Pedestrian killed by lorry – fear not, TfL have a Memorandum of Understanding

As we know from Boris Johnson’s February 2011 Q&A, there is “simply not enough space to provide segregated cycle facilities” in London. Fortunately, however, there plenty of space in inner London for lorries to speed around our streets, killing whoever is in their path. The most recent fatality was a female pedestrian in Hackney.

Ghost Bike

Ghost bike: Brixton Brady was killed by a lorry in 2006 less than half a mile from where this death took place

Everyone knows that lorries in London are a problem. Indeed, in the Q&A session linked to above, Jenette Arnold, Assembly Member for Hackney, Islington & Waltham Forest, asked the Mayor several questions regarding what he was doing about HGV road safety.

Strangely, after being a question in the context of the death of a vulnerable road user, Mr Johnson did not seem to think that TfL’s July 2010 Memorandum of Understanding (pdf) with the Freight Transport Association (FTA) was worth a mention. I find the memo rather surprising with its talk of “equitable approaches” and other eqiuvocal, unquantifiable intentions.

If I was drafting it, I think I could boil it down to three points:

1.  HGVs are allowed to drive around densely populated areas with significant blind spots.

2. HGVs are the heaviest vehicles on the road and when they collide with people, those people are likely to die.

3. You would therefore expect HGVs to kill or seriously injure the highest number of people/km, and they do (pdf, p15).

Still, I’m sure that, “to share details of forthcoming events and announcements with a view to adding value by broader engagement,” is just as important a point for us all to understand.

From the point of view of the FTA, of course, “broader engagement” means that those of us who use the same roads as HGVs can understand how to enjoy “shared space” with >7.5 tonne vehicles. The same people whose website would no doubt have us believe this death was the elderly walker’s fault – she was obviously a “novice” pedestrian.

OK – so clearly I don’t think a weak-willed Memorandum of Understanding is an effective method of reducing the number of people killed by HGVs. The question is whether TfL do. I have put in an FOI request to TfL to find out.

Subject to the FOI Act (2000), TfL have 20 working days to respond.


3 Responses to “Pedestrian killed by lorry – fear not, TfL have a Memorandum of Understanding”

  1. Boris’s cycling strategy: Do as I say, not as I do « Cycle of Futility Says:

    […] Maybe there’s some sort of other cycle parking? Not according to their website. I suppose, like infrastructure on roads, there is“simply not enough space”. […]

  2. TfL’s pathetic denial of HGV blame « Cycle of Futility Says:

    […] became interested in what TfL were doing to try to protect pedestrians from these motorised beasts, and ended up sending an FOI request about TfL’s Memorandum of Understanding with the Freight Transport […]

  3. Screaming Cyclist Says:

    I suffered a near death collision with an HGV on the junction of Long Lane and Great Dover St London in September 2010 . I went under the lorry and suffered head injuries , fractures and physical, psychological trauma . Police investigated and charged the Driver with Dangerous Driving . 18 months later and 5 court appearances later 19-01-2012 a Judge Convicted the driver of Driving without Due Care and Attention , Sentanced himto pay £100.00 . Arghh!

    I am still receiving physio and psychological support for PTSD , I very rarely ride a bike and wont ever ride in London again . I have ridden cycles for over 20 years all over the UK , all year round but unless the Courts start passing out serious sentances the best efforts of the Police and CPS count for nought .

    I am very keen to complain about the sentancing handed out but knowbody in witness care , police or CPS wants to advise me on how I go about this . They wont even provide the name of the Judge so he can be held to account .

    The Screaming Cyclist

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