and this situation is unacceptable, says the association. FTA recognises that the logistics industry needs to continue to improve its performance in order to respond to the increased number of cyclists on the road, and welcomes the recent increased enforcement efforts against non-compliant road freight operators.

FTA also makes the point that public authorities have a responsibility to provide good quality infrastructure, information and education to help make cycling safer and that any promotion of cycling must go hand-in-hand with these developments, not ahead of them.  Cyclists can also contribute to improving safety levels and should be further helped and encouraged to do so.

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