The Reader: Stop scapegoating lorry drivers for cyclist deaths

Further to your article “Get permit or pay GBP550 fines, lorry owners told ” [January 23], my understanding of the “first cyclist death of the year” was that the cyclist hit the rear of a lorry, unfortunately resulting in the individual’s death. No amount of extra window glass in the lorry cab or cameras would have made any difference as the incident occurred over 46 feet from where the driver was seated.  It may suit City Hall, the Mayor’s office, TfL and local authorities to scapegoat the haulage industry and impose greater amounts of worthless regulation on an already over-regulated industry, but there will come a time when vehicle operators decide not to bother offering a delivery service into London.

The most effective use of resources, cash and intellect, which would have a far greater impact and more positive outcomes for cyclists, would be to educate cyclists rather than forcing an industry to needlessly invest huge amounts of cash with zero benefits.
Hugh Basham

Editor’s reply

Dear Hugh If you are correct that the cyclist, Joseph Gaffney, died by colliding with the rear of a stationary lorry, it is indeed disingenuous of TfL to use his death to promote its “direct vision” scheme. But that is not confirmed by official sources.

I find it is always best to wait for the full facts to emerge at an inquest.

A cyclist making a delivery rides his bike in Barcelona (AFP via Getty Images)

Today, we report on the death of a cyclist in Peckham this morning , in collision with a car driven by a driver who allegedly failed a roadside drug test. If, like me, you cycle through London to work and, like me, had covered many inquests or court cases after cyclists’ deaths, you may have a different view. Yes, some cyclists are reckless.

But Ying Tao was not, and was killed by a left-turning lorry driver who failed to see her at Bank. Janina Gehlau was killed by a left-turning lorry in Ludgate Circus. Alan Neve was killed by a HGV driven by an unlicensed driver at Holborn.

TfL is right to do all it can to reduce the danger these vehicles present.  
Ross Lydall, Health Editor

We stand against anti-Semitism

On Monday, exactly 75 years after the liberation of Auschwitz, we remembered the Holocaust. We stand in solidarity with all its victims and reaffirm our commitment to stand up to anti-Semitism whenever and wherever it appears. Just 48 hours earlier, another part of our great city — this time Greenwich — was again daubed with anti-Semitic graffiti.

Everyone in public life has a duty to face down anti-Semitism in all its forms and to tackle the ignorance and hate it thrives upon. We pledge to strengthen the fight against anti-Semitism.
All London’s Labour council leaders and mayors: Danny Thorpe, Leader of Greenwich; Stephen Cowan, Leader of Hammersmith & Fulham; Darren Rodwell, Leader of Barking & Dagenham; Rokhsana Fiaz, Mayor of Newham; Georgia Gould, Leader of Camden; Tony Newman, Leader of Croydon; John Biggs, Mayor of Tower Hamlets; Philip Glanville, Mayor of Hackney; Julian Bell, Leader of Ealing; Graham Henson, Leader of Harrow; Richard Watts, Leader of Islington; Steve Curran, Leader of Hounslow; Clare Coghill, Leader of Waltham Forrest; Nesil Caliskan, Leader of Enfield; Joseph Ejiofor, Leader of Haringey; Jack Hopkins, Leader of Lambeth; Jas Athwal, Leader of Redbridge; Damien Egan, Mayor of Lewisham; Muhammed Butt, Leader of Brent; Peter John, Leader of Southwark; Stephen Alambritis, Leader of Merton

Thank EU…

European Union flags fly outside the European Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium (REUTERS)

Thank you. Thank you for opening doors.

For allowing families like mine the opportunity to change our lives for the better. For welcoming people with kindness. For letting us live, love and learn in beautiful places.

For encouraging us to enjoy other cultures. For teaching us home is a concept wider and more wondrous than many think, and that peace and unity exist beyond hatred and division. For allowing us to think and dream freely.

You have made me who I am. You’re not perfect, EU, but it’s a tragedy for Britain to be an isolated outsider after starting to build something beautiful.
Paloma R, Raised in Malaga, Spain

New tax will hurt the whole country

It beggars belief that this Government is pressing ahead with the IR35 legislation, which aims to prevent workers masquerading as freelancers to pay less tax. This is a great intention, but the result may not be quite what was desired. 

If we look to financial services this could not have arrived at a worse time for the sector. It is already facing a skills shortage as a quarter of banking employees are from outside the UK, coupled with technological change and tightening regulation.  The banking sector relies on highly skilled interim professionals far from the common perception of gig workers or freelancers.

These workers bring a wealth of knowledge and ideas garnered at a variety of different organisations. These specialists help companies meet and surpass regulation, adapt to technologies and train permanent staff.  It will now be harder for companies to pull in this talent, adds expense and does not show post-Brexit Britain as being open for business. 
Elizabeth Kent, Chief Operating Officer, Bishopsgate Financial

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More about: | Transport For London | Cycling safety

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