Former cycling World Champion and Olympic gold medallist, Chris Boardman, has issued an open letter to Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, urging him to take immediate measures to improve safety for cyclists in the wake of recent deaths involving accidents with motor vehicles.
Boardman’s letter suggests that trucks and large commercial vehicle should be banned during peak hours – after six cyclists were killed in vehicle related accidents on the roads of London within two weeks. In fact, nine of the 14 fatalities that have occurred this year in London – involved large commercial vehicles.
As British Cycling’s Policy Adviser, Boardman has been heavily involved in various cycle safety forums, and was present in March 2013 when Johnson unveiled his mega plan for cycling in London.
"When I rode alongside you to help you launch your vision for cycling in March this year, you made a verbal promise to look at the successful experiences of Paris and many other cities in restricting the movements of heavy vehicles during peak hours," says Boardman.
"Let’s not waste this opportunity to do something now. The longer we delay, the more lives will be lost."
"Improving HGV safety is a key aspect of our road safety manifesto. My colleagues at British Cycling are willing to help on this matter in whatever way they can."
“There have now been six cycling fatalities on the capital’s roads in two weeks and a total of 14 so far in 2013. HGVs were involved in nine of the fatal crashes – that’s 64% of the fatalities – despite making up less than 5% of traffic. In Paris last year there were zero cyclist fatalities,” said Boardman.
“British Cycling is disappointed that, eight months later, nothing has been announced on progressing this. Now is the time to make the tough and critical decisions necessary to achieve your vision – without that, more lives will be put at risk.”
Johnson has responded by saying that he is considering a ban on cyclists wearing headphones; this has, justifiably, let to claims of victim blaming, particularly as the bigger issue of HGV safety has not been tackled. Boardman’s letter is timely in this regard, and so too his reminding Johnson of the commitment he previously made.
“Paris is a safer place to ride a bike and we believe that this is, at least in part, due to the restrictions on dangerous vehicles entering the city during peak hours,” he continued in his letter. “London has an opportunity to emulate and surpass Paris and to lead the way for the other ambitious cycling cities across Britain. Let’s not waste this opportunity to do something now. The longer we delay, the more lives will be lost.
“Improving HGV safety is a key aspect of our road safety manifesto. My colleagues at British Cycling are willing to help on this matter in whatever way they can. Do let us know if can be of any assistance.
“I would welcome an update on how this matter is progressing at City Hall.”
You must be logged in to post a comment.