Monday, February 8, 2016

Freight Lobby Says Cycle Plans for London Need to Consider Road Haulage Community

'Superhighway' Safety for Cyclists May Come at a Cost for HGVs
Shipping News Feature
UK – Road haulage operators which have any cause to ever have any of their fleet move through London should seriously think about responding to TfL’s latest series of consultations which began today (February 8) and will only run until March 20. The task is made difficult in that the new ‘Cycle Superhighway’ which the Mayor of London has proposed, is split into several geographical sections, each requiring an individual response. The scheme has prompted an immediate reaction from the Freight Transport Association (FTA).

Although the majority of London hauliers welcome any improvement in the accident rate which occurs particularly between HGVs and cyclists, the FTA says whilst supporting the principle of safe, segregated bike routes, both to improve safety for cyclists and to encourage car users to switch to bikes, this must balance the needs of all road users. It says, with some reason, that the new cycling schemes currently under construction were rushed through and is calling on the next Mayor of London to work with the freight industry and the businesses it serves to ensure that future schemes are better planned for the benefit of all road users.

Among the proposals are plans to allow cyclists to travel on segregated tracks or low-traffic roads from Acton and Swiss Cottage to central London, Elephant and Castle and Canary Wharf and some of the phases include the ‘early release’ mechanism which looks to be a good idea but could prove more dangerous if the road geometry is not designed correctly, a problem in much of the City currently given the age of the principal routes. At the very least these types of priority given to two wheeled, unpowered machines make the rest of the traffic inherently slower. Natalie Chapman, FTA’s Head of Policy for London, said:

“These schemes must be well thought out so they not only serve London today, but for decades to come. We are already seeing massive delays on Lower Thames Street due to the construction of the East-West Cycle Superhighway. This is resulting in some companies putting more vans and lorries on London’s roads to deliver the same quantity of goods, either to comply with the maximum shifts required under EU Drivers’ Hours rules or to maintain customer service levels. This is not good for emissions, congestion, transport costs or indeed safety. And this is not a temporary situation, the loss of capacity will be permanent.”

Photo: A section of the ‘Cycle Superhighway’.