MINISTER TO BE QUESTIONED OVER HGV CYCLIST DEATHS
The Secretary of State for Transport the Rt Hon Douglas Alexander is to be asked what steps he is taking to reduce the disproportionately high number of cycling fatalities involving heavy goods vehicles.
Emily Thornberry MP (Islington South and Finsbury) will put the oral question to the Secretary of State in the House of Commons next Tuesday (April 17) when she will also raise the specific question about cyclist deaths in London.
In London in the 12 months to June 2005, nine out of 17 cyclists died as a result of colliding with good vehicles, and 49 have been killed (56 per cent of the total) between 1999 and 2004.
Ms Thornberry said: “We don’t want to give the impression that cycling is dangerous. It’s not. But the numbers killed is still unacceptable.”
On the concerns of cycling groups who say the safety campaign warning of the dangers of HGVS has put the onus on cyclists to look out, she said: “Of course cyclists must take care but it is ludicrous that lorries should have blind spots. The fitting of mirrors would eradicate the blind spot.”
Over half of the deaths (54 percent) were caused by left-turning good vehicles. An EU directive will force goods vehicle owners to fit retrofit blindspot mirrors.
A higher proportion of women cyclists (18 out of 21) were involved in fatal collisions with goods vehicles than with other types of vehicle.
Despite these alarming statistics, Transport for London point out that London has seen a 72 per cent increase in the numbers of people of cycling since 2000, while the numbers of cyclists killed or seriously injured has fallen by 30 per cent.