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Now that Boris Johnson is no longer the mayor of London, the haulage and transport industries may feel like they are starting over again in their quest to educate about the best ways to make London streets safer without creating punitive rules that could undermine commercial transport. Only time will tell how well the industry will work with new mayor Sadiq Khan. At least one industry group is not waiting.

Earlier this month, the Road Haulage Association (RHA) extended an invitation to Mr Khan to get to know how the industry operates in London by spending some time undergoing some informal LGV training as a passenger. The RHA believes a birds-eye view will help the new mayor better understand the issues facing commercial drivers, non-commercial drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists alike.

One of the most pressing issues the RHA would like to address is the proposed rush-hour ban on lorries in the city. According to the RHA’s Richard Burnett, any such ban is not the solution to the problems proponents hope to address with it. Burnett says the proposal, if enacted, would actually increase congestion by forcing more vans into the city to replace lorries. It would also delay deliveries for restaurants and construction projects while not making the roads any safer or reducing pollution.

Burnett believes all it would take to convince the new mayor of the foolishness of the proposal is a few hours of informal LGV training as a passenger. We cannot disagree with that assessment.

There have been numerous programmes over the last couple of years aimed at encouraging cyclists and lorry drivers to trade places for a day. In doing so, both parties in the ongoing debate about lorry-bicycle safety have the opportunity to see the other’s perspective in a very helpful way. Those who have undergone such programmes claim their eyes are opened to their own responsibilities relating to road safety. This is the same kind of thinking that wants to see Mr Khan experience what it’s like to ride in a lorry.

Improving the Roads: Everyone’s Responsibility

We agree with the RHA that the onus on improving London’s roads always seems to be laid at the feet of the haulage and transport industries. It is as though commercial operators are the only ones responsible for the challenges we now face. This is far from true. Everyone who uses public roads has a responsibility to make them better, regardless of the vehicles they drive. Continuing to look at lorries and construction vehicles as the sole targets of change is both unwise and short-sighted.

There are plenty of things that can be done to improve conditions in London. But accomplishing anything meaningful without harming the economy is going to require broad solutions that address every vehicle on the road – including bicycles. When all players are included as part of the solution, any solutions settled on will be fair to all and more likely to result in real improvement.

Sources:

HGV UK – http://www.hgvuk.com/rha-asks-new-London-mayor-to-see-the-capitals-streets-from-a-truck-cab/

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