'Raising lorry speed limit will be a danger to cyclists'

Views from both sides of the debate on the DfT's proposals
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Following the announcement earlier this month proposing raising the speed limit for lorries on single carriage roads, Total Cycle Assist has added its name to those opposed to the move.

The proposal will see allowed speeds on single carriage roads for lorries over 7.5 tonnes increased which will, according to the Department For Transport and the likes of the Road Haulage Association, save businesses money.

Likewise, the AA and Institute of Advanced Motorists claim that raising the speed limit from 40mph to 45mph or 50mph will prevent dangerous over-taking of slow lorries on rural roads.

The proposal has failed to take into account the possible impact on cyclists, however, say cycle lobbyists British Cycling, Sustrans and Total Cycle Assist, among others.

The move will mean an increasing number of cycle incidents each year, according to Assist Protect MDs Richard Williams and Robert Deakin.

“Can we really leave out such vital statistics [concerning cycle accidents] when the government has claimed to put cycling at the heart of its road policies?” said Deakin. “Surely centre to any new roads policy has to be the impact assessment, but it appears in this case that this assessment leaves out vital information.”

Williams added: “We’ve recently seen two very prominent cyclists knocked over by vehicles, what does it take to make people aware of the need for more road safety for cyclists? We need an impact assessment that includes cycling.”

On the other side of the debate, Road Haulage Association director of Policy Jack Semple commented: “The consultation is clear and balanced and we will be responding formally in due course.

“Our key message is likely to be that the legal limit should be raised to 50 mph on suitable A-roads. This would improve efficiency and reduce congestion, as the DfT suggests. It would also improve road safety, an issue on which academics have been unable to come up with firm evidence but on which the industry has no doubt.

“What are suitable roads for a 50 mph speed limit? We suggest these can be defined in regulation as stretches of A-roads where the national speed limit for cars is in place rather than a lower limit. Where there is a lower limit – such as 50 mph – the 40 mph limit should be retained.

“Raising the limit for HGVs in this way would be a progressive move that would have the strong support of the road haulage and logistics industry,” Semple added. 

Assist Protect, one of whose products, Total Cycle Assist, covers accidents to bikes and riders.

www.totalcycleassist.co.uk; info@totalcycleassist.co.uk

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