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Mounting tension between cyclists and drivers

Published: 30/09/13

The Road Haulage Association is highlighting the issue of tension between cyclists and HGV drivers as it claims political pressure to impose new requirements on HGVs is increasing, as the cyclist lobby exerts more influence.

Recent headlines in London’s The Standard reported a fourth cyclist killed this year by a lorry in the Archway Road, London. A subsequent story suggested a very different course of events – that the cyclist fell off his cycle and died of a heart attack and that a lorry driver saw this in his rear-view mirror and stopped to help, certain that his 7.5 tonner box van had made no contact.
Despite that, the newspaper refused to alter its online headline when approached by the RHA. They say that they are seeking urgent clarification of what the authorities believe happened before considering a further move – for example, referring the headline to the Press Complaints Commission.

The RHA feels road haulage is taking the brunt of the political storm and fear that facts and evidence are becoming less and less relevant. The RHA quotes London, statistics for 2012 show that cyclists were more than twice as likely to be killed and 310 times more likely to be seriously injured by a car as by a lorry. The injury issue is largely overlooked.

The cycle lobby is being increasingly bold in calling for restrictions on lorry movements in London.
The RHA once again draws the attention of members of the need for its drivers to be aware of the real road safety issues concerning cyclists (and pedestrians) especially in the nearside blind spot in urban areas; but calls also for action for an evidence-based response, including action to improve the awareness and safety standards of cyclists.

Lawyer calls for cyclist crackdown

Lawyer Nick Freeman, known as “Mr Loophole” for his defence of motorists facing speeding charges, has called for tougher enforcement against cyclists and for them to be forced to wear helmet and hi-visibility clothing. Freeman stressed the vulnerability of cyclists – but also the disregard for the Highway Code that some show.
His comments come after the powerful cycle lobby group, CTC, presented all the Police and Crime Commissioners with a document calling for much tougher policing and penalties against all drivers. The CTC document is largely reasonable so far as it goes but makes no mention whatever of the responsibilities of cyclists for good road behaviour and for road safety. 



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