The big news that has been occupying the cycling blog headlines this week was an announcement by Boris that he is considering banning HGVs from the city centre. He mainly quoted environmental reasons as the precursor of the ban. Though of course cycling campaigners will be quite happy to piggyback on a ban.
Looking at the figures for cyclist deaths in the capital an alarming 43% involve Heavy Goods Vehicles. What is even more alarming is that HGVs constitute only 4% of road trips. They are therefore involved in a disproportionate amount of accidents. The well known left hook as a cyclist is passing on the inside is the reason in 53% of cases. Hence why all cycle hire bikes have a warning on them in a prominent position.
If a HGV ban did go ahead then trucks would stop in designated zones outside of the centre of London and then the goods would be delivered by other means. This could mean either by cargo bicycle or potentially smaller electric trucks. Similar initiatives are taking place in other cities also facing congestion problems. Experts making the case for the HGV bans believe that in some cases businesses can actually reduce costs.
It is definitely difficult to share a lot of love for the HGV. They are noisy, polluting, cause congestion and not in any way pleasant to cycle or walk next to. But is a ban the right way to go?
Those against the ban will argue the case for the businesses that will be affected and the goods that need to be delivered into the centre. There is also the need for construction vehicles in the centre and it would not be possible to replace their services with smaller vehicles.
Do you think a ban on HGVs in the centre is a good idea?
Coverage of the issue:
- Guardian coverage: HGV ban to protect cyclists
- GoingGoingBike Blog coverage: Nearly half of all cycle deaths caused by lorries
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As seen on The Guardian, BBC and The Independent.