Demands for a rush-hour lorry ban in central London increased today when Lib-Dem mayoral candidate Caroline Pidgeon said such a move would make cycling safer.
She proposed restricting HGVs and construction vehicles from the city centre between 7am to 10am and 4pm to 7pm, using the congestion charge cameras to enforce the rules.
It comes after HGV driver Alan Warwick pleaded guilty at Southwark Crown Court last Friday to causing the death by careless driving of French mother-of-two Claire Hitier-Abadie, 36, above, who was killed riding a Boris bike in Bressenden Place, Victoria, on February 19 last year. She was the second Boris bike rider to be killed in a HGV collision.
Warwick, 61, of Rayleigh, Essex, who was working for Crossrail sub-contractor Gordon Plant Hire, will be sentenced on April 18. Ms Hitier-Abadie was one of seven cyclists killed in collision with a lorry last year. She was the third cyclist to be killed by a Crossrail contractor’s lorry, the second by a lorry belonging to Gordon Plant Hire (the other victim was Brian Holt). A pedestrian has also been killed by a Crossrail contractor’s vehicle.
Ms Pidgeon said the HGV ban would also help reduce air pollution. She called for stronger enforcement against rogue construction firms and for edge-of-town “delivery hubs”, used during the 2012 Olympics, to be established to prevent large vehicles needing to enter central London. City Hall has resisted calls for a rush-hour ban, fearing it would make roads more dangerous at other times.
Ms Pidgeon said: “Anyone who cycles at rush hour knows how congested our roads can get. However safely they cycle, during the busiest times cyclists often find themselves fighting for space with HGVs and construction vehicles and feeling scared for their safety. Despite some of TfL’s positive initiatives in recent years more must be done.
“As Mayor I will ban all heavy freight and construction traffic in central London at peak hours to help reduce congestion and improve safety for cyclists. Banning HGVs during rush hours, when all the figures show they are of most danger to cyclists, would make roads far safer for all.”
The City of London Corporation said yesterday it was no further forward with its plan, unveiled last November, to ban lorries, cars and taxis from Bank junction, where cyclist Ying Tao, 26, died in a HGV collision last June.
City of London police closed its investigation into the lorry driver last month after finding no evidence that his driving had fallen below the “competent and careful” standards required by law, nor that the vehicle was defective.