Oxford Labour today called on the Coalition Government to drop its opposition to measures proposed by Labour within the EU to redesign the fronts of lorries, so they are safer for cyclists, pedestrians, and lorry drivers themselves.
Labour's proposed measures respond to an alarming number of fatalities and accidents, including in Oxford, resulting from collisions between HGVs and cyclists, often in 'blind spots' for drivers.
Labour's proposed measures are backed by 130 European cities, a number of accident victims, and Olympic cycling gold medallist Chris Boardman. Coalition ministers reject Labour's measures on narrow ideological grounds as causes of 'additional bureaucracy for Britain'.
Labour's top-placed European candidate and Oxford resident Anneliese Dodds said: "Lorry drivers cause a disproportionately large number of cyclist deaths because they cannot clearly see other road users from their cabins. This Coalition Government should support lorry drivers and other road users, not bend before the will of road haulage companies."
Andrew Smith MP said: "As a keen cyclist, I have first-hand experience of the risks involved in getting around on two wheels. That is why I am working to cycleproof more of Oxford, including by asking the County Council to pay more attention to cyclists as they re-engineer The Plain junction in East Oxford. Infrastructure is vital, but so is lorry design, and that's why I call on Government to come around to Labour's position."
Sally Copley, Labour’s Parliamentary candidate for Oxford West and Abingdon, said: “For many people - including myself- cycling is the only practical way to get around Oxford easily and efficiently. It's essential that we do everything we can to make the roads safer for cyclists, so that even more people take to two wheels to get around. Labour's proposal for lorries to be made safer is a simple and effective way of helping us achieve this.”
Brian Simpson MEP, Chair of the Transport and Tourism Committee in the European Parliament and proposer of the amendments, said, "Why the UK Government cannot get behind EU plans to make lifesaving design changes to lorries is a mystery to me. No doubt about it, improving visibility for the driver and reducing the impact for more vulnerable road users in the event of a crash, will help save lives."