Cyclists killed by HGVs

Meeting:

Mayor's Question Time

Date:

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Reference:

Question 2015/2042 (Oral)

Main question

Caroline Pidgeon

What action are you going to take to tackle the spate of cyclists killed by HGVs at peak periods?


Answer

The Mayor

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  Thank you very much, Caroline.  You are right to draw attention to the problem of HGVs, although I would stress, rather in the spirit of my previous answer, that cycling is overall getting much safer.  Last year, the number of cyclists killed or seriously injured (KSIs) was down 12% despite the huge increases in the number of people cycling.  We are investing £913 million in cycling infrastructure.  Last year was the safest year on record for cycling in London in the sense that the numbers of KSIs per journey were at record lows.

Caroline Pidgeon MBE AM:  I was asking what action you are going to be taking.  I know I am aware of a number of your infrastructure investments.  Given that cyclists are still being killed all too often and there are professional young women killed by HGVs, I would like to know what new action you might consider taking around HGVs.  I know in the past you have ruled out a rush-hour ban on HGVs and I share your concerns that that could result in a flood of lorries immediately after the ban but, given these recent deaths, will you consider a trial rush-hour ban?

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  First of all, what we are doing with lorries is that from 1 September all London HGVs have to be equipped with basic safety equipment to improve visibility.  You will be familiar with the things I am talking about: the Fresnel lens mirrors, the sidebars and other measures to improve visibility.  We want to go further.  When we launch the Safer Lorry scheme, we will be setting a target for a date by which all lorries in London will have to have cabs that enable the driver to be fully aware of what is going on in the road.  It is already possible; there are bus-style cabs that make a huge difference to the driver’s ability to see what is going on around them.  We want to set a target and a deadline by which all new lorries on the streets of London have to have those types of cabs.  That really is the issue.

Caroline Pidgeon MBE AM:  I would like that to be soon but what about the trial of a rush-hour ban?  Is it something you will consider?

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  Sorry, on peak hour lorries, I will look at this.  I have to tell you that this is something that, as you rightly say, TfL has traditionally rejected because it would just drive lorries into the surrounding periods of the day and you would have real congestion.  You would have all sorts of unseen consequences.  You would have lorry drivers flooring it ‑‑

Caroline Pidgeon MBE AM:  You will look at it?

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  ‑‑ flooring it to beat the ban and causing even more accidents.  All sorts of objections like that are raised.  However, we are actively studying that option now.  I can tell you that.

Caroline Pidgeon MBE AM:  Fantastic.  I really go with that.

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  Whether it leads to a trial I cannot promise, but we are actively looking at it.

Caroline Pidgeon MBE AM:  OK.  Finally, given that the City of London seems to have refused TfL’s plans for Quietways there, will you consider using what powers you have to force the City to accept safe infrastructure?  This includes Bank junction.  Quite frankly, it is a medieval institution that is not prepared to make its junctions safe despite the work TfL has done.  Will you try to force the City to make safe the dangerous junctions there?

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  I have had reassurances from Cllr Mark Boleat [Chairman, Policy and Resources Committee, City of London] and the City that they have been inaccurately represented.  It was a London Evening Standard article saying that they contest that very strongly and that they are determined to go ahead with the cycling ‑‑

Caroline Pidgeon MBE AM:  With the Quietways?

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  Yes.

Caroline Pidgeon MBE AM:  Good.  Thank you.


Supplementary Questions - 1


Andrew Boff

Andrew Boff AM:  Mr Mayor, I do understand the fine judgement there is when you have calls for a ban during peak hours but I do think it is fair to make yourself familiar with the statistics.  I am indebted to the London Cycling Campaign for giving me the stats for this.  This is data compiled over the last five years.  In the two hours between 7.00am and 9.00am, 38% of the fatalities have occurred between those two hours.  I do not want to be sensationalist about this.  I just want us to look at the data and look at the wisdom of introducing such a ban, not through gut reaction because we all have that gut reaction when we hear of the fatalities on London’s roads that happen to cyclists.  I want us to make an intelligent decision.

I would also like you to, if you could, Mr Mayor, undertake to look not so much at HGVs but specifically at tipper trucks, which have made a disproportionate contribution to the fatalities amongst cyclists when you do reach that decision.  I am not urging you to take one course of action or another but what I am urging you to do is acquaint yourself with the data and make an intelligently formed decision with regard to that.

 


The Mayor

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  Yes.  The data is very clear and Caroline has alluded to the problem.  By the way, this affects cyclists of both sexes and it is a terrible thing.


Commitments - 1


Trial rush-hour ban for HGVs

Caroline Pidgeon MBE AM:  I would like that to be soon but what about the trial of a rush-hour ban?  Is it something you will consider?

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  Sorry, on peak hour lorries, I will look at this.  I have to tell you that this is something that, as you rightly say, TfL has traditionally rejected because it would just drive lorries into the surrounding periods of the day and you would have real congestion.  You would have all sorts of unseen consequences.  You would have lorry drivers flooring it ‑‑

Caroline Pidgeon MBE AM:  You will look at it?

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  ‑‑ flooring it to beat the ban and causing even more accidents.  All sorts of objections like that are raised.  However, we are actively studying that option now.  I can tell you that.

Caroline Pidgeon MBE AM:  Fantastic.  I really go with that.

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  Whether it leads to a trial I cannot promise, but we are actively looking at it.