Pandemic Brings a New Chapter in the Relationship Between Cyclists and Road Freight

UK – The relationship between ‘vulnerable road users’, in particular cyclists, and truckers, tends to be a sort of uneasy peace. Apart from the vociferous bigots in either group, most level headed from each community can appreciate the other party’s point of view. After all cycling is generally considered healthy with no direct detrimental impact on the environment, whilst without the road freight industry there would literally be no food on the shelves.

Even though the extremists on both sides often attempt to press their case, cyclists claiming the moral high ground, whilst logisticians point out the essential nature of their work, when the two meet, such as when invited to sample the Metropolitan police’s excellent ‘Exchanging Places‘ scheme, mind sets tend to change and see the others point of view, as the tens of thousands who experienced a few moments ‘on the other side’ discovered. Now however the Covid-19 pandemic has changed the equation with plans to encourage more bikes into city streets, a policy which, though laudable from a personal and environmental standpoint, could have serious ramifications for those charged with keeping the supply chain running smoothly. This week Road Haulage Association (RHA) chief executive Richard Burnett wrote to Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Baroness Vere, asking her to consider carefully the government plans to use more road space as cycle only lanes.

He points out the wholesale loss of capacity for the ‘longer term’ as promoted by the government completely overlooks the needs of the freight industry, and thus in turn society at large. Burnett also expresses his concerns regarding promoting restrictions on vehicles and removal of parking bays and warns that poor local interpretation will impose even harder conditions on firms collecting and delivering vital goods. Richard Burnett’s letter to the Baroness can be read in full HERE.

Photo: The Metropolitan Police Exchanging Places scheme allows truck drivers and cyclists to swap positions and thus understand the concerns and abilities of the other.

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