Lorries

Gordon Seabright's picture

Hold hauliers to account over cyclist fatalities, says CTC

15 November 2013
CTC has today written to urge the Transport Minister to adopt a dramatic new approach over cyclist fatalities that involve HGVs. It's cost-free and needs no legislation, but will put vulnerable road users at the front of the minds of those running the haulage industry.

CTC has been campaigning on behalf of cyclists and cycling for well over a century, and we always try to take a positive view; we’re passionate about the benefits of cycling and we want more people to enjoy them. 

However, it is impossible not to feel anger after a terrible nine days in which six cyclists have been killed on Britain's roads - 5 of them in London and all of them involving large vehicles. We believe urgent action is needed.

Roger Geffen's picture

CTC condemns rising toll of cyclists' deaths in London

14 November 2013
CTC demands action on cyclists’ safety in London after a fifth cyclist is killed in ten days on the capital’s roads.
A 'ghost bike' at the Bow Roundabout: photo by Diamond Geezer (Creative Commons)

In a terrible week for cycling in London, the total number of cyclists killed in 2013 has risen to 13, 8 of them killed by lorries. CTC is calling for serious improvements to cyclists' safety at major junctions, to the design of lorries, and to driver training, in order to avert more unnecessary deaths.

Roger Geffen's picture

Boris must stop ducking responsibility for action to save lives

CTC's Campaigns Director Roger Geffen argues that Boris's "finger-pointing" is pointed in the wrong direction, and calls for real solutions to the dangers faced by pedestrians as well as cyclists.
Boris is accused of mis-representing how cyclists die. Photo: Yurri (CC licence)

There has been a truly appalling death-toll on London’s roads in the past 13 days.  Prior to November 5th, there had been 8 cyclist fatalities in 10 months this year.  Since then, we have 6 cyclists’ and 3 pedestrians’ deaths within 13 days, all killed by lorries, coaches or buses.  In total, 9 of the 14 fatalities this year have involved lorries.

Cherry Allan's picture

Goods vehicles (lorries, HGVs, vans etc)

Lorries pose a disproportionate threat to cyclists. There is a range of measures that should be introduced to reduce the hazard as a matter or urgency...
Goods vehicle
Headline Messages: 
  • Reducing danger and intimidation from lorries is a key issue for improving cycle safety, especially in urban areas.
  • Goods vehicles (excluding light vans) make up only 5% of traffic in Great Britain (GB), but are on average involved in about 18% of cyclists’ road deaths per year. In 2012, goods vehicles were involved in 15% of GB pedestrian fatalities, so they pose a serious threat to them too.
  • Large goods vehicles were involved in 5 of the 14 cyclists’ fatalities in London in 2012.
  • For cyclists, collisions with lorries are far more likely to prove fatal than collisions with cars: in 2012, the cyclist was killed in nearly 25% of serious injury cyclists/goods vehicle collisions; this figure was a little over 2% for cyclists/cars. Equally, lorries were involved in just 1.5% of slight injuries to cyclists, but 19% of cyclists’ fatalities.  
  • Ways to tackle the problem include: maintaining and enforcing safe driving and vehicle standards; training and information for both cyclists and goods vehicle drivers; cycle-friendly vehicles; and road layout, routing and distribution strategies that minimise conflict, and restricting access to busy urban streets at peak times.
CTC View (formal statement of CTC's policy): 
  • Goods vehicles pose a disproportionate threat to cyclists. Action must be taken by national and local government, hauliers and fleet operators, the police, the Health and Safety Executive and other enforcement agencies, as well as by individual lorry drivers and cyclists themselves.
  • Lorries pose risk to both cyclists and pedestrians, so the focus should be on lorries and lorry drivers, not just on cyclists.  Many of the following measures that would help protect cyclists, would benefit pedestrians too (NB these are not necessarily in priority order given the need for more research into their relative effectiveness – see below):
    • Ensuring that vehicles are safe and that drivers are fit to drive them. This needs to be supported by rigorous enforcement of driving and vehicle standards by the responsible agencies.
    • Cycle awareness training for drivers or, better still, actual cycle training.
    • Training for cyclists to help them interact with goods vehicles as safely as possible.
    • Publicity campaigns for drivers and cyclists alike, highlighting the hazards and how to avoid them.
    • Designing and specifying lorries to provide clear direct vision between the driving position and any pedestrians or cyclists near to the vehicle, including fitting bigger windows. To complement this (or where better direct vision is genuinely impossible to deliver effectively), other safety devices should be specified and fitted, e.g.: sensors and alarms, in-cab cameras; mirrors/lenses; side guards; external warning signs; and intelligent speed adaptation.
  • Road layouts and street furniture (e.g. ‘Trixi’ mirrors) that facilitate safe interaction.
  • Traffic management measures, routing and distribution strategies to mitigate the impact of lorries on places where people cycle or want to cycle. These include banning lorries on busy streets at certain times of the day while permitting night-time deliveries instead; establishing distribution centres on the edge of urban areas where lorries can pass loads onto smaller vehicles for onward delivery; and carrying more freight by rail and water.
  • Promoting freight cycles for goods distribution in urban areas.
  • Procurement policies, especially from public authorities, ensuring that the supply and delivery of goods and services takes the safety of vulnerable road users into account.
  • Research into the efficacy of all the above measures needs to be done, with the Department for Transport (DfT), Transport for London (TfL), other local authorities and operators all collaborating EU-wide, as required.
  • CTC opposes moves to introduce longer and/or heavier lorries on the UK roads.
  • Individual haulage companies and the associations that represent them should develop, publish, maintain and monitor strategies, action plans and fleet management practices that minimise the risks goods vehicles pose to cyclists. Where appropriate, these should be produced jointly with local authorities and enforcement agencies and be based on consultation with cyclists’ representatives.
Download full campaigns briefing: 
Publication Date: 
November 2013
Chris Peck's picture

Families of both those killed by Joao Lopes demand his licence be removed permanently

1 August 2012
The families of Eilidh Cairns and Nora Gutmann, both killed by the same HGV driver - 56-year-old Joao Lopes - have demanded that his licence be permanently removed. Lopes pleaded guilty to causing death by dangerous driving and was sentenced to 4 years in jail but just a 6 year driving ban.
Lorries are required to have some extra mirrors fitted, but not enough

In February 2009 Eilidh Cairns, a 30-year-old TV producer, was killed while cycling to work. She was run over by an HGV, driven by Joao Lopes.

The police found no connection between Eilidh's death and the actions of the driver.  Lopes pleaded guilty to the minor charge of driving with uncorrected defective vision. He was fined £200 pounds, given three points on his licence and permitted to carry on driving a tipper lorry.

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Chris Peck's picture

Killer HGV driver pleads guilty to causing death by dangerous driving

Lorry driver Joao Lopes hit and killed Eilidh Cairns in 2009 but was only ever fined for poor eyesight. Last year he ran over and killed 97-year-old Nora Gutmann in 2011. He has now pleaded guilty to causing death by dangerous driving and tachograph offences.
Lorries are disproportionately involved in pedestrian and cyclists' deaths

Kate Cairns, who fought for a proper investigation into her sister's death to stop other fatalities happening in the same way - and who went on to campaign for better lorry safety in Europe -  said: 

"For three years I have battled the whole way through an inadequate system which assumes the guilt of the cyclist, and which is rife with incompetence and complacency and which has failed us all on so many levels.

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