Three victims of lorry crashes have called on the Government to drop its refusal to sign up to a national HGV safety scheme.
Roadpeace, the charity for road crash victims, said the Department for Transport needed to do more to protect cyclists, pedestrians and motorcyclists from dangerous construction vehicles.
It revealed that the DfT has refused to sign up to the CLOCS (Construction Logistics and Community Safety) scheme set up five years ago by Transport for London and the construction industry to improve safety.
Victoria Lebrec, who was almost killed when she was run over by a left-turning lorry in Clerkenwell as she cycled to work in 2014, said: “I lost my leg as a result of the injuries I suffered.
“At present, the Department for Transport doesn’t support the CLOCS scheme to reduce injuries and deaths, a large number of which are caused by construction vehicles on our roads. We want the government to sign up to CLOCS and demonstrate that they are committed to keeping people safe.”
Lorries are disproportionately involved in deaths on London’s roads. They account for four per cent of traffic but in 2016 were involved in 23 per cent of pedestrian deaths and four of the eight cyclist deaths.
Central and local government are responsible for procuring about 40 per cent of construction contracts and thus can insist that only lorries with the most modern safety equipment are used.
HGVs or lorries were involved in
two of the four three of the five fatal collisions involving cyclists in London this year. The most recent this week involved a bin lorry.
RoadPeace is publishing videos in which victims tell of the impact of lorry collisions. Cynthia Barlow, the RoadPeace chair, lost her daughter Alex McVitty in 2000 when she was killed by a cement mixer as she cycled in the City.
Belinda Baxter, a mother of two, tells how her marriage broke down after she was hit by a skip lorry in 1997 in London.
CLOCS aims to improve safety standards by ensuring vehicles are fitted with the most up-to-date safety equipment such as side bars and audible warnings. Drivers are required to take additional care around pedestrians and cyclists.
About 600 firms have signed up, including Network Rail, Thames Water and the Crown Estate.
Nick Simmons, RoadPeace chief executive, said: “How can it be the Government, the very people in charge of making us safe, haven’t addressed the threat that lorries pose in their own construction projects?”
Tom Konig, consultant trauma surgeon at Barts Health NHS Trust, who operated on Ms Lebrec, said: “The types of injuries that we see involving HGVs are truly catastrophic. These are often fit people that are just trying to go about their daily lives. It’s frustrating for me as a surgeon to know that these injuries and deaths are preventable.”
A DfT spokesman said: “We recently consulted on cycling and walking safety to establish what more can be done to protect this group of people and will publish the response in due course.”
- An edited version of this story has appeared in the Evening Standard.