Should Cities Ban Large Trucks to Protect Cyclists?

cyclist died here graffiti photo

Image credit: HeyRocker, used under Creative Commons license.

I've talked before about the single most important tip for staying safe on a bike and while new technology on trucks may help save cyclists' lives, it still seems fair to say that bikes and trucks don't mix too well. Now a group of researchers is pushing for a rather radical fix to the problem—ban large trucks from city centers all-together.According to The Guardian, experts from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) are calling for a complete ban on Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs) from British city centers in an effort to protect pedestrians and cyclists. Arguing that fitting additional mirrors and censors will not fix the problem, and only changing the class of vehicle used for inner-city deliveries will be an effective way to protect lives and keep traffic moving:

""Trucks with high cabs are designed for motorway driving and should not be allowed inside city limits," said Dr Andrei Morgan from LSHTM's department of epidemiology and public health, who led the research. "Cyclists can do as much as they like in terms of making themselves visible: they can wear neon and cover themselves in lights, but truck drivers can't see them because they are too high up, the angles are wrong. Advanced stop lines are helpful but they don't solve the issue." The research found that 53% of cyclists killed by trucks were crushed by trucks turning left across them, illustrating the danger of cycling up the left-hand side of a heavy vehicle."

While some businesses will no doubt scoff that the ban would be too expensive, the researchers suggest that a network of distribution centers could be set up where goods are transferred from HGVs to trucks with lower sides and better visibility, more suited to urban roads. Presumably as electric vehicles become more commonplace, there may even be an opportunity to use electric delivery vehicles for the task too—reducing both traffic accidents and improving air quality at the same time.

Of course we could try shipping less stuff about the country too, but you've got to start somewhere.

More on Bikes and Road Safety
The One Tip for Staying Safe on a Bike
Can Technology Keep Cyclists Safe?
For Bicyclists, There is Safety in Numbers

Related Content on