Cycling campaigners urge Tower Hamlets to sign safer lorry pledge

Tower Hamlets Wheelers urge Cllr Shahed Ali to sign up to safer lorry pledge

Tower Hamlets Wheelers urge Cllr Shahed Ali to sign up to safer lorry pledge - Credit: submitted

Campaigners have handed in a petition urging Tower Hamlets Council to sign up to a pledge aimed at making lorries safer for cyclists.

It comes after five out of fourteen cycle death across London in the past year happened in Tower Hamlets.

Tower Hamlets Wheelers, the borough branch of the London Cycling Campaign, met Cllr Shahed Ali, cabinet member for the environment and Mr Jamie Blake, the council’s head of Public Realm services, outside the Town Hall.

Campaigners want the council to sign the Safer Lorries, Safer Cycling Pledge, committing councils to only sign new contracts with the safest haulage companies.

THW campaigns’ officer, Gerry Matthews said: “Large lorries are involved in about half the cyclist fatalities in London.

“The council needs to do much more to ensure their own and their contractor’s lorries are safe for cycling.”

The number of Tower Hamlets residents commuting to work by cycle increased by 115 per cent from 2001 to 2011, the third highest increase of the London authorities, according to the group.

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A council spokesperson said: “ We take safer cycling a lot more seriously than the group have estimated and has already made good progress in several of the matters in the pledge.

“The council has hosted HGV cycle training courses for local drivers, and encouraged contractors to join the Freight Operator Recognition Scheme (FORS). All of our vehicles are equipped with mirrors and warning stickers, and lorries have side and rear safety cameras.

“We are currently in correspondence with Tower Hamlets Wheelers about how the Pledge can be better worded to make it a workable document which we could sign up to, but in its original format we, and many other councils, felt the Pledge was too rigid to be used.”