The Freight Transport Group has argued that David Cameron’s pledge to explore banning HGVs in city centres would not help to improve safety for cyclists as they would be replaced by a large number of vans.

Christopher Snelling, head of urban logistics at the Freight Transport Association, told Logistics Manager that for every medium-sized lorry, ten vans would replace it. This would mean that overall safety would be unlikely to improve and there would also be a knock-on impact on carbon emissions and traffic volumes.

Snelling said that alternative measures could prove to be more effective in protecting cyclists from serious injury or death, including improved road infrastructure and changing a law which bans lorries from operating in all 32 London boroughs between 9pm and 7am each night.

There have been eight cyclist deaths in London this year, seven of which have involved HGVs. This week, the London Cycling Campaign has once again called upon the Mayor of London to end lorry danger by banning lorries in London during rush hour. According to the campaign organisation, 40% of cycling fatalities involving lorries occur between 8am and 9.30am.

Tom Jones, head of policy at Thompsons Solicitors, said: “It is clear from the spate of tragic cyclist deaths in London, in particular, that badly driven HGVs are a real danger to cyclists, but an outright city-wide ban is an impractical option and one that would have other potentially negative implications.

“The government needs to look properly, but with urgency, at all the options and consider what works for all road users. Relaxing the ban on lorries using London roads during the early hours of the morning but banning them from the roads during busy rush hour periods could be an answer, but it has to be accompanied by investment in proper road infrastructure, including dedicated cycle lanes and improvements to dangerous junctions.”