Whatever your political affiliation and personal opinion, we now have a Conservative government leading our country – with Boris Johnson at the helm for the next five years.
Most of my time at Transport for London (TfL) mirrored Boris’ term as Mayor of London and it was our team’s job to deliver the London Freight Plan in support of his transport strategy. Whilst the majority of TfL were focussed on keeping Londoners moving, we were a very small niche team focussing on sustainable freight distribution.
Dependent on whether you are one of Boris’ most stoic supporters or one of his fiercest critics, we all will have different views on his projects. However, there is one outcome that I don’t believe any of us can dispute the business case for – road safety.
Within his transport responsibilities as Mayor, Boris is probably best known for establishing the Cycle Hire Scheme and accelerating a ‘cycling revolution’ in London. Cycle Hire Scheme bikes were, and still are, popularly known as ‘Boris Bikes’.
However, Boris was shaken by two spates of road deaths during his term. In November 2011 four cyclists died in an eight-day period and in November 2013 six cyclists died in nine days. All but one of these fatal collisions involved an HGV and sparked action. The 2011 incidents triggered the CLOCS study highlighting systemic failings in construction sector supply chains; and in 2013 Boris was then compelled to launch the first CLOCS Standard at City Hall on 8 December. The mandate was drawn to:
- Establish the Safer Lorry Scheme in London ensuring all HGVs are fitted with basic safety equipment
- Ensure public sector contracts employing HGVs required enhanced road risk requirements
- Roll out FORS nationally to help normalise its adoption in London
- Fund the London Freight Enforcement Partnership to tackle unsafe HGV operations
- Research the evidence and lobby for HGVs designed with improved driver direct vision and minimised blindspots
Forced by circumstance, Boris backed initiatives that saw a 43% reduction in road deaths during his term in London compared to a 29% reduction nationally. With that success we will undoubtedly see pressure from the campaign groups to do more of the same nationally.
FORS Silver continues to keep up with developments in national road safety standards and remains the leading single benchmark for operators to demonstrate that the full range of safety measures have been met.