Cyclists a threat to HGVs, says haulage industry lobbyist

On the day that a woman cyclist is dragged under the wheels of a lorry and killed in Dulwich, and London mayor Boris Johnson announces a plan to fine HGV operators whose vehicles are not fitted with safety gear, Karen Dee of the Freight Transport Association denounces the proposal, adding

“We need to see cyclists taking responsibility for their actions, obeying traffic regulations, giving space to HGVs making manoeuvres and generally riding responsibly. Unless you also improve the behaviour of cyclists, the problem will not improve in the way that everyone wants.”

“FTA now calls on government and cycling groups to work together in order to ensure that current and future cyclists obey the rules and share the road co-operatively and responsibly.”

“If London is to be declared a safe cycling zone, then tougher standards for cyclists’ behaviour should be introduced.”

I try to avoid quoting trolls, but in this case the words quoted above are a damning indictment of haulage industry bosses. Note that I refer to industry bosses, and not HGV drivers as a whole. Also worth noting is that the Freight Transport Association represents half of HGV operators.

Part of the problem with the UK haulage industry lies in a job pricing regime which encourages drivers to work in excess of their legally permitted hours. There is also a reluctance on the part of operators to invest in equipment that will (a) warn drivers when there are cyclists in their vehicles’ blind spots, and (b) prevent cyclists being dragged under lorry wheels and crushed to death.

Some HGV drivers are cyclists in their spare time, and during working hours drive safely and with due consideration for vulnerable road users, cyclists and pedestrians among them. Such people are not well represented by the Freight Transport Association.

As someone who within the cycling community calls on cyclists to take full responsibility for their actions, and act with good judgement and common courtesy for all other road users, my response to Ms Dee is to tell her to go to hell, preferably without first overtaking a cyclist at a junction, and turning left into their path. She is clearly not a person of good character.