Goods vehicles (lorries, HGVs, vans etc)

Cherry Allan's picture
Goods vehicle
Goods vehicles pose a disproportionate threat to cyclists
Headline Messages: 
  • Although lorries are involved in relatively few collisions with cyclists, those that do occur are disproportionately likely to prove fatal.
  • National and local government should take steps to restrict the use of lorries on the busiest roads at the busiest times. Exemptions should be made only for specific journeys that clearly cannot be made in other ways or at other times, and should require the use of safe lorry designs, fleets and drivers.
  • National and local government, lorry manufacturers and operators should collaborate to promote safe lorry designs and equipment, notably the use of ‘direct vision’ cabs - which enable drivers to see what is around them as easily as bus drivers can - as well as sensors and cameras.
  • Enforcement processes should be strengthened to take unsafe drivers and operators off the roads. 
Key facts: 
  • Heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) account for only around 3.6% of non-motorway motor traffic mileage on British roads, yet are involved in around 18% of cyclist fatalities. HGVs were also involved in almost 14% of pedestrian fatalities, so pose a serious threat to them too.
  • HGVs on average account for around 2% of urban and 5% of rural motor traffic, yet are involved in almost a quarter of cyclist urban fatalities and just over 12% of cyclist rural fatalities.
  • A very significant proportion of cyclist fatalities involving lorries happen in London, where traffic density and cycle traffic specifically is much higher than average. In 2014, HGVs accounted for 4% of all the capital’s traffic, but 55% of cyclist and 12% of pedestrian deaths. Twenty-one of the 44 cyclist fatalities between 2011-13 (inclusive) were as a result of a collision with a lorry, and ten of these involved a collision with a left-turning lorry.
  • Cyclists’ collisions with HGVs are far more likely to prove fatal than those involving cars: the cyclist is killed in about a fifth of serious injury cyclists/HGV collisions; this figure is around 2% for cyclists/cars.
Cycling UK View (formal statement of Cycling UK's policy): 
  • Lorries pose a disproportionate threat to cyclists. To tackle it, action must be taken by national and local government, hauliers and fleet operators, the police, the Health and Safety Executive and other enforcement agencies, as well as by individual lorry drivers and cyclists.
  • The most important measure is to eliminate the source of danger in areas where people cycle or want to cycle as far as possible, principally by restricting the use of lorries on the busiest roads at the busiest times.
  • Exemptions to these restrictions should apply only for specific journeys that clearly cannot be made in other ways or at other times, and should require lorries and their drivers and operators to conform to ‘CLoCS’ (Construction Logistics and Community Safety standard), or the equivalent.  
  • To help reduce the demand for lorry movements in urban areas:
    • loads from the largest lorries should be transferred to smaller vans, e.g. through transhipment depots on the edges of towns/cities;
    • as much freight movement as possible should be shifted to rail and/or waterborne transport; and, where practical, to cargo cycles;
    • councils and operators should work together on safe lorry routing strategies.
  • CLoCS should be adopted as a national standard for safer lorry equipment, driver training and fleet management. Local authorities should also make it a condition of planning permission.
  • CLoCS should be extended to cover a requirement for lorry cabs to give the driver ‘direct vision’, allowing them to see outside the cab as easily as a bus driver can.
  • Designing ‘direct vision’ into lorry cabs is one of the most effective ways of protecting cyclists and pedestrians on the outside. Other safety features that may be of benefit are mirrors, cameras, sensors, sideguards, intelligent speed adaptation and warning stickers.
  • For lorry drivers, cycle awareness and practical cycle training should become a fully integrated and compulsory element of the professional training/qualifying process.
  • For cyclists, training on how to interact with goods vehicles as safely as possible is beneficial. Publicity campaigns and educational events for drivers and cyclists alike also help highlight the hazards and how to avoid them.
  • Cycling UK opposes both moves to introduce longer and/or heavier lorries, and allowing lorries to travel at more than 40 mph on single carriageways and more than 50 mph on dual carriageways.
  • All the responsible agencies (e.g. the police, The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA), local authorities, Traffic Commissioners and the Health and Safety Executive, should promote and enforce safe driving and vehicle standards for lorries.
  • Individual haulage companies and the associations that represent them should develop, publish, maintain and monitor strategies, action plans and fleet management practices that minimise the risks goods vehicles pose to cyclists. Where appropriate, these should be produced jointly with local authorities and enforcement agencies and be based on consultation with cyclists’ representatives. 
  • Procurement policies, especially from public authorities, should stipulate that the supply and delivery of goods and services takes safety of vulnerable road users’ safety into account; and that the operators comply with set, high standards (e.g. CLoCs for construction-related activities, or the equivalent for other operations such as waste disposal).
  • To make it easier to check that haulage companies are reputable, their Operator Compliance Risk Scores (OCRS) should be made public.
  • Cyclists benefit from road layouts and street furniture (e.g. ‘Trixi’ mirrors) that facilitate safe interaction between them and lorries.
  • Research into the efficacy of all the above measures needs to be done, with the DfT, TfL, other local authorities and operators all collaborating EU-wide, as required. This should result in clear, consistent guidance for all operators and authorities.
Download full campaigns briefing: 
Publication Date: 
November 2016

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