The Freight Transport Association (FTA) has welcomed the publication of the MPs Cycling All Party Group’s report ‘Get Britain Cycling’, but believes that some measures are impractical.
FTA supports the drive to increase cycling in Britain and believes the report makes many beneficial suggestions in terms of planning infrastructure correctly for cycling and Government support for training of all road users – drivers and cyclists.
Christopher Snelling, Head of Urban Logistics Policy at the FTA commented “aside from all the health benefits, cycling is an efficient use of road space. If more car journeys were done by bike that would free up more space for those who have no alternative, such as freight”
However, FTA believes the recommendation that HGVs should be restricted at busy times is not practical and economically damaging.
On the issue of safety, FTA particularly welcomed the recognition of the report of efforts made by the logistics industry. The report commended “the excellent work by some freight organisations” in this field. Support for work on vehicle design and driver training were also supported.
However the leading transport body objected to the recommendation that HGVs should be potentially restricted from using busy routes at certain times. Snelling commented: “These routes are busy for a reason – they are the economic lifeblood of our urban areas. To prevent lorries using them would add to the difficulty and cost of running shops, offices and other businesses in our towns and cities. Just because a route is busy does not automatically mean it is dangerous. It is strange to be talking about introducing restrictions when it is public regulations that currently prevent lorries making deliveries at night, forcing deliveries into the first part of the day just when the most cyclists are on the road. If these deliveries don’t happen when customers need them; businesses will close and cities will suffer.”
FTA believes a more thought through approach is required and supports junction redesign and improved cycling infrastructure, as well as allowing night-time deliveries.
Snelling concluded “the key factor in improving safety on our roads is about road user behaviour. Drivers and cyclists both have their part to play and the recommendations in the report for more training and better awareness on both sides are supported. The industry looks forward to continuing its work with cyclists to make our roads safer places for everyone.”