Safer Lorries Campaign Update

Lorries can be a big danger to cyclists if cyclists aren’t aware of the risks and if the drivers of large vehicles are not well trained or ignorant of how vulnerable cyclists are.  The majority of cyclist fatalities in London are caused by these large vehicles – they account for about 45% of all London cyclist deaths, but just 5% of traffic.  Statistics for cyclist incidents can be found here.  You can find guidelines from LCC on how to try to minimise danger to yourself around lorries here and Mark from the I Bike London blog has recently written on the subject – “Advice for us all; cycling safely with lorries in London”

London Cycling Campaign has recently re-energised their campaign on lorry safety and carried out a survey of all London Boroughs. Richmond didn’t come out very well and you can see the summary below (click on the picture for more details):

We wanted to get clarity on the situation – the council recently published a page on their website about cycle safety around lorries, so below is the letter we recently sent to Richmond Council on the subject: Continue reading

LCC AGM and Bow roundabout

Apologies if you were at the London Cycling Campaign Annual General Meeting last night and know all this.

The motion endorsing Go Dutch was passed with a majority.

Click here to read the welcome letter from the LCC Chief Executive concentrating on the imminent campaign and here to see the 10 Go Dutch Key Principles printed on the wallet-sized foldout given out at the meeting.

One of the words used by the Chief Executive to describe the campaign was “transformative“, which I take to mean “things will be very different afterwards”.  His letter refers to “3 flagship Go Dutch developments on major streets and/or locations” and during the refeshment break members were invited to comment on displays relating to:

  • Bow roundabout;
  • The Embankment;
  • Tottenham Court Road.

It wasn’t clear whether these are the “3 flagship developments” envisaged.

Bow roundabout was subject of an emergency motion that was passed overwhelmingly: click here to read it and here for the LCC Press Release.  While Bow is a long way from our Borough these very tragic events brings it close because

  • the first cyclist was a local man whose wife is working very hard and very publicly to stop it happening to someone else;
  • our members went on Saturday’s ride;
  • we all cycle, and
  • we’ve had our own argument with TfL about London Road roundabout.

Richmond Cycling Campaign is writing to London Assembly member Tony ARBOUR asking him to press TfL for immediate remedial work at Bow roundabout and you can to:

Here’s the reply from Caroline Pidegeon, Chair of the Transport Committee, London Assembly, to another members e-mail:

“I know that I speak for all Assembly Members when I say that I too am appalled by the tragic deaths of cyclists on London’s roads and am doing all I can to urge the Mayor to improve safety as well as hold him to account over his decisions. To this end, cycle safety in London has been discussed as a priority at several Meetings of the Assembly over the past fortnight.

At the Assembly Plenary on Wednesday 9th November, Assembly Members had the opportunity to question the Mayor in his capacity as Chair of Transport for London. I asked him outright if TfL’s roads are safe for cyclists, and indeed whether he takes cycle safety seriously. You can read the transcript of the meeting here

At Mayor’s Questions yesterday (16th November), I urgently raised this matter once more. As a result, the Mayor has confirmed that TfL are undertaking a review of all of the roundabouts where serious injuries and fatalities have taken place so see what can be done to improve safety. Furthermore, he has agreed to meet with the family of one of the cyclists who was killed at Bow Roundabout. A webcast of Mayor’s Questions can be found on the GLA Website, my question starts about 10 minutes in.

A written transcript, including responses to written questions tabled by Members, will be made available online next week

Please rest assured that I will continue to press the Mayor on this issue in order to hold him to account over his decisions which will impact on safety for cyclists. I am also keen to continue working alongside the London Cycling Campaign and other cycling groups to raise awareness and campaign for safer roads.

Click here for the flyer about the Bow Vigil this Friday evening.

With a Cycle Superhighway coming close to us, on the north side of Kew and Hammersmith Bridges, you may be interested to read here what Cyclists in the City say about one in our neighbouring London Borough of Wandsworth.

E-mail your thoughts to:

No More Lethal Lorries

Lorries can be a big danger to cyclists if cyclists aren’t aware of the risks and if the drivers of large vehicles are not well trained or ignorant of how vulnerable cyclists are.  The majority of cyclist fatalities in London are caused by large vehicles.  Statistics for cyclist incidents can be found here.  You can find guidelines on how to try to minimise danger to yourself around lorries here.

Below is the letter I recently sent to Richmond Council regarding the Safer Lorries Campaign:

Dear Councillor Harrison,

Further to your response of January 4th sent on your behalf by Liz Swabey, and also looking at the borough’s website I am pleased to see that the council is taking an interest in working to improve lorry safety for its contracted lorries and its own fleet.

However, as you can see from the London Cycling Campaign’s map, which you have also posted on the borough website, Richmond remains one of the few London boroughs that has not shown sufficient commitment to making its lorries safer.

Looking at the Borough’s website we would like to see:

•  An assurance that the Council and your contractors will be putting your drivers through the ‘Safer Urban Driving’ module available through TfL FORS.

•  An assurance that the Borough, in addition to your contractors, has signed up to TfL FORS and will progress through the grading. You are not currently on the FORS members list – could you advise whether this is in progress?

•  An assurance that Veolia’s vehicles will meet the standard for safety equipment.

To assist in the assessment of the safety of your lorries, both council and contractor operator, LCC have worked up a questions and answers document in discussion with other boroughs to explain the requirements for lorries and training in more detail. Please follow the link

If you have, as indicated, signed up as a council to FORS in addition to your contractors then LCC can move Richmond borough off red into yellow on the map. Similarly if there is a commitment to do the ‘Safer Urban Driving’ CPC module you will get enough extra points to move into yellow. This module is an economical way to raise driving standards since doing CPC’s modules is now mandatory, as well as being subsidised by TfL, so it makes sense to get drivers to do this module first.

If you make the next step and commit to including those standards for all future contracts then LCC could give you green status even without signing the pledge.

Since the Mayor is making future cycle funding for individual boroughs dependant on evidence that they are working towards ensuring safer lorries there is an extra incentive for Richmond to push this forward.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Kind regards,

Katherine Henry
Richmond Cycling Campaign

And this is their response:

Dear Ms Henry,

I have been forwarded a copy of your email to Cllr Harrison regarding ‘Safer Lorries in Richmond’ and he has asked me to respond on his behalf.

In addressing the points you raise we are indeed aware of what the London Cycle Campaign have written on their web site and are disappointed that they have taken the approach they have done. In response to requests we have furnished the RCC/LCC with confirmation that the Council as well as its contractors are committed to migrating their vehicles to ones that are fitted with ‘cycle alert/safety devices’. Indeed my department has recently placed an order (and should soon be delivered) for replacement gritting vehicles all fitted with the safety devices and as any other lorry is replaced we will be doing the same. We had hoped that the LCC would work in harmony with the Council, rather than continue to adopt the approach they have done, as we feel this would be more beneficial.

 I am grateful for the link to the TfL ‘Safer Urban Driving’ module and while we have only a small number of drivers this appears to be a worthwhile course and it has been brought to the attention of the Head of Service that has the drivers. I would point out, and again seems to be something not being recognised by LCC/RCC at the moment, that unlike many organisation we have also taken the stance that the Driver CPC training should be extended to those drivers using council vehicles even if they are exempt under the legislation. This ‘over requirement’ has now been written into our latest Policy document on Health & Safety.

With respect to the TfL FORS scheme while we are certainly not opposed (indeed are supportive of raising standards) to the scheme there must be recognition that in fact the Council is not a fleet operator in what we understand the scheme to be primarily designed for. Indeed none of our drivers/vehicles actually fall within the scope of even needing to have tachometer recording; we are currently looking into whether the FORS Associate offered by TfL is in fact the appropriate level.

I am not clear on your comment regarding Veolia’s vehicles, as you know Veolia are already a FORS member. Some of their vehicles are supplied by ourselves and we have already committed to migrating to the latest safety equipped vehicles as be make new purchases. However, you may not be aware that the Veolia contract is shortly due to be retendered/let and therefore it would not make sense to buy new refuse lorries at this point in time. Indeed even if I could place an advert/order today at best any new lorry would only be in use for a few weeks.

I trust this helps you understand the situation and as I have indicated we are disappointed that LCC are taking the approach they are but that is a matter for yourself and your colleagues.

Yours sincerely

Andrew Darvill

Assistant Director of Environment (Traffic & Transport)

Environment Directorate

London Borough of Richmond Upon Thames