Could we soon face more pedestrianised zones?

Over recent years discussions surrounding HGV’s and large vehicles transporting goods have been a frequent subject of discussion for a number of reasons. One of the main most recent talking points that keeps popping up is the discussion about HGV emissions, as HGV’s are the primary method for road haulage and logistics it is vital they use up to date low emissions vehicles. However, not all companies can afford to incur these extra costs. The other main talking point is the safety of pedestrians or vulnerable road users within urban areas, prioritising a reduction in the amount of cyclist road related incidents.

There has been a long-standing debate about the pollution levels not only in England but throughout the world, brainstorming different ways in which we can help reduce the problem so that little or no more damage is cause. It quickly became apparent that there is no immediate solution to this problem. However, vehicle manufacturers have worked hard to provide the most efficient short-term solution of lower emission vehicles. These lower emission vehicles will reduce the impact on the environment and help to reduce the amount of toxic air that people are breathing every day.

A lot of people that frequently cycle will be able to tell you a story about when they have had a near miss with a vehicle which can be quite a scary experience. However, the scare factor multiplies significantly when you imagine anything from a 7.5T vehicle to a 40T vehicle nearly colliding with you. These moments have led to various safety initiatives being started which are all designed to raise awareness of the most common issues on our roads. The most common one recently celebrating its 10th anniversary is FORS, they are the pioneers behind safe urban driving and van smart training. These courses are aimed at all larger vehicles that present significant safety risks if not operated correctly including vans and HGV’s, the course itself is engaging and innovative putting the drivers into the cyclist’s shoes as they go out on a practical cycle ride. The practical element allows drivers to see what it is like to be a vulnerable road user, providing insight into safe overtaking distances and the correct time for vehicles to overtake.

If we fail to make significant changes and improve the safety of vulnerable road users there is a chance that some areas will come pedestrianised, leaving HGV operators unable to complete their deliveries to these areas or facing a premium for doing so. Pedestrianised areas would mean that cyclists could travel freely without worrying about collisions with vehicles, as well as this it would help to reduce the amount of toxic air pollution within that area.

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