HGVs in bus lanes

bus lanes

Bus lanes can get pretty crowded these days. As well as buses of all sizes, they can now find themselves home to taxis, motorcycles, mopeds, scooters and tricycles (non-motorised and motorised). Oh, and in amongst all that lot, bicycles are permitted to use them as a refuge of sorts. With all this in mind, news comes that HGVs in Wales could soon be allowed to drive in bus lanes.

Economy and Transport Secretary Ken Skates is considering the move letting HGVs to ease congestion. Unfortunately allowing heavy lorries into bus lanes in order to ease congestion is little different to letting one’s belt out a notch in order to deal with an expanding beer belly. Worse than that, it’s likely to diminish the efficiency of bus services as well as put vulnerable road users at risk. Expect a decision by the Welsh Government in 2019.

One day we may look back and wonder how 40-ton lorries were ever allowed to rumble through our villages and city streets. Though they make up only 3% of vehicles, lorries account for one quarter of Europe’s road transport emissions – a figure that’s expected to grow as traffic increases further. On top of that, heavy goods vehicles are involved in a disproportionate number of fatal crashes.

HGVs in bus lanes

Year after year, heavy good vehicles are over represented in fatal collisions involving cyclists and pedestrians. In 2013, HGVs were involved in nine out of the fourteen incidents in London that resulted in the death of a cyclist. Some have called for outright bans on HGVs from city streets during working hours. At the very least, we need road rules and attitudes that make cycling in our cities something for everyone – rather than only the brave.

Speaking in 2013, two years before his own mother was killed while on her bike by a dangerous driver, Chris Boardman said: “I think their use in cities needs to be managed. In more than 60 per cent of European cities, HGV movements are restricted. In Paris, for example, there are no articulated vehicles in the centre of the city and there were zero cycling deaths last year. There is huge evidence in favour of it. These things are not happy bedfellows for cyclists. They should be restricted and it can be done. All those cities across Europe that have done it seem to be working fine. The Mayor told me he would look into it. I don’t know whether he has, but I certainly can’t see any action.”

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Comments

  1. Noam Bleicher

    Reply

    This would be a disaster for bus passengers. Whereas lorries and deliveries are important to the economy, delays can simply be priced in, and apply to all haulage companies equally on a level playing-field. Bus journeys on the other hand are far too slow as it is, owing to high levels of traffic congestion. Slowing them down even further will simply drive people back to using cars.

  2. George W

    Reply

    HGVs are already a prolific killer of cyclists. This proposal seems very ill-advised.

  3. John Holiday

    Reply

    This is the last thing we need & shows how completely out of touch the decision makers are.
    There are already far too many heavy goods vehicles of increasing size on our roads.
    We need to be addressing ways of reducing vehicle numbers in city centres.

    • Debbie Hunt

      Reply

      John its simple to reduce vehicle numbers in city centres and HGV “bash” – shut all the shops, bars and restaurants, schools, factories and hospitals and then we won’t need the precious stock and commodities these drivers dare to bring therefor resolving your issue of ” …far too many heavy goods vehicles of increasing size on our roads” as you stated.

      I have been in the “dirty, disgusting, inconvenient (to others) travel and transport industry for nearly 30 years and I’m still in my 40’s. I object (and I know a lot of HGV drivers do ) to being treated like a disease when I roll up in city centres and places of beauty with a (live) cargo. Other road users including cyclists often drive like (organ) donors around large vehicles utterly ignorant of the space, turning area and blind spots a large vehicle needs as they race to ” beat the truck/coach/van) remember carrying stock to the stores you want to buy things from.
      I am a professional cycle instructor and deliver HGV certificate of professional competence training to drivers which is awareness around vulnerable road users – including cyclists so I can see all sides and am aware of some people people having a right to the road its often not HGV fault all the fatalities but poor awareness of where to cycle on the road . We are all road users and need to be tolerant and educated better about different types of vehicles. I don’t want to be inconvenienced or slowed down but we live on a small island and all want to crowd into the same spaces and increasingly more of us want more products more quickly 24hrs a day over 7 days a week.

      Lets all be more tolerant and considerate about road use.

  4. Baker

    Reply

    This is an all round horrible idea.

    HGV’s are (unless I’m mistaken) still the largest group responsible for killing cyclists pulling away at lights, as they sweep left and crush them. Putting them in the Bus lane will make escape impossible.

    Beyond this, it’s awful for other bus lane users as the bus lanes become less effective

    It’s awful for drivers as the HGV’s they took so much effort to overtake now get back in front and cause more congestion as soon as the bus lane has ended.

    It’s awful for HGV drivers as they’ll now have to perform far more challenging maneouvres in streets that are simply not designed for them.

    And frankly, it’s awful for the environment, not just because it makes bus/cycle travel less useful, but also because almost every HGV on the road has stop-start and other measures for heavy congestion; not even a half of other vehicles do. Increasing their congestion just to move goods faster is dumb.

    What are they thinking??

  5. Martin Bishop

    Reply

    The most common cause of cyclist deaths in London is HGVs (since they got rid of the bendy-bus) and the Welsh Assembly are proposing allowing these deadly vehicles into bus lanes – What Next? Will they be proposing to allow ALL commercial vehicles, including the ubiquitous white vans, into bus lanes to improve delivery speeds?
    Bus lanes should be prioritised for Buses (like the name implies).
    Cycles can only coexist because of the stop-start nature and low average speed of buses in towns.
    Other motor vehicles tend travel too quickly for safety and should be excluded.

  6. Stewart Kerr

    Reply

    The most common cause of cyclist deaths in London is cyclists themselves, racing up the inside of other vehicles, sitting in the trucks blind spot on the nearside, not checking the trucks nearside indicator, or not caring that its about to turn left, We as cyclists have to stop trying to blame every one else, when a lot of the time, a bit of care on our part would prevent many accidents. I cycle every day and at least once (usually more) i will see an example of poor cycling, the worst being jumping red lights.

    • The ETA

      Reply

      Hello Stewart – that’s some pretty spectacular victim blaming. Do you have a source?

      • Stewart Kerr

        Reply

        Hi, thanks for your comment, i am not trying to upset anyone, and my only sourse is what i see when out cycling or driving. You seem to be suggesting that the cyclist is always in the right, when that is clearly not the case. The point i am trying to make is that we as cyclists have a responsibility to take care when on the road, the same as every other road user

        • The ETA

          Reply

          Not sure we’ve ever said the cyclist is always in the right, only that cyclists are not like other road users – we are physically vulnerable and recognition of that fact is to understand the difference between equality and equity. In other words, there’s a hierarchy of rights. Countries that are serious about road danger reduction recognise that the driver of an HGV has greater responsibility for the safety of others than a child on a bicycle.

  7. D ROWLANDS

    Reply

    YELOW JACKETS MAKE THEM LEGAL

    Yellow jackets at all TIMES More so kids / night time; lots/ WITH no LIGHTS

    • LF

      Reply

      They don’t need to be legal. Helmets should be legal not jackets. I’ve been cycling for nearly 8 months and the only yellow things I have are my reflective/hi viz gloves and helmet cover. But I never wear a black t-shirt/jumper as that’s worst colour to see.

  8. edmund white

    Reply

    Get rid of the need, put heavy goods back on the railways. One freight train= about 40 trucks, then all you would have in towns are 1-3 ton trucks. Bus lanes should be for buses & cyclists only. Think how much more room on the roads this would give

  9. Julian Pitt

    Reply

    This is a terrible idea, need to work out a way of stopping it.

  10. Stewart Kerr

    Reply

    Hi, is there some reason that my previous comment is still awaiting moderation, i am only trying to point that we as cyclists have a responsibilty to to use common sense and abide by the highway code, not just other road user.

    Thank you

  11. LF

    Reply

    I cycle and have never ever had a close call with HGV) I can see where people are coming from but I don’t mind the idea as long as people know not to go into blind sport area. The HGV’s in my area have warnings saying do not overtake on inside or stay well back or cyclists keep back etc… so it’s more lack of education I personally think HGV’s are big buses basically as there transporting food or things to certain place so why not let them use bus lanes?

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