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Ban cyclists, not trucks

Sep 18, 2015

According to a recent report in The Independent, the government is seriously considering banning HGVs from central London to improve safety for cyclists. Mayor of London and keen cyclist Boris Johnson considered a similar proposal to restrict lorries during the rush-hour back in 2013, but the idea was rejected on the basis that it would simply lead to more casualties outside the restricted hours.

A report in the Evening Standard in June said that more people than ever before are riding bicycles in London with an estimated 610,000 journeys made every day. The report also said there had been a fall of 12% in deaths and serious injuries over the previous year. Transport for London reported 13 cyclists had been killed during 2014, down from 14 the previous year.

While any loss of life or serious injury is tragic for all concerned, banning large commercial vehicles from central London, even for part of the working day, could be catastrophic for the transport industry and the thousands of businesses they serve. For the removals industry – that is already battling with increasingly stringent emission regulations and draconian parking fines - having to delay entering London until perhaps 10 o’clock in the morning and being required to leave before 5 o’clock in the afternoon would present a major logistical challenge and dramatically increase costs.

Cycling is a fashionable and worthy pastime, but surely it can’t be allowed to take precedence over the free movement of goods in and out of the capital? Commerce is what built our great cities in the first place and it is the life-blood that will sustain them in the future. It cannot be allowed to be compromised just for the benefit of cyclists who, after all, contribute very little to the economy.

Bicycles and heavy traffic don’t mix and a cyclist will always be the loser in an accident. People who choose to ride bicycles in central London and other busy cities need to take responsibility for their own safety and consider carefully the risks they take. If the government is serious about reducing casualties it should do something about improving rider training and provide more cycleways to separate cyclists from other traffic.

Banning cyclists rather than trucks during the rush-hour would make far more sense.

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